MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN, "MILLION MAN MARCH"
Jill M. Weber
On October 16, 1995, an estimated 837,000 black men traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the "Million Man March," a political protest organized to promote change within the black community. The march's messages of hope, self-improvement, and commitment to family generated support from many Americans. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 76 percent of all respondents said that they supported the demonstration and about 84 percent of the blacks surveyed "said they think it's a good idea." The same respondents answered less positively when asked about the protest's controversial leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan. In all, 51 percent surveyed said that Farrakhan's participation in the march made them "less likely" to support the event, 16 percent reported that his participation made them "more likely" to endorse the demonstration, and 25 percent said that it made "no difference." Media coverage leading up to the march highlighted these divergent views, casting aside the larger issues the march sought to publicize. The Pittsburg Post-Gazette, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe all focused the spotlight on Farrakhan and his critics' repeated attempts to rhetorically distance the contentious messenger from the march's positive messages.
In his speech at the Million Man March, Farrakhan had the opportunity to redirect attention back to the demonstration's goals. Yet rather than emphasize the march's messages of hope, change, and unity, Farrakhan used the speech as an opportunity to respond to his critics. Reasserting his position as the messenger of the movement, Farrakhan claimed that God had sent him to lead blacks on their path to liberation. He offered the march's initial success as evidence of his leadership appeal and as validation of his vision for the black community. God and his people had granted him his authority, Farrakhan argued, and none of his critics could discredit it.
Because of his controversial public image, Farrakhan's involvement in the Million Man March drew considerable national attention to himself and the movement. In his speech, however, Farrakhan evaded his responsibility to direct that attention away from the controversy over his own leadership and toward the marchers' demands for civil rights. Instead, Farrakhan delivered a two-and-a-half hour speech that focused primarily on his own legitimacy as the messenger of the movement. The confrontational speech, which confirmed his critics' concerns that Farrakhan would use the march to support his own agenda, helped undermine the march's theme of unity and the common cause.
In the end, many will remember the Million Man March as a powerful demonstration of black men joining together in support of their communities. Few, however, will describe Farrakhan's involvement in the march as positively. The controversial leader's speech at the Million Man March and his attempts to retain control over the movement in the months following the event revealed how one man's drive for power can eclipse a whole movement's commitment to change.
Louis Farrakhan was born Louis
Eugene Walcott on
Louis Eugene Walcott, "the
boy," biographer Arthur J. Magida writes, "was everything that the
world at large would later say Louis Farrakhan, the preacher, was not." The
young man, whom his family and friends called "Gene," was obedient
and well-mannered, attended church regularly, rarely got into trouble, and
earned high marks in school. He developed an "all-consuming" passion
for music and, at the age of sixteen, began a career as a Calypso singer and violinist. After
he graduated from high school in 1951, Farrakhan set aside his musical
aspirations and enrolled in the Winston-Salem Teacher's College, an all-black
Farrakhan's life changed in February 1955, when he and his wife joined the Nation of Islam (NOI), an Islamic religious and socio-political organization founded by Elijah Muhammad to "restore and resurrect" black people. Elijah Muhammad's and the NOI's message of black redemption, liberation, separatism, and self-improvement appealed to Farrakhan, but he later admitted that he "was far from fully persuaded that this was the right path." Magida writes, "not until a few months later, when [Farrakhan] heard Malcolm X speak, was he convinced that he had found the right niche" for himself. Farrakhan later explained his decision: "I went looking not for a new religion, but for new leadership that would address the concerns of black people. And I found Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad. I was not interested in changing my religion, but they were Muslims and they spoke a truth that I could identify with." This "truth" resonated with much of the Black Nationalist thought Farrakhan was exposed to as a child. Magida asserts that the young Farrakhan, surrounded by supporters of Marcus Garvey's Black Nationalism movement, had absorbed "by osmosis, if not directly" a "less vitriolic but no less potent brand of theological black pride" that Farrakhan would "echo, if not outright mimic in his own fashion, decades later."
After joining the Nation of Islam at
the age of 22, Louis X, as Farrakhan began calling himself, quickly ascended through
the ranks. Malcolm
X, the minister of
Although he was not chosen to replace Muhammad as the leader, Farrakhan eventually assumed power over the organization in the late 1970s. Asserting that he was "divinely chosen to lead" the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan set out to rebuild the movement and promote the "resurrection of our people." Over the next ten years, Farrakhan established himself as a prominent, yet controversial, black leader. His bold statements, calls for separatism, and unapologetic condemnation of racism attracted more than 10,000 blacks nationwide to the NOI and generated many more supporters within the larger black community.
Farrakhan's fiery approach also attracted a fair share of critics. His overly defiant attitude toward the white establishment, his description of Hitler as a "'very great man,'" and his characterizations of Judaism as a "'dirty religion'" became the sources of great controversy among members of the broader black, white, and Jewish communities. Robert Singh writes that Farrakhan is "easily the most controversial black American to have achieved a public position of national political influence since Malcolm X." Farrakhan's bold rhetoric and his separatist views have prompted some critics to label him a "reverse racist," an "anti-Semite," a "black Hitler," a "bigot," a "hate monger," a "demagogue," and an "Islamic fundamentalist." William Pleasant sums up Farrakhan's image: "painted as a monster by the corporate-owned media, denounced by the left, center and right political establishments, Farrakhan has come to symbolize the uncompromising fury of Black political resistance."
Yet, in spite of all of his critics,
Farrakhan has remained "one of the most prominent black nationalist
leaders for more than two decades." Ron
Daniels writes: "Minister Farrakhan more than any other black leader in
this period has captured the imagination of Black America precisely because of
his steadfast denunciation of racism and white supremacy and his persistent
call for moral and spiritual renewal, self reliance and self determination." A
Time magazine and CNN poll in 1994 supported
these assertions. The poll found that 67 percent of the blacks who knew of
Farrakhan said he was an "effective leader," 62 percent said he was "good
for the black community," and 53 percent said he was a "good role
model" for youth. While
Farrakhan's authority within the black community is undeniable, his ability to
command "larger" and "more loyal" audiences than other black
leaders is perplexing. Why
are so many blacks attracted to Farrakhan and his visions for black
The Call to March
The 1980s and early 1990s was a
period of stagnation for the black civil rights movement. Michael C. Dawson and
Lawrence D. Bobo assert that during the 1980s, "whatever progress Blacks
had made on a number of fronts came to a halt." The
Reagan and Bush administrations' strong opposition to race-based policies and
social welfare programs led some blacks to view the government as hostile to
their cause. The political downfall of Jesse Jackson during the 1980s and a leadership
vacuum within the black community left black Americans with no strong voice in
In 1994, Minister Farrakhan and the
Nation of Islam announced that they were tired of waiting for the government's
response and introduced a plan to bring blacks together to initiate immediate social
and political change. Farrakhan first presented his vision for what would
become the Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement to the First African
American Leadership Summit in June of that year. Addressing
many of the black leaders who had repudiated him in the past, Farrakhan asked
them to reconcile their differences and to join together under one banner for black
liberation. He asserted that there was an "increasingly conservative and
hostile climate growing in
The official purpose of the Million
Man March was to "enable and encourage" black men in the
Farrakhan's leadership of the protest bolstered the marchers' demand, drawing both attention and controversy. S. Craig Watkins explains that the organizers' publicity efforts, the march's anticipated size, and its arrival in a period of high racial tensions amplified media coverage.. However, the "most crucial factor," Watkins asserts, "was the presence, leadership style, and racial politics of Louis Farrakhan." News coverage leading up to the demonstration "pivoted around Farrakhan" and focused on his past reputation, his anticipated messages, and his claims to leadership within the black community. Watkins writes that the media's "decision to peg the march to Farrakhan was crucial to the formation, tone, and ideological implications" of the coverage leading up to the march, and it "played a decisive role in how the demonstration was constructed and perceived as a newsworthy event."
Farrakhan's promotion of himself as the spokesperson for black Americans generated even more media coverage. William E. Nelson, Jr. asserts that Farrakhan's role as the "leader and guiding spirit" was a "logical extension of a political/career [sic] that has seen him emerge as one of the best known and most popular political figures in Black America." At the same time, Farrakhan's role in the march embroiled it in controversy, distracted attention away from the issues the march sought to publicize, and led several public figures and organizations to renounce the event altogether. Black congressmen Gary Franks (R-CT) and John Lewis (D-GA), a well-known civil rights activist and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee in the 1960s, openly stated that they could not endorse or join a march led by Farrakhan. "'I don't want to be associated with or identified with anything that tends to demonstrate signs of racism, bigotry or anti-Semitism,'" said Lewis. Mary Frances Berry, chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, expressed similar views: "'African Americans as a community are in deep trouble at this hour. However, let me make it unmistakably clear: I do not trust Louis Farrakhan or [NOI leader] Benjamin Chavis to lead us to the Promised Land. I do not endorse the Million Man March.'" Neither did the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Urban League, the Anti-Defamation League, or the African-American Agenda 2000, a group specifically founded in opposition to the event's exclusion of women and its allegedly sexist agenda.
Others leaders and organizations
tried to express their support for the march while rhetorically distancing themselves
from its controversial leader. Colin Powell, former chair of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, refused Farrakhan's invitation to speak at the march and added that
the demonstration was about "hundreds of thousands of black men coming together
not to celebrate Louis Farrakhan or to buy into his agenda or to speak in
racist terms, but to begin to uplift black men and uplift African-Americans to
be part of an inclusive America."
President Bill Clinton offered a similar response in a speech at the
Some of the marchers also tried to
distance themselves and the event from Farrakhan. Joe Certaine, managing
director for the city of
Yet Farrakhan supporters, like the
Reverend Benjamin Chavis, Jr., a national organizer for the event and former
NAACP president, insisted that "'the attempt to separate the message from
the messenger is not going to work.'" Chavis
defended Farrakhan's leadership and cited the many endorsements of the march as
evidence that "'the message and the messenger have transcended all divisions in the black community.'"
The list of supporters was indeed impressive. "With a few notable
exceptions, the march was endorsed by most black leaders and organizations,"
including the National African American Leadership Summit, the National
Association of Black Social Workers, and numerous churches, fraternities, and
spite of all the controversy and contention surrounding Farrakhan and the
Million Man March, William E. Nelson, Jr. observed that "the march was
successful in drawing representation from virtually every sector of the Black
Farrakhan's Address at the Million Man March
"Black religious leaders," Felton O. Best and Charles Frazier write, have long been "flames of fire" in the communities they serve. As the leaders of the black church--"the most stable institution in serving African-American communities"--they have taken the lead in eradicating the social, political, and economic injustices that black Americans have experienced historically.
The Million Man March provided
Farrakhan an opportunity to emerge from the crowd and show the world that he
too was a flame of fire. The demonstration provided him a platform from which
he could present his vision for black
Farrakhan's controversial reputation
and the criticism leading up to the march, however, drew attention away from its
goals and undermined Farrakhan's vision and authority. In an attempt to promote
the march's immediate goals and strengthen his claims to leadership, Farrakhan
presented a two-and-a-half hour speech about self-improvement, black
liberation, and racism in
Farrakhan began his speech by recalling
how poorly blacks had been treated in
Farrakhan invoked the march's themes of self-help and personal responsibility as he explained that change must first begin with the individual. "Our first motion then must be toward the God who created the law of the evolution of our being. And if our motion toward him is right and proper, then our motion toward a perfect union with each other and government and with the peoples of the world will be perfected" (40). In order to become closer to God, each man needed to complete an eight stage atonement process that included identifying, acknowledging, and confessing one's wrongs; repenting and atoning for one's transgressions; seeking forgiveness; and finally, reconciling with God (40-80). After completing each of these steps, Farrakhan assured his listeners, each man would possess the tools needed to improve conditions for all blacks.
Although Farrakhan declared that "freedom
can't come from white folks" or from "staying here and petitioning
this great government" (87), he acknowledged that whites would need to play
a central role in the liberation of blacks. But, he argued, President Clinton's
approach to black civil rights failed to address the real problems in white
society. Farrakhan stated, "Now, the President spoke today and he wanted
to heal the great divide. But I respectfully suggest to the President, you did
not dig deep enough at the malady that divides Black and White in order to
affect a solution to the problem" (15). Farrakhan asserted that the real
problem was not race per se, as
Throughout the speech, Farrakhan defended
Brothers and sisters, there is no
human being through whom God brings an idea that history doesn't marry the idea
with that human being no matter what defect was in that human being's
character. You can't separate
So too would it be ridiculous to deny Farrakhan's appeal within the black community or to question his authority as one of God's greatest prophets. Farrakhan pointed out that even though his critics had "played all the cards" and had "pulled all the strings" to trigger division among blacks (52), their efforts had failed. He offered the march's turnout as evidence of his success, asserting: "I stand here today knowing, knowing that you are angry. That my people have validated me. I don't need you to validate me. I don't need to be in any mainstream" (90). Turning the tables on the dominant society, Farrakhan argued that the men standing before him were the new mainstream and criticized political leaders for failing to represent the "masses of the people, White and Black, Red, Yellow, and Brown, poor and vulnerable [who] are suffering in this nation" (91). Legitimizing himself as the spokesperson for those forgotten people, Farrakhan insisted that it was the politicians who were "out of touch with reality" (91).
Farrakhan's critics, however, were
not limited to the mainstream politicians. Many of the people who had traveled
By portraying himself as God's spokesman, Farrakhan rose above his critics' accusations and legitimized his leadership, which he insisted, God had bestowed upon him. This posturing allowed Farrakhan to address and appeal to three different audiences simultaneously. As Pauley explains: "[T]o black Christians, he portrays himself as another Moses or Isaiah, a mouthpiece of God's word; to people of his own Nation of Islam community, he shows himself to be a diviner of mysteries; and for his white listeners, Farrakhan assumes the role of the spiritual doctor who has a diagnosis for the illness that affects them." Farrakhan moved among these roles throughout his speech, weaving together a patchwork message of hope, forewarning, redemption, and promise. With every word and reference, however, Farrakhan made it clear that only he possessed the authority and knowledge to speak the truth. Neither Clinton nor any of his other critics could undermine his God-given role as a prophet for his race.
Clarence Taylor argues that these appeals
were symptomatic of Farrakhan's long-term attempts to shift his public image.
The "Million Man March"
speech bears some of the general characteristics that
In the course of that process, Farrakhan has softened his message and sought reconciliation with former foes. The dress of an elderly statesman requires a moderate voice, which is more inclusive and open to dialogue and reason than it is exclusive, uncompromising, and unreasonable. This was clearly the tone of Farrakhan's Million Man March address.
Nevertheless, an analysis of
Farrakhan's speech calls into question
Farrakhan may have reshaped his public persona by adopting the prophetic role, as Pauley has argued. He even may have legitimized his leadership in the black community and appealed to a larger national audience with his less militant message. However, as those who heard the oration can attest, Farrakhan's speech hardly lived up to its promise to rally the black community toward long-term changes. Farrakhan biographer, Arthur Magida, attended the march and summarized the speech's lackluster reception:
A cheer rose when Farrakhan finally took the podium, yet when he started to speak, many were visibly let down. Within fifteen minutes, Farrakhan began to lose the crowd, some drifting toward benches to rest their feet, some heading toward the train stations or bus depots for their long rides home. At the pinnacle of his career, before a Mall crammed with men who had been stirred by his improbable vision of such a gathering, and with 2.2 million households watching him on television, Louis Farrakhan, ordinarily a master of oratory, meandered through a loose patchwork of themes that never quite cohered.
Even Farrakhan seemed to notice that his lecture, as he called it, failed to keep the crowd's attention. More than five times during the speech, Farrakhan assured his audience that he was "almost finished" (121, 161) and beckoned to them "Don't move. Don't move" (134). His disjointed message, however, failed to hold much less persuade the marchers. Two-and-a-half hours later, roughly two-thirds of his audience had left the Mall. In the end, Farrakhan's attempts to legitimize his leadership overshadowed his audiences' need. The Million Man March, as the New York Times astutely noted, "produced a huge crowd hungry for great oratory. But instead of something like the crystalline 19 minutes of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, this crowd got a rambling, self-obsessed two hours from Louis Farrakhan." Instead of focusing the national spotlight on the march's goals and themes, Farrakhan had stolen the attention for himself.
Legacy of the "Million Man March"
the Million Man March appeared to be a great success. The mass demonstration
drew attention to the plight of the black community. Its peaceful nature
offered a new image of black men and, perhaps most significantly, the thousands
of marchers demonstrated that they were willing to look past their differences
to support a common cause. Immediately following the march, several black
organizations reported increases in membership. A
month later, Farrakhan and the National African American Leadership Summit announced
a Ten-Point Action Program to improve the lives of blacks in
The Million Man March also
generated some positive publicity for Farrakhan, at least for a time. Singh
argues that the march "represented the culmination of Farrakhan's bold
attempts to achieve political legitimacy and full inclusion within the ranks of
the national black American political leadership cadre." And
in Singh's opinion, it worked: "To the deep chagrin of his many implacable
opponents and ardent adversaries, it succeeded spectacularly."
Even Farrakhan's drawn-out speech could not dampen what Gardell has dubbed the
greatest manifestation of black solidarity "in the history of the
Immediately following the march,
groups like the African American Agenda 2000 worked to discredit Farrakhan's
leadership and his vision for the black community. Farrakhan's personal ambitions
inadvertently contributed to his critics' efforts and undermined the march's
long-term success. Within three months of the protest, Magida writes, "Farrakhan
answered the implicit queries about how he would leverage the massive political
capital" he had gained. He
quickly showed that "he would deploy his new claim to power on his terms." Farrakhan
alienated other black and white leaders by pursuing his own agenda for reform. For
instance, Farrakhan's bold criticism of
As H. Viscount Nelson has argued, black leaders who pursue selfish agendas "help the white establishment maintain hegemony in the judicial, executive, and legislative affairs of the nation" and serve as gatekeepers at the door of opportunity rather than as leaders of their race. In his opinion, Farrakhan has become one of those gatekeepers. Nelson acknowledges that Farrakhan has "presented creative ideas" for improving the lives of blacks, but he contends that "in the broadest sense" those accomplishments have proven "meager" for several reasons. First, Farrakhan seems reluctant to share the spotlight with other black leaders. Second, he has shown limited commitment to sustain his ideas through follow-up activities and initiatives. Finally, he embodies the "long-standing problem" that black leaders have displayed "for generations"--an inability to establish and maintain positive intra-racial bonds. As Nelson concludes, Farrakhan's actions before, during, and after the Million Man March illustrated these shortcomings and shed light on why he--and other modern black leaders--have had difficulty effecting positive long-term changes for blacks in U.S. society.
Ten years after the Million Man March, Farrakhan again discussed the plight of the black community at a commemorative ceremony dubbed the Million Man March, part II. He again offered a plan for strengthening the black community, and again he challenged the audience to initiate change in their own lives. Reflective of the Millions More Movement's broader vision of uniting all Americas under a shared banner for change, Farrakhan issued a call for "all of our brothers and sisters, black, brown, red and white . . . to work collectively to address the many issues that affect our people and the poor in this country." He concluded his address with a message of reassurance, stating: "United we can solve our problems and divided we have nothing."
The Million Man March offered many blacks hope that together they could initiate positive change within their communities. As the designated leader and spokesperson of the event, Minister Louis Farrakhan had the potential of drawing media and national attention to the march's goals and themes. Instead, the controversial leader evaded his responsibility and seized the opportunity to legitimize his position of leadership. Farrakhan's divisive, self-absorbed two-and-a-half hour speech and his selfish actions in the months following the march proved that he was unwilling to put the interests of the black community above his own. In the end, Farrakhan's drive for power lessened his rhetorical effectiveness, undermined the march's theme of unity, and ultimately hindered the cause's long-term success.
Jill M. Weber is a Doctoral Student at The Pennsylvania State University. She would like to thank J. Michael Hogan, Shawn J. Parry-Giles, and Lubov Zeifman for their help with the project.
Disputes over the number of people attending the march arose immediately after the
National Park Service estimated the attendance at 400,000.
exact question asked by the ABC News/Washington Post poll was as follows:
"As you may know, the Million Man
March is intended to encourage black males to accept more responsibility
for their families and communities. Do you support or oppose such a march?"
ABC News/Washington Post Poll,
2007); Michael A. Fletcher and Mario A. Brossard, "Poll:
Many Blacks Back March but Find Organizers Troubling,"
exact question asked by the ABC News/Washington
Post poll was as follows: "One of the main organizers of the Million Man March is Louis Farrakhan,
leader of the Nation of Islam. Does his participation in the march make you
more likely or less likely to support the march? (If more or less likely, ask:)
Is that a lot more/less likely to support the march or somewhat more/less
likely?" ABC News/Washington Post Poll,
The media both documented and perpetuated the contentious message/messenger
debate. For examples prior to the march, see: "One-Man March: Sadly, Louis
Farrakhan's Role Will Leave That Impression," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 25, 1995, A10; Edward Walsh, "Criticism
of Farrakhan's Million Man March Muted; Nation of Islam Leader's Effort Pushing
Him to Forefront of Black Leadership," Washington
Post, October 8, 1995, A22; Francis X. Clines, "Organizers Defend Role
of Farrakhan in March by Blacks," New
York Times, October 13, 1995, sec. A, 1; Rachel L. Jones, "Chavis
Downplays Farrakhan March Role; But Anti-Semitic Remarks by Nation of Islam
Leader on TV Renew Controversy,"
The message/messenger theme continued in the post-march coverage. See, for example, Mario A. Brossard and Richard Morin, "Leader Popular Among Marchers; But Most Came to Support Black Family, Show Unity, Survey Finds," Washington Post, October 17, 1995, A01; Terry M. Neal, "Farrakhan's Message of Redemption; He Denounces White Leaders While Calling for Black Self-Improvement," Washington Post, October 17, 1995, A01: Richard Roeper, "Message of Hope Is Worth a Million," Chicago Sun-Times, October 18, 1995, 11; Larry King, "A Memorable March; A Bet on Colin Powell," USA Today, October 23, 1995, sec, Life, 2D; William Raspberry, "The Only Leadership," Washington Post, October 27, 1995, A25.
Clarence Taylor, Black Religious Intellectuals:
The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the Twenty-First Century (
 Shortly after his parent's marriage, Farrakhan's father abandoned the family for extended periods of time. During one of Clarke's long absences, Farrakhan's mother fell in love with Louis Walcott, who fathered her first child, Alvan Walcott in 1931. A year later, Clarke "briefly surfaced" and Manning became pregnant with Farrakhan. Arthur J. Magida, Prophet of Rage: A Life of Louis Farrakhan and His Nation (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 9-10; See also Florence Hamlish Levinsohn, Looking for Farrakhan (Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, Inc., 1997), 181-182.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 9.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 15.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 24-27.
 Levinsohn, Looking for Farrakhan, 206.
An old friend convinced Farrakhan and his wife to attend the Nation's annual
Saviour's Day convention in
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 32.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 32.
 As stated in an interview with Author Magida. See, Prophet of Rage, 32.
Both Magida and Levinsohn note that Farrakhan's mother, and many of the other
West Indian residents in Roxbury, strongly supported the teachings of Marcus Garvey,
a Jamaican Black Nationalist. Magida, Prophet of Rage, 15; Levinsohn, Looking
for Farrakhan, 168, 214. Marcus
Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the largest
mass-based protest movement among Black people in the history of the
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 17.
 Upon entering the Nation of Islam, the Muslims provide each member with a new name that eliminates the person's slave name. For example, upon entering the NOI, Louis Walcott began calling himself Louis X.
 Mattias Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), 120-21.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 59.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 62.
 Gardell argues that Farrakhan's ascendancy made him a "chief contender" to succeed the Messenger and lead the Nation. Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, 122.
 As stated in an interview with Steven Barboza. See, American Jihad: Islam after Malcolm X (New York: Doubleday, 1994), 142, 148.
 Taylor, Black Religious Intellectuals, 151.
Again Describes Hitler as a 'Very Great Man,'" New York Times, July 17, 1984, A18; Nathan McCall, "Backing
Farrakhan Seen as Way of 'Hitting Back'; Popularity Linked to Audacity and
Robert Singh, The Farrakhan Phenomenon:
Race, Reaction, and the Paranoid Style in
 Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, 5.
William Pleasant, Independent Black
 Taylor, Black Religious Intellectual Leaders, 150
 Ron Daniels, "The Meaning of the Million Man March and Day of Absence," Million Man March/Day of Absence: A Commemorative Anthology, eds. Haki R. Madhubuti and Maulana Karenga (Chicago, IL: Third World Press, 1996), 83.
Tananarive Due, "Farrakhan: Pride or Prejudice,"
Pleasant, Independent Black Leadership in
 Michael C. Dawson and Lawrence D. Bobo, "The Reagan Legacy and the Racial Divide in the George W. Bush Era," Du Bois Review 1, no. 2 (2004): 210.
For a discussion of
 Cornel West, "Historic Event," Million Man March/Day of Absence: A Commemorative Anthology, eds. Haki R. Madhubuti and Maulana Karenga (Chicago, IL: Third World Press, 1996), 98. Consistent with the religious element of Black Nationalism, Farrakhan emphasized the importance of all blacks' atoning for their sins on the day of the march.
 Farrakhan argued that the Republican-endorsed Contract with America and a recent Supreme Court decision against affirmative action showed that Congress had begun "turning back the hands of time" and that the Supreme Court had "set the stage" in the United States for "closing doors" and "impeding the progress" of Blacks. "The Vision for the Million Man March," reprinted in Million Man March/Day of Absence, eds. Haki R. Madhubuti and Maulana Karenga (Chicago, IL: Third World Press, 1996), 150.
 Farrakhan, "The Vision for the Million Man March," 151.
 Haki R. Madhubuti, "Took Back Our Tears, Laughter, Love and Left a Big Dent in the Earth," Million Man March/Day of Absence, eds. Haki R. Madhubuti and Maulana Karenga (Chicago, IL: Third World Press, 1996), 2.
 "Million Man March Fact Sheet," reprinted in Million Man March/Day of Absence, eds. Haki R. Madhubuti and Maulana Karenga (Chicago, IL: Third World Press, 1996), 152.
 West, "Historic Event," 98.
 S. Craig Watkins, "Framing Protest: News Media Frames of the Million Man March," Critical Studies in Media Communication 18, no. 1 (March 2001): 89. Although the Million Man March was scheduled several months in advance, it arrived two weeks after the controversial verdict in the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial. Simpson's acquittal sparked controversy across the country as Americans' responses to the verdict seemed to be divided along the color line.
 Watkins, "Framing Protest," 89.
 Watkins, "Framing Protest," 89.
 Watkins, "Framing Protest," 89.
William E. Nelson, Jr., "
Cohn and Debbi Wilgoren, "March Foes Assail Leader, Not Aims; Goal of
Uniting Black Men Wins Wide Support, But Farrakhan Draws Fire,"
 Cohn and Wilgoren, "March Foes Assail Leader, Not Aims," A11.
Shepard reported that the NAACP and National Urban League voiced support for
the movement's goals, but refused to endorse the march because of Farrakhan's
involvement. Paul Shepard, "Marching for a Reawakening; Despite Shadow of
Controversy, D.C. Rally is Gaining Support with Local Men Set to Join," Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), September
24, 1995, 1B. The Anti-Defamation League vehemently protested Farrakhan's role and issued a full page ad in the New York Times that stated: "we
understand the need of African Americans to come together in a march on
 Colin Powell told CBS This Morning: "I was concerned that my presence on the stage with Farrakhan might give him a level of credibility--more of a level of credibility than I would have liked to have seen, so I would have regretted it." "Retired General Colin Powell Discusses His Book, the Million Man March, Racism in America and His Reaction to the O.J. Simpson Trial Verdict," CBS This Morning, CBS News, October 16, 1995, http://lexis-nexis.com/ (accessed 21 August 2007).
Desda Moss and Gary Fields. "Mobilizing 1 Million; Theme Timely, but
Organizer Is Controversial,"
Art Golab, "
R. Harris and Michael A. Fletcher, "
Francis X. Clines, "Organizers Defend Role of Farrakhan in March by
Blacks," New York Times,
 Clines, "Organizers Defend Role," 1.
 Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, 344-45. Some officials from the NAACP and the Urban League planned to attend the march although their organizations refused to endorse the event. Cohn and Wilgoren, "March Foes Assail Leader," A11; "Million Man March Partial Listing of Endorsements to Date, September 30, 1995," reprinted in Million Man March/Day of Absence, eds. Haki R. Madhubuti and Maulana Karenga (Chicago, IL: Third World Press, 1996), 154-155.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 March on
 Felton O. Best and Charles Frazier, "Introduction," Black Religious Leadership from the Slave Community to the Million Man March: Flames of Fire, ed. Felton O. Best (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998), 15.
 Best and Frazier, "Introduction," 2, 15.
 Here and elsewhere passages in "Million Man March" are cited with reference to paragraph numbers in the text of the speech that accompanies this essay.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 193; Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, 344-345.
 John L. Pauley, II., "Reshaping Public Persona and the Prophetic Ethos: Louis Farrakhan at the Million Man March," Western Journal of Communication 62, no. 4 (Fall 1998): 519.
 Pauley, "Reshaping Public Persona," 515.
 Taylor, Black Religious Intellectuals, 151.
 Taylor, Black Religious Intellectuals, 151.
 Taylor, Black Religious Intellectuals,160.
 Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, 345.
 Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, 345.
 Steven R. Goldzwig, "A Social Movement Perspective on Demagoguery: Achieving Symbolic Realignment," Communication Studies 40 (Fall 1989): 218.
 Goldzwig, "A Social Movement Perspective on Demagoguery," 218.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 193.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 196.
 "Earnest Crowd, Empty Leader," New York Times, October 17, 1995, sec. A, 24.
Desda Moss, "March Gives Black Groups Momentum,"
We are After the Million Man March: Toward the Million Family March," Million Family March, http://www.millionfamilymarch.com/agenda/intro.htm
 Marable, Black Leadership, 163.
 Singh, The Farrakhan Phenomenon, 62.
 Singh, The Farrakhan Phenomenon, 62.
 Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, 5.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 197.
 Nelson, The Rise and Fall of Modern Black Leadership 308-309.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 199.
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 199. (original emphasis)
 Magida, Prophet of Rage, 201.
 Nelson, The Rise and Fall of Modern Black Leadership, 310-311.
 "More than a Million Pledged to Restore, Rebuild and Repair Broken Lives and Communities at the 10 Anniversary Commemoration of the Million Man March," Millions More Movement http://www.millionsmoremovement.com/news/press_rel10-15-2005.htm (accessed 21 August 2007).
 "More than a Million Pledged to
Restore, Rebuild, and Repair Broken Lives," (accessed