Part of this broad coalition effort would be the Reparations and Self Determination Bill through petition drives demanding land and capital as partial repayment for years of genocide. This petition should be presented to the Congressional Black Caucus to be initiated in Congress as a bill. Also, on the local level each black progressive Congressperson should be petitioned to present Reparations in the form of a bill. This would be to get the question before the board masses and the world as a mass issue. Also important, with continuous offensive political agitation would be political re-education and building the independent political party to candidates who will raise the demands of self determination, Reparations for African-Americans and economic democracy. It is within this context of mass revolutionary action that African-Americans can take their demand of Reparations and Self Determination with a mass march on the United Nations and send representatives around the world calling for international support for the African-American National liberation movement.
Recent estimates state that in the next 20 years, by the year 2000, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, and other Third World people will make up 50 to 60 percent of the total population of the United States. African-Americans and Hispanics alone will make up to 30% of the U.S. population. With the appeal to an economic common ground, the new progressive politics is paving the way towards a people's America; as Jesse says, "A people united will never be defeated.
1989 In 1989 of the many instances to occur the following eight seem to stick out:
Congressman john Conyers of Michigan proposed HR 40, a bill to study whether the institution of slavery in the US from 1619 to 1865 and de jure and the de facto segregation and economic discrimination has an impact on living African Americans and to investigate whether African Americans should receive reparations. This is otherwise known as the Reparations Bill.
Temple University located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, became the first university in the country and the world to offer a doctorate degree in African-American Studies; thirty-five students enrolled in the first class.
On February 10, 1989, Ronald H. Brown, attorney and political leader was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee becoming the first African American to be elected head of a major national political party.
Between March and April, African-American students occupied and barricaded the administration buildings at Howard University, Washington, D. C., Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia. Some of their demands included “a more delinquent fees policy, a Pan African Studies program, and better campus services.
On August 7th, an airplane carrying African-American Congressman Mickey Leland crashed on route to the Fugnedo refugee camp in Ethiopia, killing all aboard. In Oakland, California on August 22nd, Huey P. Newton, a co-founder of the Black Panther Party was shot to death. On August 23 in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York, sixteen year old, Yusef Hawkins, was shot to death while looking to purchase a used car. Thirty whites attacked him and three friends, wielding baseball bats, golf clubs and at least one pistol thinking Hawkins and his friends had come in the area to visit a white girl.
Following the incident, the Reverend Al Sharpton and other local civil rights activists led by Sonny Carson, led two days of confrontational demonstrations through the largely Italian-American neighborhood.364
On August 1st, more than 7,000 people chanting “No More!” and “Whose Street? Our Street!” marched through the downtown section of Brooklyn, New York in further protests of the killing of Yusef Hawkings. As the march approached the Brooklyn Bridge where police had set up barricades the marchers ran through the barricade shouting “take the bridge, take the bride!” Hand to hand battles erupted between police and the demonstrators.
In the fall, on November 7th, David Dinkins, the president of the Borough of Manhattan was elected mayor of New York City becoming New York City’s first African-American mayor. Also on the same day, Douglas Wiler was elected governor of Virginia becoming Virginia’s first African American governor and the first African American governor elected by popular vote.
1990 On January 18, 1990, Marion S. Barry, Jr., mayor of Washington, D.C., was set up in a “drug sting” at a local hotel by the FBI.365 On February 11, Nelson Mandela, the major leader of the struggle for democracy and human rights in the Republic of South Africa was released from prison after serving 27 years. Many in the African American community applauded Mandela’s release because since the late 70’s various coalitions led boycotts and divestment campaigns against the Union of South Africa because of its policy of apartheid segregation. In particular under the leadership of Randall Robinson, the head Transafrica starting in 1984, African-Americans had demonstrations at the South African Embassy in Washington D. C. and held demonstrations at South African consulates in Chicago, Boston, Houston, Salt Lake City and put pressure on the Democratic Party to demand the release of Nelson Mandela.366 In the Spring-Summer of 1900, African-American students at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio held rallies, demonstrations and one month long sit-ins to protest the firing of Dr. Raymond Wimbush head of the Office of Minority Affairs.
Malcolm X Speaks In The 1990's In Cuba Report on The Malcolm X Speaks in The 1990's symposium held in Havana, Cuba, May 22-24 1990 sponsored by Casa de las Americas and Centro de Estudios Sobre America.
I was honored to be one of twenty-four African-Americans invited to Havana, Cuba for The Malcolm X Speaks in The 1990's Symposium sponsored by the Centro DE Estudios Sobre America (Center for the Study of the Americas) and Casa De Las Americas (House of The Americas).
Most of our delegation left Miami, Florida, 11:00 P.M., Friday, May 18, and arrived in Havana, Cuba at 1:00 A.M., Saturday, May 19th (Malcolm X's sixty-fifth birthday). There was a warm welcoming of our delegation. Our itinerary began 11:00 A.M. Saturday, May 19, morning with a visit to Casa de las Americas. The procedures of the research institute were described to us. We were shown some of the pamphlets and books published by Casa de las Americas and were welcomed to take several copies for ourselves. The publications are in Spanish. Also at this time, our delegation met with the staff of Casa de las Americas, some of whom are historians of the African roots of Cuban culture.
Saturday afternoon, we were given the treat to participate in an African Day with the National Folkloric Ensemble. The performances consisted of dancing, music, speeches, drama and drumming. The masses of Cuban people were in attendance and one could see the integral importance of the African Cuban experience to. Cuban culture.
Saturday evening our delegation visited the Casa de Africa (House of Africa); a three story museum established by Fidel Castro. Case de Africa contains African sculpture, carvings, paintings, all types of artifacts given to Fidel by African leaders, organizations and individuals as a token of their appreciation for his and Cuba's support of African liberation. Sister Assata Shakur (Jo Anne Chesimard who is living in exile in Cuba) attended our stay at the Casa de Africa.
On Sunday, May 20, our delegation visited the La Guinera (a community housing project). The La Guinera is named after the African nation of Guinea. It is a housing project building presently consisting of three three-story buildings which were constructed by the residents of the community. The housing brigade told us of how the project came about and the process and theory behind their work. After the presentation, we visited a three-story modern apartment complex that the people themselves built. Our delegation visited a worker's two bedroom apartment with kitchen and shower. It was a very clean and well constructed apartment. It would be considered lower middle class living in The United States. If a person volunteers to work on the construction of the housing project, they get an apartment in the complex when construction is completed. The entire housing project is being built from volunteer labor of the people in the community. We next visited an old apartment of someone who was waiting for a new apartment. Needless to say, the project is a marked improvement over the previous condition.
Saturday evening the delegation visited the Hyos de San Lazaro Association where a religious celebration was held in the delegation's honor and a goat was sacrificed for the success of the conference.
On Monday, May 21, the delegation flew to the Isle of the Youth. On the Isle of the Youth are schools of students from Angola (MPLA), Namibia (SWAPO), South Africa (ANC) and Mozambique (FRELIMO). The African-American delegation visited students studying science and other subjects. We were welcomed with presentations and cultural performances. The Isle of Youth, an island of education, is an example of Cuba's commitment to Africa's self determination. From the schools, we went by bus to the old Isle of Pine's (Isle of Youth, now) prison where the Moncada prison resides. The Moncada prison has been turned into a museum and we were given a history lesson about the early developments of the Cuban revolution. Monday evening our delegation went to Garcia Larca Theatre to see a documentary on Malcolm X.
Tuesday, May 22, in the morning, our delegation attended the inauguration of a book exhibition at the Jose Antonio Echeverria Library of the Casa de las Americas. There were books on Malcolm X and the black liberation struggle.
About 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, the Malcolm X Speaks in The 1990's Symposium was opened at the auditorium in the Casa de las Americas. The first section dealt with perspective of Malcolm X and featured Bill Sales of the Malcolm X work Study Group who spoke on, "Malcolm X: World Context in the 60's", Osvald Cardenas who presented, "The Interaction Between Malcolm X and The Postwar Revolutionary Movement" and Akinyeli Umoja from the New African People's Organization (NAPO) who spoke on "From Malcolm X to Omowale Malik Shabazz, the Transformation and Impact of The African Struggle in The United States." Abdul Alkalimat from 21st Century Books and the Malcolm X work Study Group discussed, "Malcolm X and Some Contemporary Ideological considerations. After the presentations, there was discussion and the conference adjourned for lunch.
The theme for the afternoon session was the Legacy of Malcolm X. The afternoon session started at 2:30 P.M. The first presentation was given by Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael) of The African People's Revolutionary Party (APRP) on "The Influence of Malcolm X on SNCC." The next presentation was given by Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford) of The Institute of 'African-American Studies on "The Legacy of Malcolm X: Building a National Democratic Movement of a New Type." This was followed by Omowale Clay of the December 12th Movement who presented "Malcolm's Legacy and the Black Nation." The last presentation of the day was given by David Gonzalez on "Cuban-African Relations." In the debate, Kwame Toure expounded on some of the missing links of history of the 1960's not written about.
The Symposium reconvened promptly at 9:00 A.M. Wednesday, May 23rd. This section was called Afro-Centrism, Euro-Centrism and Communism. Tony Monterio gave a presentation on "The Role of the American Communist Party in the Black Liberation Movement," Rafael Hernandez discussed "Cuba and the United States Political Culture," Elombe Brath of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition gave a presentation on Malcolm in relation to the Black Nationalist Movement titled, "Comparative Predecessor and His Cognitives." Fernando Martinez Heredia discussed, "The Third World and Socialism" and Sister Assata Shakur read part of her thesis on Malcolm X. Because this session went overtime, it was continued in the afternoon session. In the afternoon session there was lively debate concerning the role of the American C. P. in the BLM and also questions about the Black Panther Party. Pro and con arguments exhausted the time allowance.
The late afternoon session was titled, "Democracy for Whom? Black Liberation and United States Electoral Politics in the Last Twenty-five Years." Odette Taverna from the National Executive Committee of The Rainbow Coalition discussed, "Malcolm's Legacy on The Empowerment of The Black Community" and Bill Strickland, also of the Rainbow Coalition, talked about "Malcolm X and Jesse Jackson."
Wednesday evening the symposium was honored to have two Cuban comrades who were with Fidel when he met with Malcolm X in 1960. They discussed aspects of this meeting.
Thursday, May 24, was the last day of The Symposium. This section was titled "Religion in The Politics of Liberation: Liberation Theology in The Americas. The morning session included a panel which included Padre Lawrence Lucas from the December 12th Movement who discussed, "Malcolm X in The Tradition of Liberation Theology"; Raul Gomez Treto who presented "Catholic Thinking, Church and Revolution in Cuba"; Rafael Topez Valdes who dealt with, "Past, Present and Future of Religions of African Origins in Cuba"; and Carlos Piedra who talked about, "Protestants in the Cuban Revolution." There was a discussion period after the panel and a break for lunch.
The afternoon session was the final meeting of The Symposium. It was entitled "Black Art and Culture: Time for Twenty-five Year Retrospective Evaluation." Vicky Akuwami discussed the "Role of Malcolm X as a Cultural Ikon for Contemporary Youth; Rogelio Martinez Fure discussed the "African Roots in Cuban Culture," Nancy Morejon discussed, "The Presence of African Myth in Cuban and Caribbean Culture" and Natasha Russell of the Black Consciousness Movement wrapped up The symposium with a rousing presentation on "The Role of Youth in The Movement." There was a question and answer period. After the afternoon session, the director of the-Casa de las Americas presented concluding remarks and declared the symposium closed.
Our delegation returned to our hotel where we were told we had been invited to dine at the Presidential Palace as guests of the First Secretary of The Central Committee of The Cuban Communist Party end President of Cuba, Fidel Castro Ruz. Needless to say, this was an honor that everyone on the delegation cherished. Fidel greeted our delegation after its arrival at the Presidential Palace. He invited us to come in the Central Committee Meeting Room. There we were seated and after mutual greetings, we proceeded to ask the President questions. Seated with Fidel was Juan Almeida Elombe Brath of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition congratulated Fidel and the Cuban people for their recent victory over the South Africans in Angola with the support of the Angolan, SWAPO and ANC forces. President Fidel brought out a map in which he described the battle Cuitz Carnavale and how the Cubans defeated the South Africans. He vividly described the chances taken by the Cubans and of the sacrifices of the Cuban Internationalists. After the discussion, Fidel issued a statement to the American people and we proceeded to go downstairs where a buffet was prepared and awaiting us. Fidel answered questions for another hour and one-half and we all enjoyed a historic evening.
The next morning on Friday, May 25, our delegation was taken to the camp of FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front) where we met, FMLN combatants, Salvadorean war victims. We gave greetings of solidarity and vice versa. During our lunch break, our delegation met and decided to network and issue a statement. In the afternoon, we met with the Cuban Communist Youth Union and Cuban Internationalists who had fought in Angola. Our delegation had an extensive exchange with the comrades. We ended our stay with a statement of unity and solidarity. This ended our visit and we went back to our hotel where we prepared to pack for our flight to return to the U.S.A.
The Comrades from the Casa de las Americas accompanied us to the airport where we toasted solidarity and thanked our host over Cuban coffee. Thus ended a life changing experience which all of us on the delegation thank the Cuban people for providing.
Toward the end of the year a major conference on Malcolm X was held in New York at Manhattan Borough Community College where over 1,500 attended. Reverend Ralph Abernathy, Co-worker with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. since the 1955-56 Montgomery Alabama bus boycott died. Maxine Waters was elected to the U. S. Congress from California.
1991-1992 King Beaten by Los Angeles Police Officers National outrage erupted when Los Angeles police officers kicked and beat Rodney King, An African-American motorist whom they had stopped for a traffic violation. A white citizen happened to capture the incident on videotape. Chief Daryl Gates of the Los Angeles Police Department was asked to resign by the police commission and Mayor Thomas Bradley. Gates refused because of civil service rules, he could not be forced to resign.
Thomas Nominated to Supreme Court On July 1, President George Bush, Sr. nominated Clarence Thomas, former chairperson of the Equal Employment Opportunity commission (EEOC) and judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals as associate justice U. S. Supreme Court. Thomas would replace Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to sit on the U. S. Supreme Court. Thomas’s confirmation hearings by the U. S. Senate ended in a drama that both enthralled and divided the nation, when he was accused by a former employee law professor, Anita Hill, of sexual harassment during his term at the EEOC. Thomas, a conservative, was nevertheless confirmed by the U. S. Senate 54-48. He replaced one of the most liberal justices on the U. S. Supreme Court and one who dedicated a most distinguished legal career to putting in place many of the processes and institution that Thomas himself did not support – affirmative action, for example. It is ironic that that Thomas has himself benefited from affirmative action programs.367 1992 African-American Workers in Hamlet, North Carolina in a sweatshop perished when a fire broke out and they could not get out of the factory. About 200 die in the fire. Black Workers for Justice (BWFJ) from Rocky Mount, North Carolina mobilized a national mobilization to get justice for the workers.
Los Angeles Police Officers acquitted in Beating of King On April 19, the four police officers charged with beating Rodney King in 1991were acquitted by an all-white jury. By nightfall, rioting and looting began in South Central Los Angeles, a largely African American and Hispanic neighborhood. On May 1, President Bush ordered Marines and army troops into Los Angeles to try to restore order. When the federal troops left on May 10, fifty-two people had been killed and six hundred buildings set on fire.368 November 3, 1992 Carol Moseley-Braun, politician, U. S. Ambassador, became the first African American woman to win a U. S. Senate seat (Illinois). She held the post until 1998. Moseley-Braun, a former Cook County Recorder of Deeds, won support from a broad-based political coalition to defeat Republican Richard Williamson. A Chicago native, Moseley-Braun was elected to her deeds post which she held until her election to her deeds post which she held until her election to the U. S. Senate. She later served as U. S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Moseley-Braun is currently the founder and pastor of Good Food Organics in Chicago. African-Americans surpassed gains during Reconstruction in terms of elected officials.
On April 9, 1993, Benjamin Chavis of the Wilmington Ten was selected to head the NAACP by its board of directors. Chavis began to galvanize inner city youth and came into alliance with Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
In August of 1993, the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington was organized mainly by the NAACP.
1994 survivors of Rosewood: Scheduled to receive reparations:
On April 8, the Florida legislature agreed to pay up to $150,000 to each survivor of a weeklong rampage of white mob that wiped out the African American town of Rosewood seventy-one years ago.
On New Year’s Day in 1923, a white mob formed and went on a rampage after hearing about a white woman’s claim that she had been assaulted by a African American man. The white mob marched into the small Gulf Coast community of Rosewood in search of the African American man. Failing to find him, they burned nearly every house at least 200 people died, and many others fled the violence.
The 1994 bill, approved earlier by the House, established a fund of $1.5 million to pay anyone up to $150,000 who could prove he or she had lived in Rosewood and was evacuated during the violence. It also created a $500,000 fund for reimbursement of lost property and provided $100,000 a year for college scholarships for Rosewood family descendants and other minorities. As many as 25 students could receive up to $4,000 annually.
1995 The Great Million Man March Basically, there are two kinds of power that count in America: economic power and political power, with social power being derived from these two. In order for the Afro-Americans to control their destiny, they must be able to control and affect the decisions which control their destiny: economic, political, and social. This can only be done through organization...Malcolm X, by Any Means Necessary, pp. 45-46. On October 16, 1995, one million men marched in Washington, D.C., for a historical day of atonement. Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, issued the call for a day of atonement and absence of a million African American men. Many felt this was needed for African American men to repent for allowing themselves to fall victims of the capitalist system's institutionalization of self-destructive genocide, the selling and using of drugs, the fratricidal killing of African Americans by African Americans, the verbal, physical abuse of African American women and children.
Though much of this activity stems from the lack of jobs due to the overseas expansion of U.S. industry, the day of atonement was needed to call African American men to accept the awesome responsibility to bring about a fundamental social change in creating a "New America." The great Million Man March created a day of African American unity in which two million African American men and women who were there displayed love and respect for one another. Millions of other African Americans across the nation took the day off of work, held local support unity demonstrations, and watched the march on TV. Traveling on over 12,000 buses, mostly organized by local organizing committees (LOCs), of which thirty left from Cleveland, traveling by caravans of cars, overflowing airports and bus stations, the Million Man March, which had been organized through the African American Leadership Summit and mobilized by its national coordinator, the Reverend Ben Chavis, was a resounding success.369 The great Million Man March offers an alternative to the rightward drift of American politics. Many African American leaders realize that conservative Republicans like Newt Gingrich and Robert Dole, who were reversing the gains won over the last thirty years, would not be in office if African Americans used their voting power.
Along with atonement was the call by Reverend Ben Chavis, Minister Louis Farrakhan, and Reverend Jesse Jackson to register 8 million unregistered African Americans of voting age. The use of the power of an "educated" African American vote could definitely move us toward "a more perfect union."
History of Earlier Marches on Washington The first March on Washington was proposed by A. Philip Randolph, an African American labor leader, who proposed a march of 100,000 African American men on Washington in 1941. The purpose of the march was to shut Washington down if President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not end segregated practices in hiring in defense industries. The proposed march had local affiliates called the March on Washington Movement (MOWM). Hours before the march was to be held, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 ending racial segregation in the defense industry.370 The second effort at a March on Washington by African Americans and their allies occurred August 27, 1963. As thousands upon thousands of African Americans took to the streets facing water hoses, dogs being leashed on them, and mass arrests to end racial discrimination, a grassroots call went out to march on Washington. The masses were talking about shutting Washington down. Activists were planning to lie across highways and airport runways and sitting in the halls of Congress.
After much effort at negotiation, funding, and compromise, President John F. Kennedy met with the leaders of the major civil rights organizations, NAACP, SCLC, CORE, and SNCC [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Congress on Racial Equality, and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee]. Kennedy promised a civil rights bill and endorsed the march. Though the march was successful, with a participation of 250,000, it was not critical of the Kennedy administration. In 1983 a 20-year commemorative march, including a broad spectrum of leadership, was held. While the march gave a recommitment to the drive for racial parity, it failed to advance a program beyond supporting the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The 1993 march restated a similar program, with the reactionary sector of the Jewish community demanding that Minister Louis Farrakhan not speak. He was excluded.
Meaning of the March for the African American Community Many people have asked, Why a day of atonement? One is accepting the responsibility of doing wrong. In order to move "toward a more perfect union," not only must the U.S. government atone for its crimes of genocide against African Americans, but so must African American men who have strayed from the path of black liberation.
With the statistics of 800,000 African Americans in jail and prisons and only 500,000 in college, someone, somewhere in the African American community has been misdirected and miseducated. Jesse Jackson said in the last ten years the jail economy has risen from $4 billion to $72 billion. Companies such as American Express, who divested from South Africa, have now reinvested in prison construction and privatization. African American offenders, arrested for having five grams of crack cocaine, receive 5 years mandatory time, while white offenders, arrested for 500 grams of cocaine powder, receive a mandatory sentence of a year.
True, the cause is the capitalist system — no jobs and a drug economy. But African Americans must accept the individual and collective responsibility for submitting to the degenerating effects of monopoly capitalism's plan to destroy the African American community. African American men in particular have fallen for the "me first" as opposed to the "we" mentality. Too many African Americans have succumbed to drug and alcohol abuse, abusing ourselves, our women and children. Minister Farrakhan asked that African Americans stop using the "B" word against women. Jesse Jackson asked the question, "What can a million men do?" They can change the self-destructive behavior of the African American community.
Day of Absence One of the purposes of the Million Man March was the call for all African Americans to take the day off from work and not to purchase goods on the day of the march. If it could be done on one day, there is always a possibility of doing it longer. There is the potential of a national African American general strike (work stoppage and economic boycott). This would be an effort at total unity and power of social activism of the African American community.
The Million Man March showed African Americans and the world the significance of the "power of numbers," the African American masses united. It showed that at least a million of the 15 million African American youth of America were willing to commit themselves to participating in the black liberation movement if provided the opportunity to do so. From cradle to grave, from generation to generation.
Pan-African/International Implications Like the mass struggles in South Africa, the Million Man March showed us the potential of African American mass struggle and its impact on the nation and the world.
With the support of 90 percent of the world, there is no power structure on earth that can stop the mass revolutionary action of 40 million African Americans. The African American and African struggles are one and the same.
While Africa is the world's richest land mass, providing the raw materials critical to the maintenance of the developed world's industries and economies, it is the world's poorest continent. The only way Africa can gain true liberation is by a fundamental change of the world economic order. The potential power of the world's oppressed remains dormant. The African American struggle for national liberation, self-determination, and economic equality can awaken this force. In this sense, what affects one affects all.
African Americans are "taxed without proportional representation." African Americans, as 10 to 15 percent of the U.S. population, should have 47,115 African American elected officials out of the more than 497,155 elected officials in America. There are about 8,000 African American elected officials in the U.S. in the year 1995. Living in the heart of the world capitalist economy, African Americans have an unestimated power to liberate Africa and the world. A mass self-defense civil disobedience movement for reparations could lead to a second Reconstruction and a new socialist America.
The Goals of the March: Registration and a Third Political Force One of the major goals of the Million Man March is to register 8 million unregistered African Americans of voting age. One hundred and fifty thousand were registered on the day of the march. Another important goal is to create a "third political force." Minister Farrakhan said, "We will no longer vote for a African American man because he is African American; candidates will gain support of the community if they are in accord with our agenda.
We intend to never again let our vote be taken for granted. We'll never again vote personality or color. We'll vote for those who hold our agenda sacred....the day of party loyalty of African American people is over and that "rather than a third party," a third political power will be formed "that will encourage black Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to vote for agendas rather than parties.371 Several speakers proposed the convening of local and statewide black political conventions to do this.
African American Economic Fund Minister Farrakhan recommended that a black economic development fund be developed to be supervised by a board made up from the National African American Leadership Summit. It was suggested that each African American contribute $20 a month to this fund for two or three years or on a personal basis. It was calculated that in two or three years, $20 billion could be generated.
True democracy exists only through the participation of the people, not through the activity of their representatives....372 Minister Farrakhan stressed the process of developing a process of building a holistic community. This would be the establishment of self-reliant economic institutions that survive from one generation to the next. These institutions (cooperative economic businesses) would provide the community with an internal safety net which would employ a network of self-employed semi-autonomous people. The political economy and education for self-reliance would be based on the theory that the African American community could not be totally economically independent as long as capitalism exists. But with a self-reliant culture that harnesses the economic resources of the community centered around central institutions, that community can flourish to the extent that the circulation of dollars turns over two or three times (supporting African American businesses) before leaving the community ($200 billion).
Once the recirculation of the dollar within the community is established according to the African American working class through the African American Leadership Summit, a collective investment plan can be instituted for community manufacture development ventures which would hire a number of people from the community. This "internal" self-sufficient political economy and Afro-centric education can be centered around the African American Christian churches, Islamic masjids, or local African American educational centers. To illustrate the potential, Minister Farrakhan took up a collection of $1 per person at the march to pay for the expenses of covering the march. The collection netted four million dollars.
Join an Organization Minister Farrakhan said:
So my beloved brothers, here's what we would like you to do. We must belong to some organization that is working for and in the interest of the uplift and the liberation of our people. We must become a totally organized people, and the only way we can do that is to become a part of some organization that is working for the uplift of our people. We must keep the Local Organizing Committees that made this event possible; we must keep them together. Go back and join the Local Organizing Committee. And then all of us as leaders must stay together and make the National African American Leadership Summit inclusive of all of us.373 Pledging Ourselves to the Struggle Reverend Jesse Jackson in his speech said, "When you go back home today let's go back with power in unity and coalition. We are against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, antiArabism, and black face politics. Black and white must find common ground."
Minister Farrakhan concluded his remarks by asking all participants to the march to commit to the Million Man March Pledge:
I pledge that from this day forward, I will strive to love my brother as I love myself. I, from this day forward, will strive to improve myself spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, politically, and economically for the benefit of myself, my family, and my people. I pledge that I will strive to build business, build houses, build hospitals, build factories, and enter into international trade for the good of myself, my family, and my people.
I pledge that from this day forward I will never raise my hand with a knife or a gun to beat, cut, or shoot any member of my family or any human being except in self-defense.
I pledge from this day forward I will never abuse my wife by striking her, disrespecting her, for she is the mother of my children and the producer of my future. I pledge from this day forward I will never engage in the abuse of children, little boys or little girls, for sexual gratification. For I will let them grow in peace and be strong men and women for the future of our people.
I will never again use the "B" word to describe any female. But particularly my own black sister. I pledge from this day forward that I will not poison my body with drugs or that which is destructive to my health and my wellbeing. I pledge from this day forward I will support black newspapers, black radio, black television. I will support black artists who clean up their acts to show respect for themselves and respect for their people and respect for the ears of the human family. I will do all of this so help me God.
The Million Man March was a new beginning. Long Live the spirit of the Million Man March! We will win!
1997 The Million Man March inspired women to organize their own March. Initiated by two Philadelphia women, Phile Chionseu, a small business owner and Asia Coney, a public housing activist, on October 25, 1997. An estimated one million African-American women participated in the March to listen to speeches by congresswoman Maxine Waters, rapper, Sister Souljah and Sister Winnie Mandela from South Africa. The march addressed issues such as domestic violence, inadequate access to quality health care, education and the need for unity.374