Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan on Oct. 10 told a crowd of approximately 1 million people to become more active in solving their own problems instead of relying on others.
Farrakhan was the keynote speaker at the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The march’s theme “Justice or Else,” was designed to let rally participants and the American people know the mistreatment of Blacks needs to come to an end.
“We have to clean up our own community,” Farrakhan told the throngs of men, women and children on the mall through bullet-proof glass. “We as a people have to stop killing each other in the inner city and stop police killings. We want to train 10,000 men to stand up for Black people and fight the rogue cops and wicked Black people.”
Farrakhan said Black people need to overtake the public education system that exists in their communities, saying that each system teaches African American children a doctrine of White supremacy. He also called for a ministry of defense and a ministry of justice in local Black communities.
“We can solve our problems,” the minister said.
During his two-and-a-half-hour speech, Farrakhan offered his recommendations for how Blacks should deal with the issues that are facing the country now. He advised Black women to avoid aborting their unborn children.
“You should bring your child to term,” he said. “Now women, it’s your body and you can do what you please, but the child you may be aborting may be the next Sitting Bull, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Abraham, Moses or Jesus. If you are wise, you should keep the child, and it may be the answer to your prayers.”
The issue was a personal one: Farrakhan said his mother tried to abort him three times but failed.
“After the third time she said, ‘Let it be,’” he said.
The Minister advised women to respect themselves and refrain from calling each other a “b—h,” and told men to honor and respect the fairer sex.
“Any man trafficking girls, I say, you are worthy of death itself,” he said.
Farrakhan warned Blacks that sometimes they are too tolerant of evil against them, saying that Whites who kill Blacks don’t necessarily need forgiveness.
“Find me a Jew that forgives Hitler,” he said to thunderous applause.
Farrakhan was the last speaker at the rally. He was preceded by orators such as Benjamin Crump, president of the National Bar Association; former D.C. first lady Cora Masters Barry and her stepson, Christopher Barry who talked about her husband, the late Marion S. Barry. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) welcomed the multitudes to the District and noted that the city doesn’t have voting representation in the U.S. Congress.
D.C. Council member Vincent Orange (D-At Large), in a 20-minute speech to the crowd, also talked about the District’s quest for statehood.
“Nearly 700,000 citizens here in the nation’s capital have no voting representation in the House or the Senate,” Orange said. “However, we pay $3 billion in federal taxes every year and 2,000 District residents have lost their lives fighting this country’s wars. We have a campaign, ‘Statehood or Else!’ where we will go to the Republican and Democratic conventions and demand D.C. statehood.”
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) was the only member of the U.S. Congress to address the gathering. Davis co-sponsored a congressional resolution allowing the march to take place on the mall.
“I commend Minister Farrakhan for his message of equal rights for all and equal justice for all,” he said.
The anniversary included speakers from Native American and Latino communities, who spoke about how White supremacy had oppressed their peoples and how they join Farrakhan in his fight for equal justice for all citizens.
There were a number of celebrities in the crowd, including hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons, “Empire” star Bryshere Gray, hip-hop artist J. Cole and television and radio personality Donnie Simpson.
Farrakhan announced a post-march event at the J.W. Marriott Hotel on Oct. 11 to outline the next steps.
“My brothers and sisters, this is not a march but a movement,” the minister said.