Million Man March sent strong messagesNever before in the...

LETTERS

October 21, 1995

Million Man March sent strong messages

Never before in the history of America have we witnessed so large a number of African-American males gathered together in a single, positive arena and covered by the national communications media.

We typically see in the media the depiction of African-American males engaged only in negative activity. They are shown hand-cuffed, behind prison bars or dead as sheet-covered or chalk-outlined forms on the ground.

However, history was made on Oct 16. Not only were marchers depicted in a positive, non-violent forum, they were united from all geographic areas of the country, and from eclectic socio-economic backgrounds.

Despite the personal, political and social views of the principal organizers of the event, a much more important message was portrayed. It was a message of unity, ethnic pride and a positive re-commitment to the crusade of African-American issues. Kudos.

Betty B. Cotton

Baltimore

If Louis Farrakhan calls Jews and certain other groups "blood suckers," I wonder what he calls his Million Man March co-organizer, Benjamin Chavis, who misused the funds of his own people.

Jerry Caldwell Jr.

Baltimore

Many have tried to focus on the implied approval of all of Louis Farrakhan's policies by the participants in the Million Man March. They are unable to separate the message from the messenger. Yet the vast majority of the participants likely do not embrace all of Mr. Farrakhan's politics. They do jointly embrace at least one ,, ideal -- the important message that black men need to awaken themselves and the nation to their plight, but then to do something constructive about it.

Black men who chose to attend do not automatically embrace every prejudice and hatred of Mr. Farrakhan. Most were able to support this particular important event because the message is so critical. Were the rest of us to only vote for a political candidates because we agreed with every single bit of rhetoric ever uttered by the candidate of their party, our democratic process would collapse due to lack of participation.

Alvan Beal III

Columbia

It's been so long since African Americans have felt a sense of unity. We are locked in a time where the plight of black men has had such a detrimental effect on them in the society that they believe there is no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel. Drug addiction, incarceration, drug selling, genocide, etc. Not to mention the fact that they feel that they are treated as second-class citizens because of the color of their skin.

African Americans are grasping at straws when it comes to coping with today's society. They are faced with many adversities and feel that their voice is not one that is heard. If this march served for nothing else, it served as a voice for African Americans.

Don't look at it as Louis Farrakhan's march. Look at it as a million men wanting to strengthen their spirit and having and an urgency to be heard.

Karen Evette Miller

Baltimore

Forget the politics, the religious and the divisionist rhetoric. The impact of the Million Man March will not be on groups of people, but on individuals. Perhaps the most important message sent from the podium came after all the speeches were over. A simple announcement was made: a list of individuals who had become separated from their groups and where to reunite with them.

F. C. Ottenheimer

Baltimore

Just a short time ago, a man rose up from the masses to lead his ''nation.'' He organized rallies and led marches. He preached strength, self confidence, self reliance and pride. Mixed in with the messages were hate-filled words directed toward others. At first, followers ignored the hate. They felt good about themselves -- empowered and proud. But soon they began to believe in the whole message and hate filled the ''nation." As a result, millions were slaughtered. People who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

M. Langbaum

Baltimore

I was very disappointed to hear that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke participated in the Million Man March, which was organized by the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. I wonder how Mr. Schmoke would feel if Gov. Parris N. Glendening were to participate in a march organized by a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Carol Stone

Owings Mills

Your reporting on the Million Man March was inaccurate and misleading. You put the National Parks Service police estimate of 400,000 people in your headline. There may have been 400,000 listening to speeches in front of the Capitol at any one time, but that ignores the fact that there were arrivals and departures all day long.

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