Speak up Two marches: Getting past the rhetoric to the message from young African Americans.

September 04, 1998

MEMORIES of the acrimony that preceded the Million Man March of 1995 have blurred. Fears raised by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's plans for that mass rally are not recalled as vividly as stories of the harmonious event that took place.

Years hence, will that also be the case with the Million Youth March to be held this weekend in Harlem? One can only hope.

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani tried to withhold a parade permit for the march, organized by former Nation of Islam henchman Khalid Abdul Muhammad, whose anti-Semitic rhetoric was deplored even by Mr. Farrakhan. But a federal judge ruled Mr. Muhammad has a First Amendment right to a march permit.

Also this weekend, a Million Youth Movement rally is scheduled in Atlanta. Sponsored by the National Coalition of Black Voter Participation, the NAACP, the Rainbow/Push Coalition and the Nation of Islam, it should be the antithesis of the "hate" march expected in Harlem.

It would be sad in either city to see young people, who want to speak out on social ills, being exploited by power-seekers trying to draw a crowd.

Pub Date: 9/04/98

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