The Million Man March: In-flight impressions on the way to D.C.
[alternate link to sound file: click here]
The flight from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., probably took about two and a half hours. During the flight, Eugene Redmond passed a handheld tape recorder around the plane. The audio file above is excerpted from those recordings.
A note, apparent in several of the photos below, was affixed to the tape recorder. It read:
"Brethren: Give Name! We're getting "impressions" during the flights to & from the March. Would you share your initial feelings? (one minute or less [drawing of a smiley face]). Thanks, E. B. Redmond, Documentation Project. Speak close to Mic."
Donald Suggs, publisher of the St. Louis American is seen here speaking into the tape recorder. He was seated next to St. Louis alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr. on the plane.
Suggs' and Bosley's "impressions" can be heard in the audio file above beginning at 1:53.
Suggs: "What we're about to do as a group of Black men is among one of the most important things we could do, which is to try to start, seize our destiny as a people."
This photograph shows Bosley sitting next to Suggs. Bosley is the father of Freeman Bosley, Jr., the first African American mayor of St. Louis.
Bosley: "When you have this many men going together, marching to the same drumbeat, going in the same direction, it can't help but add to the majestic magic of men being involved..."
Virvus Jones, former comptroller for the city of St. Louis, with Missouri state representative Charles Quincy Troupe. Troupe and Jones can be heard in the audio file above beginning at 4:27.
Troupe (holding tape recorder in the photo): "I guess the greatest thing about this Million man March is to be sitting next to Virvus Jones..."
Jones: "My pleasure of being on the Million Man March is to be here bonding with brothers I've known for the last thirty years..."
Rev. Samuel Bradford shares his thoughts beginning at 5:14 in the audio file above.
Bradford: "I feel that the religious leaders could have taken a more active role..."
While many prominent black church leaders endorsed the March, several influential black ministers opposed it. The March was led by Louis Farrakhan, an Islamic minister, and this proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for some Christian leaders for theological and political reasons (Nelson 252-255).
Jim Buford, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, sat next to Bradford. His impressions follow Bradford's comments in the audio file.
Buford: "I'm honored to be a part of this Day of Atonement..."
Henry Givens, Jr., president of Harris-Stowe State College.
Givens (beginning at 5:46 in the audio file): "Well I'm just excited about this opportunity to go to Washington and be amongst thousands and thousands of African American males who want to do the right thing."
Click here to see all of the photographs from the Redmond Collection related to the Million Man March.
Nelson, Jr., William E. "Black Church Politics and the Million Man March." Black Religious Leadership from the Slave Community to the Million Man March: Flames of Fire. Ed. Felton O. Best. Lewiston, N.Y.: The Edwin Mellen Press, c1998. 243-257.
A transcript of the audio file above can be found in the following reference:
Redmond, Eugene B., Sherman L. Fowler, and Marcus Atkins. Drumvoices Revue. 7 (1997-1998): Visible Glory: The Million Man March. 44-47. Online access is unrestricted.