The Million Man March, October 16, 1995
[alternate link to sound file: click here]
It was a sunny day in Washington for the Million Man March. The chilly autumn morning warmed to 62 degrees by the afternoon. A multitude of black men flooded the National Mall in what Louis Farrakhan described as a "sea of peace" ('We Must Accept').
While many marchers would later assert that the crowd exceeded the goal of 1,000,000 attendees, government and media estimates put the number at 400,000-870,000 (Janofsky). Some participants interpreted the lower figures as outsider attempts to undermine the March.
The impressiveness of the gathering remains, however, indisputable. As Michael Eric Dyson put it: "I don't care about conflicting estimates of the crowd size; I was there and I have no doubt it was more than a million men, but is the event any less potent if there were only 800,000?" (Dyson).
Eugene Redmond tape recorded many of the day's speeches as part of his documentation project. The climax of the gathering was Louis Farrakhan's address. The audio file above is excerpted from Redmond's recordings of Farrakhan's speech.
Marchers find seats on the buildings and monuments in the National Mall.
A sign lists enemies of the African race, including the Brookings Institute, the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and Microsoft Corporation, among others. It proposes that the Million Man March could be the beginning of an African world revolution against white control.
African-style drummers perform among the marchers.
"When asked to contribute $1 each, one million Black men reached into their pockets and waved dollar bills" (Cottman 32). The men passed the bills one to the next toward the front.
The flat rectangular structure mounted above the crowd is a video monitor, one of several evenly spaced in a line through the venue transmitting the activities and speeches from the main platform.
A young man with a video camera climbs a tree to get a better view.
(Continued on next page)
Cottman, Michael H. Million Man March. New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1995.
Dyson, Michael Eric. "A Look at... The Legacy of the Million Man March; Black Men Triumphed; A Year Later, It's Only Farrakhan Who Has Failed." Washington Post, October 13, 1996. Online access is restricted to SIUE users.
Janofsky, Michael. "Federal Parks Chief Calls 'Million Man' Count Low." New York Times, October 21, 1995. Online access is restricted to SIUE users.
"'We Must Accept the Responsibility That God Has Put Upon Us.'" Washington Post, October 17, 1995. Online access is restricted to SIUE users.
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. 97-98. Online access is unrestricted.