Millions More March

Millions More March

Date Observed: October 14, 2005
Location: Washington, D.C.

The Millions More March was held on October 14, 2005, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March. Both rallies called for African Americans' increased individual responsibility and community involvement.

Historical Background

Many African-American communities have been plagued with social problems, such as poverty, crime, violence, drug use, lack of education, and unemployment. Louis Farrakhan, minister and leader of the Nation of Islam, believed that a positive step would be to mobilize African-American men to take action against these widespread problems. In 1995 he decided to plan the Million Man March, hoping to gather one million black men in Washington, D.C., for a national day of atonement and reconciliation for AfricanAmerican men. Benjamin Chavis Jr., former chairman of the NAACP, served as the march organizer. The event drew the support of prominent African-American leaders, such as Rosa Parks, Rev. Jesse Jackson, African-American governmental leaders and ministers across the country, and several black members of Congress.

This historic event called for African-American men to take a public pledge to better themselves and to work for the betterment of all African Americans. This rally was one of the largest gatherings of African-American men ever organized, and it made news headlines around the country as well as internationally. Women were excluded from participating in the event, but were instead asked to observe a "day of absence" - by not going to work and not shopping or spending any money on that day. This was done as a show of support for the men who were participating in the rally, and also as a demonstration of the economic power of African Americans.

It is unclear exactly how many African-American men gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1995. Estimates range from 400,000 to two million. Men came from all over the country, some arriving the night before to sleep on the ground or stay awake all night in anticipation of the next day's march. The event resembled a rally more than an actual march, with numerous speakers calling for AfricanAmerican men to take responsibility for themselves, their families, and their lives. Attendees were urged to fight against rampant poverty, violence, substance abuse, and unemployment.

Many march attendees returned home determined to make lasting changes in their lives and to become more involved in their communities. March organizers claim credit for the more than one million African-American men who registered to vote afterwards, and also for the thousands of applications that were submitted to adopt AfricanAmerican children in the weeks following the march.

Creation of the Observance

In the late 20th century and early 21st century, similar marches followed in the wake of the Million Man March. On October 16, 2000, the Million Family March was held to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Million Man March. This rally focused attention on public policy issues that impact the quality of life for everyone, not just African Americans. The success of the Million Man March and the Million Family March resulted in Farrakhan's creation of the Millions More Movement in early 2005. This movement encouraged the development of African-American community-based service organizations to continue the work outlined at the two previous marches. Plans also began at that time for the Millions More March.

In addition, other unrelated groups organized their own rallies using Farrakhan's event as a model. The Million Women March was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 26, 1997, bringing together more than 300,000 African-American women to address social issues. In the Harlem neighborhood of New York, the Million Youth March to empower young African Americans was held on September 5, 1998. The first Million Mom March was organized on May 14, 2000, in Washington, D.C., to protest gun violence and call for stricter gun laws. On October 17, 2004, the Million Worker March took place in Washington, D.C., to draw attention to issues faced by workers around the world.

Observance

The 10th anniversary of the Million Man March was observed with the Millions More March. This rally took place in Washington, D.C., during the weekend of October 14, 2005. The Millions More March was intended to give African Americans an opportunity to focus once again on pressing social issues. Particular attention was given to unity within the African-American community, spiritual values, education, economic development, political power, reparations for slavery, eradication of improper law enforcement tactics, health concerns, artistic and cultural development, and peace. The Millions More March was a much more inclusive event, welcoming interested men, women, and children of all races and ethnicities.

Contact and Web Site

Million Man March 1995, Inc. 7351 S. Stony Island Ave. Chicago, IL 60649 773-324-6000

Further Reading

Barr, Cameron W. "DC Rally a Tribute to the Passion of a Million." Washington Post, October 16, 2005. . "Black Men Converge on Washington for Rally." USA Today, updated February 16, 1996. http://www .usatoday.com/news/index/nman010.htm Farrakhan, Louis. "An appeal to all those who would be a part of the Millions More Movement," undated. Fields, Gary, and Maria Puente. "A Movement or Just a Moment?" USA Today, updated October 10, 1996. Lehman, Jeffrey, ed. The African American Almanac. 9th ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Lewis, Monica. "10 Years after Million Man March, Conveners Announce the Millions More Movement." BlackAmericaWeb.com, May 2, 2005. web.com/site.aspx/bawnews/march503. Mamiya, Lawrence H. "Farrakhan, Louis Abdul." In The African-American Experience: Selections from the Five-Volume Macmillan Encyclopedia of African-American Cul- ture and History , edited by Jack Salzman. New York: Macmillan, 1998. Pierre, Robert E., and Hamil R. Harris. "A Decade Later, Marchers Look for More." Wash- ington Post , October 16, 2005. . Smith, Jessie Carney. Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events . 2nd ed., revised and expanded. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, 2003.
African-American Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations, 1st ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2007