Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Minister Louis Farrakhan told a crowd of 200 people that the Nation of Islam will team up with 100 Black Men, an influential national Black male organization, and reinvigorate local organizing committees (LOC) nationwide to move their agenda forward. The minister revealed his detailed plans on Oct. 11 at the Marriott Marquis in Northwest D.C., one day after the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March on Oct. 10.
“I didn’t create the march that happened yesterday, it was God,” Farrakhan said. “It was a peaceful event and there was no drinking, no smoking. It was a glimpse of heaven.”
Farrakhan brushed aside comments that the success of the 1995 Million Man March and the Oct. 10 march designates him as the No. 1 Black leader in America.
“I am not the great leader,” he said, referring to God. “I am the servant of the great leader.”
Farrakhan said that his organization, along with 100 Black Men and the other committees will work to develop nine ministries in the Black community to help improve people’s lives. Those major ministries are in the fields of education, justice, health and human services, agriculture, science and technology, trade and commerce, and arts and culture.
Another ministry will focus on the spiritual development of people of color that will be led by ministers called by their deities. Farrakhan talked specifics in his plan, such as the need for Blacks to buy more real estate and take control of the education system in their communities.
“You cannot have economic development without ownership of land,” he said. “We should develop a curriculum that we control. Black people are the only race on the face of the earth that is educated by others.”
Regarding politics, Farrakhan said that Blacks should be very selective whom they vote for in next year’s presidential election. “If they aren’t talking about justice, you should hold your vote,” he said. “You should not register as a Democrat. You should not register as a Republican, but as an independent.”
Farrakhan said that Blacks should leverage their votes for concrete resources and policies that will benefit the race. “As we get stronger, we should form our own political party,” he said.
Farrakhan said that in the past, membership in local organizing committees were mainly members of the Nation of Islam but that won’t be the case going forward. “We need to grow beyond our group,” he said. “The LOCs should be strengthened with people who have skills in organizing. Those of you skilled in organizing need to teach it and show us how to do it.”
Thomas Dortch, chairman emeritus of 100 Black Men, said the organization is happy to work with the Nation of Islam and the committees. “Name me one other person who can send out a call and have 100,000 or one million respond,” Dortch said.
Dortch said his organization will recruit 10,000 men and 10,000 women to work on improving the Black community, just what Farrakhan called for in his speech on Oct. 10.
One of the criticisms leveled by some Black leaders against the 1995 Million Man March was that there was no legislative program to present to the federal government or the individual states. Both Farrakhan and Dortch said that the 1995 march was about Black men atoning for their sins and talking responsibility for their families and communities. Following the 1995 march, Farrakhan called for an independent black political movement and a separate, self-sustaining black economy as well as demanded the U.S. government pay reparations to descendants of slaves.
In moving forward with action this go around, Farrakhan gave a free copy of the The National Agenda: Public Policy Issues, Analyses, and Programming Plan of Action for 2000- 2008 to attendees at the post-March meeting at the Marriott Marquis in Northwest D.C. on Oct. 11. “You have the power to bring about the change you desire,” he told the audience members.