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(1995) Louis Farrakhan, “A Million Men Marching On"

Image Ownership: Public Domain

In 1995 Minister Louis Farrakhan was the leader of the Nation of Islam.  That year his organization became the driving force in the Million Man March, a call for African American men to come to Washington D.C. on October 17, 1995, in what was billed as “a day of atonement.”  Although estimates of the number who actually participated in the event range from 500,000 to one million, it was clearly the largest gathering of African American men in one location in the history of the United States.  Minister Farrakhan delivered the keynote address to those assembled which appears below.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN was the 16th President of these United States and he was the man who allegedly freed us.

Abraham Lincoln saw in his day, what President Clinton sees in this day. He saw the great divide between black and white. Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton see what the Kerner Commission saw 30 years ago when they said that this nation was moving toward two Americas-one black, one white, separate and unequal. And the Kerner Commission revisited their findings 25 years later and saw that America was worse today than it was in the time of Martin Luther King, Jr. There's still two Americas, one black, one white, separate and unequal.

Abraham Lincoln, when he saw this great divide, he pondered a solution of separation. Abraham Lincoln said he never was in favor of our being jurors or having equal status with the whites of this nation. Abraham Lincoln said that if there were to be a superior or inferior, he would rather the superior position be assigned to the white race. There, in the middle of this mall is the Washington Monument, 555 feet high. But if we put a one in front of that 555 feet, we get 1555, the year that our first fathers landed on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia, as slaves.

In the background is the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorial, each one of these monuments is 19 feet high.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president. Thomas Jefferson, the third president, and 16 and three make 19 again. What is so deep about this number 19? Why are we standing on the Capitol steps today? That number 19-when you have a nine you have a womb that is pregnant. And when you have a one standing by the nine, it means that there 's something secret that has to be unfolded.

Right here on this mall where we are standing, according to books written on  Washington, D.C., slaves used to be brought right here on this Mall in chains to be sold up and down the eastern seaboard. Right along this mall, going over to the White House, our fathers were sold into slavery. But, George Washington, the first president of the United States, said he feared that before too many years passed over his head, this slave would prove to become a most troublesome species of property.

Thomas Jefferson said he trembled for this country when he reflected that God was just and that his justice could not sleep forever. Well, the day that these presidents feared has now come to pass, for on this mall, here we stand in the capital of America. And the layout of this great city, laid out by a black man, Benjamin Banneker. This is all placed and based in a secret Masonic ritual. And at the core of the secret of that ritual is the black man. Not far from here is the White House.

And the first president of this land, George Washington, who was a grand master of the Masonic order, laid the foundation, the cornerstone of this capitol building where we stand. George was a slave owner. Now, the President spoke today and he wanted to heal the great divide. But I respectfully suggest to the President, you did not dig deep enough at the malady that divides black and white in order affect a solution to the problem.

And so, today, we have to deal with the root so that perhaps a healing can take place.

Now, this obelisk at the Washington Monument is Egyptian and this whole layout is reminiscent of our great historic past, Egypt. And if you look at the original Seal of the United States, published by the Department of State in 1909• Gaylord Hunt wrote that late in the afternoon of July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress resolved that Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Mr. John Adams, and Mr. Thomas Jefferson be a committee to prepare a device for a Seal of the United States of America.

In the design proposed by the first committee, the face of the Seal was a coat of arms measured in six quarters. That number is significant. Six quarters, with emblems representing England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Holland, the countries from which the new nation had been peopled. The eye of providence in a radiant triangle and the motto "E Pluribus Unum" were also proposed for the face of the Seal. Even [though] the country was populated by so-called Indians and black slaves were brought to build the country, the official Seal of the country was never designed to reflect our presence, only that of the European immigrants. The Seal and the Constitution reflect the thinking of the founding fathers that this was to be a nation by white people and for white people. Native Americans, blacks, and all other non-white people were to be the burden bearers for the real citizens of this nation.

For the back of the Seal the committee suggested a picture of Pharaoh sitting in an open chariot with a crown on his head and a sword in his hand, passing through the divided waters of the Red Sea, in pursuit of the Israelites. And, hovering over the sea was to be shown a pillar of fire in a cloud, expressive of the divine presence and command.  And raised from this pillar of fire were to be  shown, beaming down on Moses standing on the shore, extending his hand over the sea, causing it to overwhelm Pharaoh.

The motto for the reverse was, "Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God." Let me say it again. Rebellion is obedience to God. Now, why did they mention Pharaoh? I heard the President say today E Pluribus Unum-out of many, one. But in the past, "out of many comes one" meant out of many Europeans come one people. The question today is, out of the many Asians, the many Arabs, the many Native Americans, the many Blacks, the many people of color who populate this country: Do you mean for them to be made into the one?

If so, truth has to be spoken to justice. We can't cover things up. Cover them over. Give it a pretty sound to make people feel good. We have to go to the root of the problem. Now, why have you come today?

You came not at the call of Louis Farrakhan, but you have gathered here at the call of God. For it is only the call of Almighty God, no matter through whom that call came, that could generate this kind of outpouring. God called us here to this place. At this time. For a very specific reason.

And now I want to say, my brothers-this is a very pregnant moment. Pregnant with the possibility of tremendous change in our status in America and in the world. And although the call was made through me, many have tried to distance the beauty of this idea from the person through whom the idea and the call was made.

Some have done it mistakenly. And others have done it in a malicious and vicious manner. Brothers and sisters, there is no human being through whom God brings an idea that history doesn't marry the idea with that human being, no matter what defect was [in] that human being's character.

When you say, "Farrakhan, you ain't no Moses, you ain't no Jesus, and you're not no Muhammad. You have a defect in your character." Well, that certainly may be so, however, according to the way the Bible reads, there is no prophet of God written of in the Bible that did not have a defect in his character....

So today, whether you like it or not, God brought the idea through me and he didn't bring it through me because my heart was dark with hatred and anti-Semitism, he didn't bring it through me because my heart was dark and I'm filled with hatred for white people and for the human family of the planet. If my heart were that dark, how is the message so bright, the message so clear, the response so magnificent?

So we stand here today at this historic moment. We are standing in the place of those who couldn't make it here today. We are standing on the blood of our ancestors. We are standing on the blood of those who died in the middle passage, who died in the fields and swamps of America, who died hanging from trees in the South, who died in the cells of their jailers, who died on the highways and who died in the fratricidal conflict that rages within our community. We are standing on the sacrifice of the lives of those heroes, our great men and women that we today may accept the responsibility that life imposes upon each traveler who comes this way. We must accept the responsibility that God has put upon us, not only to be good husbands and fathers and builders of our common Unity, but God is now calling upon the despised and the rejected to become the cornerstone and the builders of a new world.

And so, our brief subject today is taken from the American Constitution. In these words, Toward a more union. Toward a more perfect union.

Now, when you use the word "more" with "perfect," that which is perfect is that which has been brought to completion. So when you use "more perfect," you're either saying that what you call perfect is perfect for that stage of its development but not yet complete. When Jefferson said, "toward a more perfect union," he was admitting that the union was not perfect, that it was not finished, that work had to be done. And so we are gathered here today not to bash somebody else.

We're not gathered here to say, all of the evils of this nation. But we are gathered here to collect ourselves for a responsibility that God is placing on our shoulders to move this nation toward a more perfect union. Now, when you look at the word "toward," it means in the direction of, in furtherance or partial fulfillment of, with the view to obtaining or having shortly before coming soon, eminent, going on in progress. Well, that's right. We're in progress toward a perfect union. Union means bringing elements or components into unity.

It is something formed by uniting two or more things. It is a number of persons, states, et cetera, which are joined or associated together for some common purpose. We're not here to tear down America. America is tearing itself down. We are here to rebuild the wasted cities. What we have in the word "toward" is motion. The honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that motion is the first law of the universe. This motion which takes us from one point to another shows that we are evolving and we are a part of a universe that is ever evolving.

We are on an evolutionary course that will bring us to perfect or completion of the process toward a perfect union with God. In the word "toward" there is a law and that law is everything that is created is in harmony with the law of evolution, change. Nothing is standing still.

It is either moving toward perfection or moving toward disintegration. Or under certain circumstances doing both things at the same time. The word for this evolutionary changing affecting stage after stage until we reach perfection, in Arabic it is called Rhab.And from the word "Rhab" you get the Rhaby, or teacher, one who nourishes a people from one stage and brings them to another stage. Well, if we are in motion, and we are, motion toward perfection, and we are, there can be no motion toward perfection without the Lord, who created the law of evolution.

And [the Lord] is the master of the changes. Our first motion then must be toward the God who created the law of the evolution of our being. And if Our motion toward him is right and proper, then our motion toward a perfect union with each other and government and with the peoples of the world will be perfected. So let us start with a process leading to that perfect union must first be seen. Now, brothers and sisters, the day of atonement is established by God to help us achieve a closer tie with the source of wisdom, knowledge, understanding and power.

We are a wounded people but we're being healed, but President Clinton, America is also wounded. And there's hostility now in the great divide between the people. Socially the fabric of America is being torn apart and it's black against black, black against white, white against white, white against black, yellow against brown, brown against yellow. We are being torn apart. And we can't gloss it over with nice speeches, my dear Mr. President.

Sir, with all due respect, that was a great speech you made today. And you praised the marchers and they're worthy of praise. You honored the marchers and they are worthy of honor. But of course, you spoke ill indirectly of me, as a purveyor of malice and hatred.

I must hasten to tell you, Mr. President, that I'm not a malicious person, and I'm not filled with malice. But, I must tell you that I come in the tradition of the doctor who has to point out, with truth, what's wrong. And the pain is that power has made America arrogant. Power and wealth has made America spiritually blind and the power and the arrogance of America makes you refuse to hear a child of your slaves pointing out the wrong in your society.

And so, the eighth stage is perfect union with god. And in the Koran, it reads: "Oh soul that is at rest, well pleased with thy lord and well pleasing." Oh, brothers, brothers, brothers, you don't know what it's like to be free. Freedom can't come from white folks. Freedom can't come from staying here and petitioning this great government. We're here to make a statement to the great government, but not to beg them. Freedom [can] come from no one but the God who can liberate the soul from the burden of sin. And this is why Jesus said "Come unto me," not some who are heavy laden, "but all that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ."

I want to wash in the river of Jordan and the river that you see and the sea that is before us and behind us and around us.

It's validation. That's the mainstream. You're out of touch with reality. A few of you in a few smoke-filled rooms, calling that the mainstream while the masses of the people, white and black, red, yellow, and brown, poor and vulnerable are suffering in this nation.

America. America, the beautiful. There's no country like this on the earth. And certainly if I lived in another country, I might never have had the opportunity to speak as I speak today. I probably would have been shot outright and so would my brother Jesse and so would ... Reverend AI Sampson and the wonderful people that are here.

But because this is America you allow me to speak even though you don't like what I may say. Because this is America, that provision in the constitution for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and freedom of religion, that IS your saving grace.

Because what you're under right now is grace. And grace is the expression of divine love and protection which God bestows freely on people.
~
And yet I point out the evils of black people like no other leader does, but my people don't call me anti-black, because they know I must love them in order to point out what's wrong so we can get it right to come back into the favor of God!

But, let me say in truth, you can't point out wrong with malice. You can't point out wrong with hatred. Because, if we point out wrong with bitterness and hatred, then the bitterness and the hatred becomes a barrier between you and the person whom you hope to get right, that they might come into the favor of God.

. .. The other is fratricidal conflict, drugs and dope and violence and crime. But we've had enough now. This is why you're in Washington today. We've had enough. We've had enough distress, enough affliction. We're ready to bow down now. If my people who are called by my name would just humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins, heal their land.

You are ready now to climb out of your furnace of affliction. You are ready now to accept the responsibility, oh, not just of the ghetto. God wants to purify you and lift you up, that you may call America and the world to repentance. Black man, you are a master builder, but you got hit in the head.

The Democratic Party has for its symbol a donkey. The donkey stands for the Unlearned masses of the people. But the Democratic Party can't call them asses no more. You got them all tied up, but you're not using. The donkey is tied up. But can you get off today? No, I can't get off, I'm tied up. Somebody on your donkey? Well, yeah. I got a master. He rides me like the Master rode Balaam's ass, you know. But, hail, the ass is now talking with a man's voice. And the ass wants to throw the rider off, because he got a new rider today.

If anybody ask you, tell them the Master has need. Look at you. Oh, I don't Know what the number is. It's too much for me to count. But I think they said It s a million and a half, or two. I don't know how many. But you know, I called for a million. ~en I saw the word go out my mouth, I looked at it. 1 said, Oh, my God! It Just came out of my mouth. 1 didn't know. And after it came out, 1 said, Well 1 got to go with it. And, I'm so glad 1 did. People told me you better change that figure to one more realistic. And 1 should have changed it to the Three Million Man March.

A woman, remember the nine, means somebody pregnant, with an idea. But in this case, its a woman pregnant with a male child destined to rule the nations with a rod of iron. God is standing over her womb, and this child will be like the day sun, and he will say, "I am the light of the world." Hands coming out of that sun, come unto me all ye that are heavy laden. I'm gonna give you rest, but I'm gonna give you life, because 1 am the resurrection and the life, and if you believe in me, though you are dead, yet shall you live again.

You're dead, black man. But if you believe in the God who created this sun of truth and of light with 19 rays, meaning he's pregnant with God's spirit, Gods life, Gods wisdom. Abraham Lincoln's statue, 19 feet high, 19 feet wide. Jefferson: 19 feet high, and the third president, 19. Standing on the steps of the Capitol, In the light of the sun. Offering life to a people who are dead.

I'm not telling you I'm a psychiatrist, but I do want to operate on your head. White supremacy IS the enemy of both white people and black people because the Idea of white supremacy means you should rule because you're White; that makes you Sick. And you've produced a sick society and a sick world. The founding fathers meant well, but they said, "toward a more perfect union." So the Bible says, we know in part, we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away with. So either, Mr. Clinton, we're going to do away with the mind-set of the founding fathers. You don't have to repudiate them like you've asked my brothers to do me. You don't have to say they were malicious, hate-filled people.. But you must evolve out of their mind-set. You see, their minds [were] limited to those six European nations out of which this country was founded.

But you've got Asians here. How are you going to handle that? You’ve got children of Africa here. How are you going to handle that?

You've got Arabs here. You've got Hispanics here. I know you call them illegal aliens, but hell, you took Texas from them by flooding Texas with people that got your mind. And now they're coming back across the border to what is northern Mexico, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. They don't see themselves as illegal aliens. 1 think they might see you as an illegal alien. You have to be careful how you talk to people. You have to be careful how you deal with people. The Native American is suffering today. He's suffering almost complete extinction. Now, he learned about bingo. You taught him. He learned about black jack. You taught him. He learned about playing roulette. You taught him. Now he's making a lot of money. You’re upset with him because he's adopted your ways. What makes you like this? See, you're like this because you're not well. You're not well. And in the light of today's global village, you can never harmonize with the Asians. You can't harmonize with the islands of the Pacific.

You can't harmonize with the dark people of the world who outnumber you II to one if you're going to stand in the mind of white supremacy. White supremacy has to die in order for humanity to live.

Now, oh, I know. I know. I know it's painful, but we have to operate now, just, just take a little of this morphine and you won't feel the pain as much. You just need to bite down on something, as I stop this last few minutes, just bite down on your finger. Listen, listen, listen, listen, white supremacy caused you all, not you all, some white folk, to try to rewrite history and write us out. White supremacy caused Napoleon to blow the nose off of the Sphinx because it reminded you too much of the Black man's majesty.

White supremacy caused you to take Jesus, a man with hair like lambs wool and feet like burnished brass and make him white. So that you could worship him because you could never see yourself honoring somebody black because of the state of your mind. You see, you, you really need help. You’ll be all right. You'll be all right. You will be all right. Now, now, now, you painted the Last Supper, everybody there white.

My mother asked the man that came to bring her the Bible. He said, "Look there, the pictures in the Bible. You see, Jesus and all his disciples are at the Last Supper" -my mother in her West Indian accent said, "You mean ain't nobody Black was at the Last Supper?"

And the man said, "Yes, but they was in the kitchen." So now you've whitened up everything.

Any great invention we made you put white on it; because you didn't want to admit that a Black person had that intelligence, that genius. You try to color everything to make it satisfactory to the sickness of our mind.

So you whitened up religion, Farrakhan didn't do that. You locked the Bible from us, Farrakhan didn't do that. Your sick mind wouldn't even let you bury us in the same ground that both of us came out of. We had to be buried somewhere else, that's sick. Some of us died just to drink water out of a fountain marked white. That's sick. Isn't it sick?

You poisoned religion. And in all the churches, until recently, the master was painted white. So you had us bowing down to your image. Which ill affected our minds. You gave us your version of history. And you whitened that up. Yes, you did. Yes, you did.

You are a white Shriner. The black Shriner don't integrate the shrine. Why don't you black Shriners integrate the shrine? Because in the shrine, you are the essence of the secret. They don't want you there. They'll have to tell the world, it's you we been thinking about all along. Now, white folks see the reason you could look at the 0.J. Simpson trial, in horror, and the reason black folk rejoiced had nothing to do with the horror of the tragedy. Black folk would never rejoice over the slaughter of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.

Black folk saw that with compassion. Many black folk grieve over that reality. You say, "O.J. sold out." No, he didn't sell out. He was drawn out.

Black folk that got talent, they all grow up in the "hood." When we first sing, we sing in these old raunchy night clubs in the hood.

When we play sandlot ball, we play it in the hood. But when you spot us, you draw us out. You say, "That Negro can run. Look at how high he jumps." So you give us a scholarship to your university. But the blacks who are in college, who play basketball for you, who play football for you, who run track for you, you disallow them to get involved with black students and the suffering of black students on all-white campuses. You hide them away. Give them privileges. Then they find themselves with your daughter.

Then you take them into the NBA, the NFL, and they become megastars. Or in the entertainment field, and when they become megastars, their association is no longer black. They may not have a black manager, a black agent, a black accountant. They meet in parties, in posh neighborhoods that black folk don't come into. So their association becomes white women, white men, and association breeds assimilation. And if you have a slave mentality, you feel you have arrived now, because you can jump over cars, running in airports, playing in films.

I'm not degrading my brother, I love him. But he was drawn out. He didn't sell out, he was drawn out. Michael Jackson is drawn out. Most of our top stars are drawn out. And then, when you get them, you imprison them with fear and distrust. You don't want them to speak out on the issues that are political, that are social. They must shut their mouths or you threaten to take away their fan1e, take away their fortune, because you're sick. And the president is not gonna point this out. He's trying to get well. But he's a physician that can't heal himself.

I'm almost finished. White supremacy has poisoned the bloodstream of religion, education, politics, jurisprudence, economics, social ethics and morality.

And there is no way that we can integrate into white supremacy and hold our dignity as human beings, because if we integrate into that, we become subservient to that. And to become subservient to that is to make the slave master comfortable with his slave. So, we got to come out of her, my people. Come out of a system and a world that is built on the wrong idea. An idea that never can create a perfect union with God.

The false idea of white supremacy prevents anyone from becoming one with God. White people have to come out of that idea, which has poisoned them into a false attitude of superiority based on the color of their skins. The doctrine of white supremacy disallows whites to grow to their full potential. It forces white people to see themselves as the law or above the law. And that's why [Mark] Fuhrman could say that he is like a god. See, he thinks like that, but that idea is pervasive in police departments across the country. And it's getting worse and not better, because white supremacy is not being challenged.

And I say to all of us who are leaders, all of us who are preachers, we must not shrink from the responsibility of pointing out wrong, so that we can be comfortable and keep white people comfortable in their alienation from God. And so, white folks are having heart attacks today because their world is coming down. And if you look at the Asians, the Asians have the fastest growing economies in the world. The Asians are not saying, bashing white people. You don't find the Asians saying the white man is this, the white man is that, the white man is the other.

He don't talk like that. You know what he does? He just relocates the top banks from Wall Street to Tokyo. He don't say, I'm better than the white man. He just starts building his world and building his economy and challenging white supremacy. I saw a young 14-year-old Chinese girl the other day play the violin.

Black man, you don't have to bash white people, all we gotta do is go back home and turn our communities into productive places. All we gotta do is go back home and make our communities a decent and safe place to live. And if we start dotting the black community with businesses, opening up factories, challenging ourselves to be better than we are, white folk, instead of driving by, using the "N" word, they'll say, look, look at them. Oh, my God. They're marvelous. They're wonderful. We can't, we can't say they're inferior anymore. But every time we drive-by shoot, every time we carjack, every time we use foul, filthy language, every time we produce culturally degenerate films and tapes, putting  a string in our women's backside and parading them before the world, every time we do things like this we are feeding the degenerate mind of white supremacy, and I want us to stop feeding that mind and let that mind die a natural death.

And so, to all the artists that are present, you wonderful gifted artists, remember that your gift comes from God. And David the Psalmist said, "Praise Him on the timbrel, praise Him on the lute, praise Him on the harp, praise Him in the sultry, praise in the song, praise him in the dance, let everything be a praise of God."

So, when you sing, you don't have to get naked to sing. Demonstrate your gift, not your breast. Demonstrate your gift, not what is between your legs. Clean up, black man, and the world will respect and honor you. But you have fallen down like the prodigal son, and you're husking corn and feeding swine.

Filthy jokes. We can't bring our children to the television.

We can't bring our families to the movies because the American people have an appetite like a swine. And you are feeding the swine with the filth of degenerate culture. We got to stop it.

We're not putting you down, brothers, we want to pick you up so, with your rap, you can pick up the world. With your song, you can pick up the world. With your dance, with your music, you can pick up the world.

And so America, if your conscience is afflicted because God is lashing you, don't just start with the constitution, Mr. President. Start with the evil of slavery because that's the root of the problem.

And you can't solve the problem, Mr. President, unless we expose the root. For when you expose the root to the light, then the root will die. The tree will die. And something new can come to birth. And so to the whites of this nation, except you be born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. But can I return back into my mother's womb for the second time? No. You can't do that. But this old mind of white supremacy has to die in order that a new mind might come to birth.

Go back, join the NAACP if you want to, join the Urban League, join the All African People's Revolutionary Party, join us, join the Nation of Islam, join PUSH, join the Congress of Racial Equality, join SCLC-the Southern Christian Leadership Conference-but we must become a totally organized people and the only way we can do that is to become a part of some organization that is working for the uplift of our people.

We must keep the local organizing committees that made this event possible, we must keep them together. And then all of us, as leaders, must stay together and make the National African American Leadership Summit inclusive of all of us.

[W]e must continue to reach out for those that have condemned this, and make them to see that this was not evil, it was not intended for evil, it intended for good. Now, brothers, moral and spiritual renewal is a necessity. Every one of you must go back home and join some church, synagogue or temple or mosque that is teaching spiritual and moral uplift. I want you, brothers there’s no men in the church, in the mosque.

The men are in the streets and we got to get back to the houses of God. But preachers, we have to revive religion in America.

We have to revive the houses of God that they're not personal thiefdoms of those of us who are their preachers and pastors. But we got to be more like Jesus, more like Muhammad, more like Moses and become servants of the people in fu1£lling their needs.

Brothers, when you go home, we've got to register eight million eligible but unregistered brothers, sisters. So you go home and find eight more like yourself. You register and get them to register. Should I register as Democrat? Should I register as a Republican? Should I register as independent?

If you're an independent, that's fine. If you're a Democrat, that's fine. If you're a Republican, that's OK. Because in local elections you have to do that which is in the best interest of your local community. But what we want is not necessarily a third party, but a third force.

We're no longer going to vote for somebody just because they're black. We tried that. We wish we could. But we got to vote for you, if you are compatible with our agenda.

And we want to show them that never again will they ever disrespect the black community. We must make them afraid to do evil to us and think they can get away with it.

Now atonement goes beyond us. I don't like this squabble with the members of the Jewish community. I don't like it. The honorable Elijah Muhammad said in one of his writings that he believed that we would work out some kind of an accord. Maybe so. Reverend Jackson has talked to the 12 presidents of Jewish organizations and perhaps in the light of what we see today, maybe it's time to sit down and talk. Not with any preconditions. You got pain. Well, we've got pain, too. You hurt. We hurt, too.  How many of you will adopt one black man in prison and make him your pal, your brother for life. Help him through the incarceration. Well, go to the chaplain of that Jail and say you want to adopt one inmate. Start writing to that person, visiting that person, helping that person. And since so many of us have been there already, we know what they suffer. Let's help our brothers and sisters who are locked down.

Is that agreeable, Black man? Now, brothers, 1 want you to take this pledge. When 1 say "I," 1 want you to say "I," and I'll say your name. 1 know that there's so many names, but 1 want you to shout your name out so that the ancestors can hear it.

Take this pledge with me. Say with me please, "I," say your name, "pledge that from this day forward I will strive to love my brother as I love myself 1," say your name, "from this day forward will strive to improve myself spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, politically, and economically for the benefit of myself, my family, and my people. I," say your name, "pledge that I will strive to build business, build houses, build hospitals, build factories, and then to enter international trade for the good of myself, my family, and my people. I," say your name, "pledge that from this day forward I will never raise my hand with a knife or a gun to beat, cut, or shoot any member of my family or any human being, except in self-defense."

"I," say your name, "pledge from this day forward 1 will never abuse my wife by striking her, disrespecting her, for she is the mother of my children and the producer of my future.  I," say your name, "pledge that from this day forward I will never engage in the abuse of children, little boys, or little girls for sexual gratification. But 1 will let them grow in peace to be strong men and women for the future of our people. I," say your name, "will never again use the 'B' word to describe my female, but particularly my own black sister."

"I," say your name, "pledge from this day forward that 1 will not poison my body with drugs or that which is destructive to my health and my well-being. I," say your name, "pledge from this day forward, I will support black newspapers, black radio, black television. I will support black artists, who clean up their acts to show respect for themselves and respect for their people, and respect for the ears of the human family."

Now, let us not be conformed to this world, but let us go home transformed by the renewing of our minds and let the idea of atonement ring throughout America.

That America may see that the slave has come up with power. The slave [has] been restored, delivered, and redeemed. And now call this nation to repentance. To acknowledge her wrongs. To confess, not in secret documents called classified, but to come before the world and the America  people as the Japanese prime minister did and confess her faults before the world because her sins have affected the whole world. And perhaps, she may do some act of atonement that you may forgive and those ill-affected may forgive, that reconciliation' and restoration may lead us to the perfect union with thee and with each other. We ask all of this in your Holy and Righteous Name, Allah akbar. Allah akbar. Allah akbar. That means God is great.

Turn to your brother and hug your brother and tell your brother you love him and let's carry this love all the way back to our cities and towns and never let it die, brothers. Never let it die.

 

Sources:

Josh Gottheimer ed., Ripples of Hope Great American Civil Rights Speeches (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2003).
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