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The Holy Day of Atonement: Million Man March (October 16, 1995)

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Twenty-five years ago, on October 16, 1995, the largest ever documented gathering of Black men in America occurred in Washington, D.C.

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Called by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, The Holy Day of Atonement, also known as the Million Man March, was held on and around the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1995. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., founder of the National African American Leadership Summit (NAALS), a coalition of leading civil rights activists, served as National Director of the Million Man March. NAALS worked with the Nation of Islam, as well as with state and local chapters of the National Association for the Advanced of Colored People (NAACP), and dozens of other civil rights organizations, the form the Million Man March Organizing Committee.

Well over one million Black men, from each of the 50 American states, converged on Washington, D.C., the answer the call to "convey to the world a vastly different picture of the Black male" and to unite in self-help and self-defense against economic and social ills plaguing the Black community in America.

On the same day, Black women around the nation participated in a Day of Absence where millions of women showed solidarity on that day by staying home from their usual school, work, and social engagements, in favor of attending teach-ins, and worship services, focusing on the struggle for a healthy and self-sufficient black community.

The speakers that preceded the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan included: Mayor Marion & Cora Barry, James Bevel, Hartford Brookins, Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., Congressman John Conyers Jr., Dick Gregory, Dorothy Height, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Maulana N. Karenga, Bob Law, Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti, Congressman Kweisi Mfume, Dr. Leonard Muhammad, Babacar Ndiaye, Rosa Parks, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Congressman Gus Savage, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Dr. Betty Shabazz, Rev. Al Sharpton Jr., Archbishop George Stallings, Mark Thompson, Stevie Wonder, and Conrad Worrill.

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