We will see fruit produced from march

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I could not believe my eyes. As I looked out over the Washington National Mall, there was a sea of humanity stretching as far as the eye could see. The crowd was later estimated at 750,000.

On Oct. 10, 2015, I participated in the Justice Or Else Million Man March in Washington, D.C.

It was the 20th Anniversary of the original Million Man March. Faya Rose and I were scheduled to speak about renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge to the Amelia Boynton Robinson Bridge.

We were just two of many speakers. We had not expected a big crowd. But the crowd was really huge.

There was no noticeable coverage by mainline media before the march. I did not see anything on the television networks. I did not read anything in the major newspapers. I did not hear anything on the radio networks.

Yet, there were three quarters of a million people creating a sea of humanity on the Washington National Mall.

There was no buzz before the march. I did not hear much discussion about the Justice Or Else Million Man March. There was no scramble to charter buses. There was no gathering of resources to secure vans. There were no arrangements for carpooling. There was no buzz that forewarns us that a huge crowd is in the making.

Yet, there were 750,000 human beings on the National Mall.

There was no chorus of national leaders calling the populace to participate in the Justice Or Else Million Man March. There were no supplementary calls from local leaders. In fact, the only national leader making the call was Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.

I participated in the original Million Man March 20 years ago with my family. As I recall, there were no women speakers. There were no Native American speakers. There were no Hispanic American speakers. There were no youth speakers. All the speakers were African American men.

But this time there were a variety of speakers: Native American; Hispanic American; White American; African American; youth; women; men; and various nationalities.

Plenty of leaders were present but the well-known African American leaders were conspicuously absent.

I do not recall any music at the Million Man March 20 years ago. But the moment was truly electric. This time there were choirs and drums and other makers of music. There were even African dancers and Native American dancers.

As far as I could tell, there were no major media at the Justice Or Else Million Man 20th Anniversary March.

There were no NBCs, no CBSs, no ABCs, no CNNs, no FOXs, no BETs. (C-SPAN and TV One were there.)

There were no visible print reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times or USA Today. Three quarters of a million people without any major media present.

There was clearly a media blackout. Even the local Washington media was conspicuously absent.

There was a blackout coming up to the Justice Or Else Million Man March. There was a blackout during the Justice Or Else Million Man March. There was a blackout after the Justice or Else Million Man March.

Seven hundred fifty thousand human beings gathered in the nation’s Capital and there is an almost complete media blackout. I could not believe my eyes, my ears, my senses.

After the Million Man March 20 years ago, I wrote a Sketches with the refrain, “It’s not who called, but who answered.”

I emphasized the million men who came rather than who called us to come. This time I have to place the emphasis on who called.

Who else could have called and 750,000 human beings answered with their physical presence? I don’t know of anyone or any group who could do that even with the full support of the mass media.

The Justice Or Else Million Man March was accomplished without the mass media, without the assistance of most other leaders and in spite of a media blackout.

The blackout did blackout the media coverage but it could not blackout the call. Minister Louis Farrakhan called and three quarters of a million answered. I could not believe my eyes.

I do not know what will come from this huge gathering of humanity. The program was more than seven hours.

Consistent with the theme, Justice Or Else, many speakers demanded justice in a variety of arenas. The “Else” was largely left to God.

We will see what fruit is produced but the call was truly powerful because so many answered. I could not believe my eyes and ears. I could not believe my senses.

EPILOGUE – There is power in a call. There is great power in a great call. We know the power of the call by the number and spirit of those who answer the call.