This was a historic day for the African-American community. It was a day filled with excitement, determination, joy and deep emotions. Many thought that a new movement was born; sadly, it only turned out to be a small moment in time.
Monday, October 16, 1995 was the day of the historic Million Man March created by the Nation of Islam and Minister Louis Farrakhan. The event was held on the grounds of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This site was chosen because it was also the site of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.
The goal of the march was to call forth dedicated, sober, inspired and committed black men to march on Washington for a day of atonement. Many distinguished speakers used the phrase in their speeches and afterward the march was often referred to as the “Day of Atonement.”
The message of the march focused on being a responsible father and living a clean life. It did not address the social and economic issues that faced the African-American community. This is where most people believed the march failed and ended up just a moment in history rather than a movement.
The Million Man March was a day of inspiration and hope. However, the day quickly faded away in history. The march may have inspired many African-American men to become responsible fathers, but it did not provide the means for men to change their economic or social status.
The Day of Atonement is now a part of African-American history as a day of inspiration. That day has had little affect on the economic, educational and social challenges that continue to plague the African-American today. Little has changed since that day and African-American fathers continue to be absent from their children’s lives. The Million Man March was an inspirational moment in time.