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The Million Man March: 20 Year Anniversary (2015)

On October 16, 1995, African-American men from across the United States convened on the mall in Washington, DC to show solidarity and promote black self-help and self-defense against economic and social ills plaguing the African-American community.

Organized by Minister Louis Farrakhan, the inter-faith coalition was coordinated by former NAACP executive director Benjamin Chavis and endorsed of attended by every major African-American leader, with the exception of U.S. House Representative John Lewis.

While the all-male focus was criticized by feminist leaders from outside the community, the March was supported and featured appearances by the mother of the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X's widow Dr. Betty Shabazz, the iconic Maya Angelou.

African-American female leaders,in coordination with the March leadership, also organized a national Day of Absence for black Americans unable to go to Washington.

The rallying cry of the March was the need for African-American men to cast off the negative racial stereotypes perpetuated by Hollywood and mainstream media by becoming self-reliant and refocusing on faith and family as time-tested paths to prosperity.

The massive rally of an estimated 837,000 black men, was a spectacular display of non-violent unity and inspired others to organize similar “Million”-themed marches for various issues.