Long live the Spirit of the Million Man March! Long life, good health and continued success to Louis Farrakhan, who led those of us who participated in it to an astronomical achievement Oct. 16, 1995, that day 17 years ago.
Now, I wish I could help people who don't know and admire him, get to know the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, like I know him.
First and foremost, he is not an anti-Semite. He is not a race hater. He does not teach race hatred. He does not teach hatred of Jewish people.
But he is a fearless and uncompromising champion for the upliftment of Black people. Such rigidity as his can easily earn enemies in this world. Just look at the hatred being shown to President Barack Obama, who is a Black man, who is a champion of accommodating, compromising leadership, not just for Black people, but for all Americans – the kind of leadership and strength that is required of anyone who would be a political leader in this country. Louis Farrakhan is not that kind of leader.
Second, his name: his friends and admirers refer to him as "The Honorable Minister." Why shouldn't Louis Farrakhan wear the title "honorable?"
When he was among us, Mr. Elijah Muhammad wore the title, "honorable." Minister Malcolm X first started referring to Mr. Muhammad as "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad," and it was as appropriate for him as it is for us to introduce a member of a city council, or a justice of the peace, or any elected official as "the honorable so-and-so." Minister Farrakhan is certainly just as deserving of that same sobriquet.
Mr. Muhammad designated Brother Farrakhan as his minister and "National Spokesman," and those are the only titles he has claimed as he has restored the work of, and international respect once again for the Nation of Islam, both as a force for good, raising Black people from their lowly status as "the stone that the builders rejected" to becoming "the headstone of the corner."
Because of their enmity for Minister Farrakhan, White people try to heap contempt on him even in the way they say his name – Fair-a-can – and in the way they bastardize his title, sometimes calling him "Reverend Fair-a-can." And while the title reverend an honorific title, bestowed on a member of the clergy who is to be "revered," or who is "worthy of reverence," Louis Farrakhan is not a member of the clergy, he is a "minister" in the Nation of Islam, as in a "high office of state entrusted with management ..."
I have seen Louis Farrakhan in most every imaginable circumstance: at the table of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, even serenading Mr. Muhammad with a concert on his violin. I watched him rebuild the Nation of Islam, literally brick-by-brick beginning in 1978, three years after Mr. Muhammad departed from among us. During his early ministry, he came to Washington and spoke every Wednesday for six months at the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, to help establish the roots in the District of Columbia.
I saw Louis Farrakhan organize and lead to a deliriously successful conclusion, the Million Man March [MMM]. He crisscrossed the country, speaking to men-only audiences for months before the march, calling the men to unite, join organizations to do good in our communities, and to take responsibility for ourselves and for the destiny of our people. The men did just that and the March was successful, and it continues to bear fruit among our people. Long Live The Spirit of the Million Man March.
I was blessed to travel with the Minister as a reporter, literally around the world on three Friendship Tours after the MMM. Tours, which took us to dozens of countries on six continents –Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America – as well as to the Caribbean and some of the Pacific Islands. He was greeted like a Head of State and received with honors and pomp and circumstance by none other than South African Nelson Mandela and by Cuban Fidel Castro, among others.
I have seen him in good health and under medical affliction, and now, looking at him seven months from his 80th birthday, I have to agree with an observer, he looks like he's no more than 55 years old.
And today, without external fanfare he has mobilized the men of the Nation beginning two months ago to go into the streets to redeem our lost people, to increase the peace and to stop the violence among Black people in "da hood."
All the people who agree with me about the qualities the Minister demonstrates, will also agree that he is a man for all time.