Minister Louis Farrakhan made a public appearance on Tuesday night (October 16) in Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Million Man March and the Holy Day of Atonement, where he urged black Americans to separate themselves from mainstream culture to establish and support their own community.
According to the Associated Press, Farrakhan stood onstage at the Atlanta Civic Center to an audience of nearly 5,000, where he said that his people should begin to act like free men and women.
“We have to come out of the thinking of a slave and come into the thinking and acting of free men and women,” Farrakhan said. “We cannot depend on others for what the horrible condition of our people demands now that we do for ourselves.”
The appearance comes nearly eight months after delivering a speech in Detroit where he addressed the importance of interfaith dialogue, which many believed would be his farewell speech.
The 74-year-old head of the Nation of Islam (NOI) ceded leadership duties last year because of illness after nearly three decades. The AP reports that he had surgery for prostate cancer in January.
His Tuesday night address commemorated the 12th anniversary of the Million Man March, which was originally held on October 16, 1995 in Washington.
According to the news provider, his speech lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours, where he touched on issues that included the disparities blacks face in areas such as education, health care, voting and incarceration, the Jena Six case in Louisiana, last weekend’s arrest of Atlanta rapper T.I. on federal weapons charges, the war in Iraq and the Michael Vick federal dog fighting case.
Farrakhan went on to address blacks’ false impression of success, which he said makes you forget their struggle.
“A life of ease sometimes makes you forget the struggle,” he warned. “It’s becoming a plantation again, but you can’t fight that because you want to keep your little job.”
The address by wrapped up four days of activities, including a Walk-For-Life sponsored by the Louis Farrakhan Prostate Cancer Foundation, as well as meetings with religious, political and business leaders of the Atlanta metropolitan area.
It was also broadcast live via satellite in over 120 cities throughout America and locations worldwide.