Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nation of Islam leaders in Tampa for 15th anniversary of Million Man March

TAMPA — Leaders of the Nation of Islam are in Tampa to mark the 15th anniversary of the Million Man March.

Minister Louis Farrakhan, organizer of that march, is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Tampa Convention Center's east hall, which holds up to 8,000 people.

Farrakhan, 77, known as a fiery orator, has been a polarizing leader, alienating many with statements considered racist toward whites and Jews.

His assistant, Minister Ishmael Muhammad, spoke about Farrakhan's message Thursday from the grounds of the Westchase Golf Club during a private fundraiser there.

Muhammad said Farrakhan has "never ever said anything to offend other faiths, and particularly the Jewish religion."

Farrakhan's message offers not only solutions but a scripture-based perspective on what's happening in today's society, Muhammad said. He encourages the black community to accept responsibility for bringing about the change it desires.

Nation of Islam leaders have had ties with Scientology recently, but Muhammad would not say if they were meeting with Scientologists in this area.

"We are studying the Dianetics as a technology that can help members of our community," he said.

After the Million Man March in 1995, Farrakhan established Oct. 16 as a holy day of atonement and chose Tampa for this year's gathering. Past events have been held in Chicago, Atlanta and, last year, Memphis.

Farrakhan led the Million Man March on Washington, D.C., to elevate the image of black men.

On that Monday 15 years ago, Louis Muhammad of Brandon remembers arriving at 4:30 a.m. at the National Mall with a group of friends. In the dark, men began to pray. First a Muslim led, then a Christian, then a Jew, he said.

"There was just this buzz," said Louis Muhammad, 52. "When the sun came up, we were all amazed. There was a sea of men as far as the eyes could see."

After the march, men went home and adopted children, joined churches and registered to vote, he said. But there is still work to be done. He cites low black male graduation rates and a high percentage of black men in prison.

He remembers the pledges Farrakhan led the men to make at the march, including to respect women. At the end of the day, he said they were saying to each other: Long live the spirt of the Million Man March.

"That spirit is still living and it's coming to Tampa this weekend," Louis Muhammad said.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at or (813) 226-3431.

Nation of Islam leaders in Tampa for 15th anniversary of Million Man March 10/14/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 14, 2010 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  2. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light


    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  3. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling


    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. PTA treasurer at Pinellas school accused of stealing $5,000


    The treasurer of the Parent-Teacher Association at a Pinellas County elementary school faces a felony fraud charge after she was accused of stealing from the organization to pay her credit card and phone bills.

    Lisa McMenamin, 50, of Tarpon Springs, is facing felony charges of scheming to defraud the Brooker Creek Elementary Parent-Teacher Association, where she served as treasurer. She is accused of stealing $5,000 to pay credit card and phone bills. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. What you might have missed from the third episode of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'


    We're back for a third edition of the Annotated Hard Knocks, trying each week to freeze frames and find the tiny nuances of Bucs training camp you might have missed out on. If you see something we missed, hit …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans wears one of teammate Kwon Alexander's red "LI-TI-RILLA" T-shirts, which refer to Alexander being part lion, part tiger and part gorilla, of course. [HBO/NFL FILMS]