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The Million Man March Coursework

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Updated: Jul 23rd, 2021

Achieving advancement through peaceful marches as acts of legitimate protest has become a recurring way of drawing attention to acute sociopolitical issues pivotal for America’s Black Community. The civil rights movement in the USA has relied on both, adequate leadership and broad citizen participation. Thus, two of the most attended demonstrations, the Million Man March and the March on Washington, play a crucial role in determining the current standing of many citizens.

From the abolition of slavery in the 19th century to mass incarceration in the 21st, Black Americans remain one of America’s most disadvantaged social groups. The Million Man March in 1995 aimed to draw the attention of politicians to the economic strife of many citizens, as well as institute a sense of personal responsibility in those participating (Marable, 2018). Additionally, leader Louis Farrakhan, building upon the idea of “blackness as an identity,” presented an ideology of atonement laced with religion, which the masses accepted (Marable, 2018, p. 1). Therefore, while the Million Man March became a political standoff between Black Americans and in-office politicians, it also became a symbol of the unification of the Black Movement around a somewhat new idea.

Predating Farrakhan’s march, the Martin Luther King’s 1963 demonstration was one of the most significant events in the history of the civil rights movement. However, while the leaders of the March on Washington aimed to eradicate discriminatory practices, such as Jim Crow laws and the forbidding of interracial marriage, Farrakhan was focused on the demonstration, rather than its results (Simon, 2017). Thus, the Million Man March became a standalone event with no inherently obvious continuation, whose success is changing Black American’s circumstances is debatable, but the effect of which on people’s self-identification is evident (Marable, 2018). Thus, the two events differ in comparison, as the March on Washington effectively affected politics to revoke specific discriminatory laws, while the Million Man March merely attempted to build upon Black Americans’ shared ideology.

While the two marches hold an essential place in the civil rights movement, each of them achieved vastly different goals in varying circumstances. Based upon the success of previous demonstrations, the Million Man March successfully brought Black Americans together to a single goal. Recognizing its place in the history of America’s black citizens, despite its refusal to build upon the achieved spirit of commonality further, is essential to the history of the civil rights movement.

References

Marable, M. (2018). Speaking truth to power: Essays on race, resistance, and radicalism. New York, NY: Routledge.

Simon, R. J. (2017). Public opinion in the United States: Studies of race, religion, gender, and issues that matter. New York, NY: Routledge.

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