Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Farrakhan Says Ferguson 'Ignited It All'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Farrakhan Says Ferguson 'Ignited It All'

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * The father of Michael Brown and other representatives from Ferguson were given places of prominence at the "Justice or Else" gathering on the National Mall on Saturday.

The 20th anniversary commemoration of the Million Man March, a seminal moment in the controversial tenure of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, attracted tens of thousands on a sun-splashed day. Farrakhan spoke for more than two hours, quoting everyone from Thomas Jefferson to John F. Kennedy, in a defiant call for black nationalism to take over education, security and justice in black communities.

Two themes persisted: condemnation of the death of blacks in encounters with police, and a focus on the role of women in black communities. The gathering 20 years ago, while praised for its message of atonement and empowerment of black men, was also criticized for its dearth of women.

Ferguson was frequently invoked.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the controversial Chicago minister whose views toward whites caused a rift with President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, equated Ferguson with the Palestinians, in a perpetual war of coexistence with the state of Israel.

"The youth in Ferguson and the youth in Palestine are united together to remind us that the dots need to be connected," Wright said. "As Dr. (Martin Luther) King said injustice anywhere is, in effect, injustice everywhere."

Tory Russell, a co-founder of the Hands Up United group in Ferguson, proclaimed: "When we talk about justice or else, I've got one thing to say: Ferguson is the 'or else.'"

Michael Brown Sr. spoke only briefly to thank Farrakhan for inviting him.

Farrakhan said that Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, who a Justice Department investigation found had acted reasonably in fear of his life when he shot and killed Brown, was part of a police mindset where officers seek to work in black communities because "that is where the fun is."

"We are going to expose all you rogue policemen," Farrakhan said, appealing for "10,000 fearless black men" to provide security in black communities. …

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