Louis Farrakhan spoke at Syracuse University in 1989. At the time, all I knew of Farrakhan was his position as the leader of The Nation of Islam, his rumored role in the assassination of Malcolm X and the paragraph quotes, characterizing him as an anti-Semite. Upon deciding to listen to him speak, I ended up being one of about 10 white people within the auditorium (the others being pledges sent on a cruel stunt by one of the rich boy fraternities). I decided to attend because I don’t believe much until I experience it first hand, and, well, college is supposed to be the grounds for learning.
Quite frankly, over two hours, Farrakhan was nothing but eloquent, moving, empowering and righteous. There were no hints of Antisemitism, as he seemed 100% concerned with uplifting African-Americans in America. There wasn’t even a subtle push to join The Nation. And all the time my roommates and I listened to him speak, people protested outside, refusing to hear his words from his mouth.
Until today, I had shied away from posting about the passing of Rosa Parks… and then I watched her funeral service last night on C-Span. Do yourself a favor and listen to this speech. Louis Farrakhan captures the essence of the civil rights movement in his 10 minute speech and bridges time to reflect upon where we all need to go today… following the footprints of Rosa Parks.
UPDATE: Historically, Farrakhan has been exclusionary regarding gay and lesbian struggles for equal rights. He talked the talk regarding inclusion leading up to the Millions More March, but there were still acts of exclusion on the day of the march.
No one claiming to be an activist in the spirit of Rosa Parks would separate any group of human beings, based on any factor, from the Civil Rights movement. Or, as John Conyers put it, “Civil Rights has morphed into the Human Rights movement.”