Louis Farrakhan (May 11, 1933 – )
“Overall, the challenge of leadership is both moral and one of developing the characteristics that make us respected by one another.”
Born Louis Eugene Walcott, Louis Farrakhan is the supreme minister and national representative of the Nation of Islam, an African American movement that combined elements of Islam with Black Nationalism.
After Malcolm X’s break with the Nation in 1964 over political and personal differences with Elijah Muhammad, Farrakhan replaced Malcolm as head minister of Harlem’s Temple No. 7 and as the National Representative of the Nation, the second in command of the organization. Like his predecessor, Farrakhan was a dynamic, charismatic leader and a powerful speaker with the ability to appeal to the African American masses.
Farrakhan’s October 16, 1995 “Million Man March” drew several hundred thousand attendees. Though officially billed as a “day of atonement,” a significant portion of the event focused on America’s historical and allegedly continuing assault on black people.
In 2005 Farrakhan organized the Millions More Movement to mark the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March, and to demand that the U.S. government increase its spending on welfare programs designed to recompense blacks for the suffering that America has historically inflicted on them and their forebears.