Civil Rights and Protests

African-American Protests of the Post-Civil Rights Movement

What were the Million Man March and Day of Absence?

The nation’s first Million Man March and Day of Absence took place in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1995. It occurred with parallel activities in cities and towns throughout the country; families were asked to stay at home from school and work during that “day of atonement” and to pray and fast. It provided an opportunity for black men to bear responsibility for their lives, families, and communities. They also were to show repentance for the ill treatment of black women. In the area of civil rights, the march aimed to bring whites and blacks together and spotlight national inactivity toward racial inequality. Louis Farrakhan (1933–) of the Nation of Islam proposed the march early in 1995. Planners garnered support from religious, political, and business oriented groups and leaders. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) offered their support, excused students from classes, and chartered buses to take them to Washington for the event. While the number of participants is disputed, leaders of the march claim that a million people did, in fact, assemble at the Lincoln Memorial—the site of the historic 1963 March on Washington.


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