Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, has called for a million African American men to march on Washington next fall.
At a news briefing here last week, Farrakhan, known for his anti-Semitic rhetoric, declared Oct. 16 a “holy day” and called on all African Americans to stay away from work, stores and schools to show the country “how she looks all white.”
Washington Mayor Marion Barry and Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) said they supported the move.
Payne said he would try to attend.
Jewish activists said they are concerned that the event would mainstream Farrakhan’s messages of hate.
“We recognize the right of people to march and express their views, but given the kinds of positions he’s espoused, we’re concerned about the participants giving legitimacy to his views,” said Jess Hordes, director of the Anti- Defamation League’s Washington office.
“Given his agenda, we do have concerns,” he said.
Farrakhan said the purpose of the march is not to intimidate white people, but to get black men to “atone to God” for the way they have mistreated their “women and girls.”