BusinessColumnistsOp-EdOpinionWilliam Reed

BUSINESS EXCHANGE: Are You Supporting the March?

On Oct. 16, 1995, the Million Man March convened a gathering of African-American men en masse in Washington, D.C. The Nation of Islam was a prime mover and organizer of the event. National African American Leadership Summit founder Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr. served as national director. The legendary march took place within the context of a grassroots movement to gain politicians’ attention regarding urban and minority issues, the demonstration to “the world a different image of Black males,” and unity toward self-help actions and attitudes to overcome economic and social ills plaguing African-American communities.

Hopefully, the Justice or Else Committee march, convening Oct. 10, 20 years after the original, supersedes the Black Lives Matter fad trying to get Whites to pay attention to the plight of Blacks. Hopefully this march’s conveners will convey the “unity” and “self-help” that propelled the inventive gathering. In a Final Call posting, the mentor to Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan, Elijah Muhammad, set the tone of what could be Blacks’ present-day mantra: “(Black) wage-earners should spend only when necessary and according to their income. They should save as much of their salaries as possible … and always plan to save something. Do not become extravagant spenders like the rich; it is sheer ignorance for us to try to compete.”

Our economic position remains at the bottom of the ladder because of ineffective leadership and since so many of us ignore basic rules of healthy economic lives, as Blacks continually fail to develop leadership and self-sufficiency in economics. Muhammad gave Blacks the following guide and outline to be followed to achieve true independence and equality.

“No. 1- Begin with knowledge of self, others, and the time should force us to become more prudent in our spending. Unnecessary spending by trying to keep pace with the wealthy of this country has done more to put us on the path of the “prodigal son” than anything else. Let us be taught how to spend and save by those of us who desire to see us beyond poverty and want.

No. 2 – Do not be too proud to meet together as leaders and teachers to discuss the solution of “How to stop this reckless down-hill fall of our people.

No. 3 – I have set before you a program. You have neither produced a better program nor anything to equal it. Your present plans are involved in one of the most disgraceful programs —especially you who boast that you are free and want freedom, Justice and equality with your slave-masters by sitting, standing and begging to be accepted as the brothers of those who, for 400 years, have brought you into your present condition, and have made you a people unwanted by the civilized nations of the earth. No one wants foolish people who love everyone but themselves and their own kind, who would rather beg than go for self, or even ask the slave-masters to help them go for self.”

While Muhammad has passed on, the fundamentals of American economics he passed on to us reinforce those of Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington: Buy from other Blacks, do banking with Blacks and pool your money and talents with family and friends.

Twenty years after the Million Man March, we need another formidable show of solidarity and strength as we face contemporary conditions of rising levels of tyranny and oppression and death that stalk Blacks while few seem to care. Enter Louis Farrakhan, who says: “I am convening “Justice or Else!” the 20th Anniversary gathering of the Million Man March on Oct. 10, 2015. By Allah’s (God’s) grace I plan to deliver an uncompromising message and call for the government of the United States to respond to our legitimate grievances. The time requires that a demand be made on the U.S. government of Justice or Else! We have tried praying in, singing in, lying in, and young activists have even employed dying in to dramatize and appeal for a proper government response to our suffering. If you agree with me, I am inviting you to join me.”

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and is available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and is available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.

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William Reed

William Reed is President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Press International. He has been a Media Entrepreneur for over two decades. A well-trained marketing and communications professional, Reed has a national reputation for his expert writing, speaking, organizational, research, management and motivation abilities, along with strong managerial, presentation and sales skills.

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