Minister Louis Farrakhan

Holy Day of Atonement: Million Man March 23rd Anniversary Address in Detroit

By the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Oct 16, 2018 - 8:51:08 AM

What's your opinion on this article?


Holy Day of Atonement
Million Man March 23rd Anniversary Address in Detroit 

(The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a major address Oct. 14 to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement in Detroit at the newly-named Aretha Franklin Amphitheater. Below are excerpts from the Minister’s inspiring and informative message. We encourage readers to order this vital message in its entirety by callin 1-866-602-1230, ext. 200, or visit It is available on CD, DVD or MP3.)

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan flanked by images of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, left, and the Great Mahdi Master Fard Muhammad.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

I'm honored and we are honored by your presence. We are honored to be in this place and we call it hallowed ground: hallowed ground because Detroit was chosen by the Son of Man, God In Person, to visit this city to start what is now known as The Nation of Islam. He came alone, He came by Himself. He used many aliases, one of them was Fard Ali. Fard meaning alone, singular, by Himself.

It is written that God would come but He was seen as a man treading the winepress alone. The Bible said He would come as a thief in the night. And, it says that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief would appear, he would not suffer his goods to be taken.

God didn’t come here to play He came to get you and me and us. Your suffering in America was not because you did something wrong. Your and my suffering in America was not because our parents did something wrong. Our suffering was to fulfill a purpose that God predicted thousands of years ago about our sojourn in America. It is written that the Seed of Abraham would be a stranger in a strange land. It is written that every day of our presence in America we would be afflicted by a strange people.

It says, but after that time “I,” God talking, “will come.” After that time God would come with a specific function: First to judge the nation that had afflicted His people. Second, to raise the nation of Black people and Brown people and Red people whose sojourn in America left us like the dry bones in the valley; divided, hopeless and in despair.

You have a great destiny. Your suffering was not in vain. The enemy knows our future better than we do. He is frightened, not of guns, because he has big ones. He’s frightened of truth because he has deceived the whole world. So whenever a person has lived by deceit and built their world on falsehood; the one thing that they fear is the truth and a man in whose heart is the courage, the strength, the love of God and the love of the People of God to speak the truth—even if it costs his life. That’s why Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

What truth is it that we don’t know, but the moment we hear it, it will begin to unloosen the chains that have been taken from our feet and placed on our minds? Today we have become enemies of our own progress, enemies of each other, so the theme of the Million Man March 23 years ago was Atonement, Reconciliation and Responsibility. Those three words are the root of why we’re here today.

Atonement means reparation for a wrong or an injury. The enemy has injured us. Would you agree with that? We are in need of repair. But the enemy is not going to repair what he skillfully destroyed. Only God who loved us could repair our broken spirits, our broken minds; and destroyed will … only God.

There’s a scripture in the Bible that asks a question: “Is there not a Balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” Later it says, “There is a Balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a Balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.”

I love being here in the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre. I know we loved her singing and we loved her soul but I’m not sure that we knew her in the depth of who she really was. I was not blessed to know my sister up close and personal. I met her in 1972 when the police attacked our Mosque in New York. I was on television ordering all White people out of Harlem. Aretha with her blessed soul saw me on television, and as famous as Aretha was, she left wherever she was and came to Harlem to stand with me and with us. Aretha was not a sister that gave two cents for fame or fortune that would deprive her of standing up for a righteous principle. She was more than the Queen of Soul on that level. She was the Queen of Soul on the Highest Level of the Manifestation of Soul.

Aretha came through a great preacher, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, and her mother. Aretha came through them but Aretha came from God. Is there a Balm in Gilead? Nobody touched our souls like Aretha. When she sang you could feel the electric energy in every word. It’s like each word was an atom and the power of her Soul cracked the atom and the energy of that word went out and touched wherever that word went. I have pictures of my sister up here and these photos were on The Final Call newspaper front page and where my column is. I see Aretha as divine. …

I called the family, her sister-in-law Sister Earlene through my secretary and administrative assistant and I asked if I could attend, not speak at the funeral. I didn’t want to speak. I just wanted to be in the place with her family and her friends and the mourners; people who really felt a sense of loss. I was never expecting to be on the stage. But Bishop Charles Ellis, may God bless him, took me by the hand and brought me to my seat; picked up a paper that had my name on it and sat me front and center on the stage. Now some of you wondered, especially White folks, “how did that man get up there?” You ought to shut your mouth. Your day of directing our affairs is all over.


To the entire artistic community: You have helped us to make it one more day under the tyranny of White Supremacy. So Aretha was a Queen in that capacity. Not the Queen of Soul on an R&B level; she was that too. Aretha was the Queen of Soul. Soul meaning the Essence of Our Being that comes directly from God. Aretha touched all of that in us. Most of our Black artists, particularly females, don’t have good men. I’m sorry, brothers. We don’t know how to handle women who are intelligent, go-getters, that are young, gifted and Black. We don’t know how to handle that. ... Detroit, the meaning of Atonement has everything to do with us repairing the damage that we have done to each other in our ignorance. We’ve damaged our wives, damaged our children, damaged each other. Elijah Muhammad and Master Fard Muhammad were arrested right here in Detroit. You know what they were arrested for? They asked the Believers at that time to take their children out of public schools and put them in the newly-formed Muhammad University of Islam.

Elijah Muhammad taught us if a man won’t treat you right, what would make you think that man would teach you right? In the public schools, the enemy wants to make us better tools of service for him. When we took our children out of the public school, they came to the school and arrested the teachers. Elijah Muhammad went to the jail and said, I am their teacher so if you’re going to arrest them, arrest me too.

Today if you have an independent school, somebody paid a price. If you have Afrocentric education, somebody paid a price. If you know how to stand-up for your beautiful Black self, somebody paid a price. In those days, Master Fard Muhammad gave out holy names to the people. What do you mean holy names? Have you ever checked out your name? White people are not directly from God. See if God is truly your father, you would wear the name of your father. But when you have to name yourself after the creatures of God: My name is Mr. Green, I’m Mrs. Brown, I’m Mr. Sharp, I’m Mr. Peckerwood. I’m Mr. Overstreet and Underhill. I’m Mr. Black, I’m Mr. White. Oh and by the way, I’m Mr. Washington.

Washington had so many slaves and impregnated so many women that you have Washington’s everywhere and you love your master’s name. It’s a heck of a thing, I’m playing football and I’m running. Washington didn’t give me my gift. God gave me my gift. So, if I can run through the line and make it to the goal and shake it off and say I did it. Who did it? God gave you the gift to do it. But you did it in the slavemaster’s name. Muhammad Ali came along. You remember him, don’t you? He was Cassius Clay. Mr. Muhammad said, no, you are Muhammad Ali. Muhammad is one of the Names of God. It means One Worthy of Praise and One Praised Much. Ali means the Most High; not the one who smokes the most reefers. But Most High means on the Elevated Plane of Life God is the Most High. When the White Man had these Black children coming in their schools with a Holy Name of God, Whites said, “This is terrible. Mr. Muhammad, you’re contributing to the delinquency of a minor.” They told him he was on probation, but if he put the children back in school he would be alright. Mr. Muhammad never did any such thing. Today, we have Black schools popping up all over America; Black people wearing holy names, Jamal, Saleem, Muhammad, Karriem, Jabbar. But we suffered to use God’s name because the White man knew that his name on us meant we were still his property.

Once the Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave me my name, I never had to go to White folk and tell them, you know this is my name. They asked me, where did you get that name? I said, I got it from my teacher. Did you go to court to get your name? I said, did you go to court to take my name? …

This is the kind of message that will set us free. Beloved brothers and sisters, reconciliation is a necessity. Whenever you hurt your brother or your sister, the only way you can reconcile differences you have to know when you have done something wrong. And, don’t be afraid to admit it when you know you are wrong.

It takes courage to go to somebody that you have wronged and ask for forgiveness. I want to go right to Ms. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, now Justice Kavanaugh. In this world and in human life people outgrow bad habits, bad deeds and change their lives. Would you agree? Paul the Apostle said it best. “When I was a child I spoke as a child because I thought like a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

If Judge Kavanaugh bothered Ms. Ford when she was fifteen and he was seventeen, that lady was a victim of something. How do you know, Farrakhan? I’ve been listening to liars for a long time. In fact, my business is trying to get a crooked tongue to speak straight words. When I saw that woman give her testimony, tears came in my eyes because no man should take from a woman what a woman does not want to give. When that woman stood up and went through the horror of what Mr. Kavanaugh is alleged to have done to her, she had to relive it. That kind of experience, you don’t forget. It is seared into your memory. You may put it behind you and think it’s gone somewhere. But when you least expect it that thing will come out and make a problem for you. One of the worst things that a man can do is abuse a woman, take advantage of a woman or a little boy. … How could you be a true Christian and rape little boys? … I don’t want to poll the sisters in the audience but in many of my lectures when I start talking about female abuse, the audience gets quiet. Some of these beautiful women in here today have been abused by their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, friends of the family. It’s a hell of a thing that our women have suffered.


The Mercy of God is in all of us as human beings. When somebody does wrong and you humble yourself before the person you have wronged and ask for forgiveness very few people will deny you, if you come right. All of us need forgiveness in our lives. All of us need the Mercy of God to cleanse us from our wrongdoing. Do you know if Justice Kavanaugh went to Ms. Ford, at some point, and asked for forgiveness that woman would not deny him? You could hear it in her testimony. She didn’t even want to use his name to bring him down until he got to the place where they were about to make him a Justice on the Supreme Court. … So somebody has to come forward and say I did it. I’m wrong. Can you forgive me? I had a four-hour talk with R Kelley. … I told him, R, I have had a message in my heart for you for over twenty years and I’m so glad for the opportunity to share it with you. A man can’t write songs like that and not have God all up in him, but he’s got to be cleansed. Do you understand what I’m saying? All of you in here have done something wrong but you’re not evil people. Somebody has to reach into you and bring out the God that’s in you and clear you of your evil.

That’s why we recorded this song, “He looked beyond my faults and He saw my need.” We’ll never find the love, the unity and the peace that we deserve unless we’re able to look past someone’s faults to see what they need and address that need. … Elijah Muhammad said he came to save us from the sins of White people that have been imposed on us since we have been under their rule. We didn’t have homosexuality in Africa, that’s not our tradition.

Now, to my homosexual brothers and sisters that are in the audience, I want you to know from your brother that I love you and we’re not here to judge you. The God that I represent didn’t come to North America ignorant of what White folk imposed on us to judge us and destroy us for our sinful behavior. You’re a liar? Well, you were taught by a master liar. You’re a fornicator, you’re a pimp; you see what they’ve done to us as a people. You didn’t start pimping they were pimping; they were hustling our women. They are the masters of the sex trafficking trade. …

So God came to Black Bottom in Detroit. A whole lot of Black folk came up from Mississippi, from Alabama, from Arkansas from other parts of the South and worked for Henry Ford. Mr. Ford was having a problem with his Jewish neighbors. Black Bottom was once the playground of the Purple Gang and the Purple Gang was Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who became the thugs, the gamblers, the hustlers, the dope dispensers, the drug enforcers and murderers; that’s who lived in Black Bottom Detroit.

When we came up from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, they didn’t have any place for us in Detroit. The only places we had were Black Bottom and Paradise Valley. So we were in there with the Jewish gangs in Black Bottom. There were clashes between Blacks and the members of the Jewish community. … When you came up from Mississippi, you didn’t want to see a farm again. But you had a band in Black Bottom called the Cotton Pickers. What makes White folks happy is when we display our love for what they did to us. And, when the Jews become your manager, you’re the Ink Spots. They’re mocking you all the time. …

When Master Fard Muhammad came to Black Bottom, the people heard him gladly but the Book says He came without observation like a thief in the night. He came unto his own but his own received Him not. And the light shined in the darkness but the darkness comprehended it not. A great light was among us and they called us a voodoo cult. As much as you’re afraid of voodoo; you don’t even realize that when they brought you to church and made you their kind of Christian that was real voodoo. …

Is that Canada over there? That is Canada, isn’t it? Do you know Mr. Sam Bronfman? Have you heard of Seagram’s Seven? Mr. Bronfman was across the water making whiskey. He was bootlegging and the Purple Gang would receive Mr. Bronfman’s whiskey and cut it; you know how you do it today with cocaine.

Brothers and sisters, right in the midst of decadence, bootlegging, gambling, prostitution, Master Fard Muhammad came. You did not know who He was. I did not know who He was. But I want to say to the Muslim Community, the Islamic World who are looking for a Madhi (the Self-guided One). You think He’s going to appear over there. But I want to introduce you to Him. He came from over there in the East but He came here to Black Bottom Detroit. He was looking for a man with the right heart of love for us. Elijah Poole was his slave name when he came to the Temple one day and heard Fard Muhammad speaking. Being a student of the Bible, he knew instinctively, “that’s the one the whole world has been looking for the last two thousand years … .”

Elijah Muhammad accepted Islam that night. The Nation of Islam began to grow. There were over 4,000 people in the Mosque, then 8,000. Master Fard Muhammad gave out 25,000 Holy Names. They called Fard Muhammad the King of Islam and arrested him. They questioned him and told him to get out of Detroit. Detroit that’s a pretty ugly thing you did. You ordered out a man that had come to save us from the tyranny of White oppression. When they arrested Him He sent for Elijah. When Elijah would come to the jail, He would tell him, “this is the price you have to pay for telling the truth. … ” Those early Muslims, those early Moors of the Moorish Science Temple, we’re standing on their shoulders today. We were fighting the police. We didn’t attack them. We never carried weapons. We fought in the Name of Allah and some of them were bruised up, went to the hospital, and some of us were bruised up. In Chicago a fight started and the Captain of the police dropped dead. These people are not used to Black people standing up. …

Now White folk don’t like Farrakhan, some of them respect me. But those who have been our Deceivers, they can’t stand me. I’m not mad with you. In fact, you members of the Jewish Community that don’t like me: Thank you very much for putting my name all over the planet. Because of your fear of what we represent, I can go anywhere in the world and they’ve heard of Farrakhan. Thank you very much.

I’m not mad at you. My teacher Elijah Muhammad taught me one day: There once was a donkey that fell in a ditch and everybody came along picked up a stone and threw it at the donkey. They threw so many stones that the ditch got filled up and the donkey walked up. So my teacher said, “brother remember every knock is a boost.” When they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, call me an anti-Semite; stop it I’m anti-termite.

I don’t know anything about hating anyone because of their religious preference. But just like they called our ancestors in the 1930s “voodoo people,” they figure “anti-Semite” would be a good thing to put on us. Farrakhan hates Jews. Stop it. You cannot find one Jew that one who follows me has plucked one hair from his head. You haven’t found us defiling a synagogue. Our Qur’an teaches us if we see something like that stop it. They call me anti-Semitic. No, you are anti-Black. Now I’m talking to the anti-Black White folk. Why do you lay around Black people like the 10 Percent in our Lessons” You know we’re a talented people so you lay right around us, “I’ll be your manager.” … How did they get to own everything that we have created? It’s because they’re Master Deceivers and they hate the fact that we are strong enough to say it. Now when a liar has gotten ahold of you, the liar is afraid of anybody who knows the truth and will tell it. So, they don’t want you near Farrakhan.


Ms. Ford is a sign of all these Black women that have been ravished and this isn’t just Black women. This is something going on all over the Earth with women. They’re being raped in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America, in Europe and in America. They’ll never be a change in the world until women rise from the condition that male authority has put them in. Women are rising all over this planet. That beautiful Black woman who started the “MeToo” Movement is one of our sisters. In the march women had after the Trump victory, our sister Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, strong women, all of a sudden some Jewish women want to lambaste them because they came to hear Farrakhan. Did I tell them to kill anybody? Did I tell them to rob anybody? All I’m doing is showing them their place not as the woman of man but as the Woman of God.

If you sisters in this audience don’t recognize your sacredness, I want you to listen to your brother. Women are Sacred. If you don’t see yourself as sacred, it’s because Satan has robbed you of the knowledge of who you are and ripped you off from your divine destiny. … I want you little sisters to listen. You’re not some cheap thing for men to use for pleasure and discard you. You’re the Woman of God. You make a future for us. We have no future except that future comes through a woman. … You are a Sacred Woman. Every prophet of God came from your womb. Every scientist, every great mind, every great man, every great woman came from your womb. … The Bible says a Virtuous Woman is more valuable than silver and gold. Sisters, you have to recognize your sacredness. … Never refer to yourself as a bitch. Don’t refer to another woman as a bitch. …

The Qur’an says “pray to me, I will answer you.” How will the prayer of a woman or a man praying to God for relief from a disease be answered? It will be answered from the womb of a woman who may be a simple woman but her womb is going to produce a child born to find the cure.


Elijah Muhammad was given a mission by God and he needed a helper. Some helpers aren’t worth a damn because they think more about helping themselves than the man that has the mission. I was born for Muhammad, I was born and I’m pregnant. Minister you’re pregnant? I’m pregnant with a nation. That’s why the Bible said it was a woman clothed in the sun, with a crown of stars on her head standing on the moon. That woman was pregnant with a nation. The dragon came after that woman. All Messengers of God are styled as women because God is the man who impregnates the Messenger with the Seed of Truth from which a nation comes to birth. Yes, I am that woman. And, you are the nation that must be delivered and I’m in labor right now.


Let me talk about Kanye. I’m not one of these beat-a-man-down kinds of guy. I happen to love Kanye. But Kanye took over the Oval Office. One of the most brilliant men that I know in sports is Jim Brown and Jim was quiet. I don’t know what he was thinking. But Kanye went off. Wait now, I’m going to say something that Kanye said. Kanye talked about the 13th Amendment and he was telling Mr. Trump that you don’t build something that is supposed to be firm and have a trap door in it unless you’re building a trap door for somebody that you want to trap. I’m going to help Kanye out with this.

The 13th Amendment is a trap. White folks say, “okay, slavery is finished unless you commit a felony. Then all your rights as a citizen are gone.” That’s a trap door. You got a little reefer on you, in one of these states that they don’t like you having reefer in your possession? Stop and frisk? That’s getting to the trap door. You are in prison working for Fortune 500 companies. But when you come out of prison, you can’t get a job at none of these companies, but in prison you were working for nothing. That’s a new form of slavery. Kanye was right.


I’d like to close with a message to President Trump: Mr. Trump, you have a lot of sanctions that you’re enacting and causing a lot of people to suffer. You don’t like Korean leader Kim Jong-un but now you say we falling madly in love. You are not taking any of the sanctions away, but you want him to get rid of nuclear bombs. He’s not going to do anything like that, he’s not a fool. Brother Muammar Gadhafi of Libya was my brother, but when he gave up his nuclear capacity he ended up dead. When God has given you a strategic advantage, you do not give it up in the face of your enemy. Mr. Trump ripped up the accord with Iran and said the Iranians got $150 billion—but they’re not telling you it was Iran’s own money. The U.S. only gave back money it was holding hostage. This is terrorism at another level: Sanctioning countries to make the people suffer so that they will rise up and overthrow their own government. I’m here to tell you about the Power of God, the One that came to North America by Himself, the one who visited Detroit and was ordered out, and his student, Elijah Muhammad, was ordered out. … Hurricane Maria came by last year. She was a real horror story. All those hurricanes messed up White folks’ playgrounds in the Caribbean. Florence came, Florence hit real hard, billions of tons of water. They’d never seen water like that.

This is God’s sanction on America. A few days ago Hurricane Michael showed up. He didn’t start on the West Coast of Africa like most hurricanes. He came right out of the Gulf. Winds were blowing at 155 mph, one or two more miles it would have been a Category 5 hurricane. Panama City, Texas, is gone. …

Have you seen the people? That’s terror. You run to the highest part of your house and water follows you up the stairs. That’s terror. Who is terrorizing them? The Air Force had a place nearby. They got all the expensive planes off the ground running from Michael. Who is Michael? Michael is one of the Angels of God. Michael is a destructive force letting you know somebody has America in his sights to sanction America.

God wants you. He’s threatening to destroy America for you. He’s come to fight your battles for you because the battle is not yours, the battle is His. I’m saying this in advance, I’ve been saying it for the last three years: Watch the weather. Every year the weather has gotten worse and worse and worse. … I’m saying to Mr. Trump: Mr. President, you’re going to have to think about holding on to Black people as hostages. You have nothing for us to do so you’re planning genocide for an entire people. You think God is going to let you do that? I want you as the People of God to watch God work for you. The next thing He’s coming with is more rain. Winter’s here, more snow, hail. But when the earthquakes come, buildings are going to go down in the major cities. God is not to be overcome. I don’t like going to the White House but my address is 4855 S. Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago. If you don’t want to come, send your people because we have to talk about letting the Black Man and Woman go and giving the Black Man and Woman a good send-off. If you don’t, God is going to take all of this. I’m going to tell you Detroit, you ran God out. You have some atoning to do and a few Negroes in higher places is not atonement. … We’re going to unite with Detroit and go back and forth from Chicago and Detroit because Chicago and Detroit can turn the whole nation around.