BLACK VOICES
10/09/2015 06:08 pm ET Updated Dec 21, 2016

14 Striking Images From The Historic 1995 'Million Man March'

It was the "greatest demonstration in the history of America, of black love, black men coming together."

October 16, 1995 was a historic day. 

It marked the occasion of the memorable Million Man March, when black Americans from across the country rallied in Washington, D.C. to unify under a mission which aimed to restore and revitalize the black community.  

It was for what organizer and minister Louis Farrkahan described as the "greatest demonstration in the history of America, of black love, black men coming together."

James Leynse via Getty Images

On that day, a sea of black men stood together in solidarity to send a message that combatted the harmful stereotypes often portrayed against them. Around 850,000 black men marched that day to also repair and reconcile relationships, both personal and religious. 

For Farrakhan, the march represented a moment for black men to renounce engaging in violence or abuse of any kind and renew their commitments to family and God. Participants took a public pledge to revitalize their communities, abstain from drugs and alcohol, build black businesses and fully apply themselves to become better men both at home and away. Notable black figures like Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks also attended that day. 

"The theme was atonement," as he recently described to Ebony's Jamilah Lemieux. "We had to atone to God for our failure as men to be the providers, the protectors, the defenders of our women and children, and that was one of the principal cornerstones of the march. Atonement, then reconciliation, that we were asked to reconcile our differences with each other, in our churches, in our organizations, in our families." 

Farrakhan has renewed that mission and has organized another momentous march. The theme for event, which will be held on the grounds of the National Mall in Washington D.C., is "Justice Or Else!" The event is expected to attract thousands of men and women of all races and demands justice for all people of color in America. The march also commemorates the 20 year anniversary since the original Million Man March. 

"Ultimately, the Million Man March showed that for one day, we could come together and love each other and be brothers to each other," Farrakhan said. "What we did for that one day should be for every day of our life."

Here are some of the powerful images that were captured on that unforgettable day in 1995: 

  • Participants gather in Washington, DC for the Million Man March, an event organized by Minister Louis Farrakhan as a day of a
    James Leynse via Getty Images
    Participants gather in Washington, DC for the Million Man March, an event organized by Minister Louis Farrakhan as a day of atonement and empowerment for African American men. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
  • Million Man March (Photo by Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
    Larry Downing via Getty Images
    Million Man March (Photo by Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
  • 239824 04: Attendees at the Million Man March raise their hands in fists and peace/victory signs October 16, 1995 in Washingt
    Porter Gifford via Getty Images
    239824 04: Attendees at the Million Man March raise their hands in fists and peace/victory signs October 16, 1995 in Washington, DC. The purpose of the march was to galvanize men to respect themselves and others spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, politically and economically. (Photo by Porter Gifford/Liaison)
  • Participants in the Million Man March, a day of atonement and reconciliation conceived by Louis Farrakhan for African-America
    James Leynse via Getty Images
    Participants in the Million Man March, a day of atonement and reconciliation conceived by Louis Farrakhan for African-American men. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
  • A man raises his hands in the air as he celebrates during Million Man March on the Mall, 16 October 1995, in Washington DC. T
    RICHARD ELLIS via Getty Images
    A man raises his hands in the air as he celebrates during Million Man March on the Mall, 16 October 1995, in Washington DC. The march, which was called by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, is intended as a day for black men to unite and pledge self-reliance and commitment to their families and communities. (RICHARD ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Thousands of people gather on the Mall in front of the US Capitol during the 'Million Man March' in Washington D.C., 16 Octob
    TIM SLOAN via Getty Images
    Thousands of people gather on the Mall in front of the US Capitol during the 'Million Man March' in Washington D.C., 16 October 1995. The march, called by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, is intended as a day for back men to unite and pledge self-reliance and commitment to their families and communities. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • 239824 06: Singer, songwriter & musician Stevie Wonder speaks to the crowd at the Million Man March October 16, 1995 in Washi
    Porter Gifford via Getty Images
    239824 06: Singer, songwriter & musician Stevie Wonder speaks to the crowd at the Million Man March October 16, 1995 in Washington, DC. The purpose of the march was to galvanize men to respect themselves and others spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, politically and economically. (Photo by Porter Gifford/Liaison)
  • Attendees at the Million Man March raise their fists October 16, 1995 in Washington, DC. The purpose of the march was to galv
    Porter Gifford via Getty Images
    Attendees at the Million Man March raise their fists October 16, 1995 in Washington, DC. The purpose of the march was to galvanize men to respect themselves and others spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, politically and economically. (Porter Gifford/Liaison)
  • Washington DC. Oct 16th 1995. The Million Man March. Organized by the National African American Leadership Summit and the Nat
    Mark Reinstein via Getty Images
    Washington DC. Oct 16th 1995. The Million Man March. Organized by the National African American Leadership Summit and the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan which formed the Million Man March Organizing Committee. Finally estimated at about 837,000 people the march was made up mostly of grassroots groups of civil right groups and many social activists. Credit: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
  • Participants gather in Washington, DC for the Million Man March, an event organized by Minister Louis Farrakhan as a day of a
    James Leynse via Getty Images
    Participants gather in Washington, DC for the Million Man March, an event organized by Minister Louis Farrakhan as a day of atonement and empowerment for African American men. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
  • Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks at the Million Man March. (Photo by Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
    Larry Downing via Getty Images
    Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks at the Million Man March. (Photo by Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
  • This photograph taken from the top of the Washington Monument shows thousands of people in front of the US Capitol during the
    TIM SLOAN via Getty Images
    This photograph taken from the top of the Washington Monument shows thousands of people in front of the US Capitol during the 'Million Man March' in Washington D.C., on October 16, 1995. The march, called by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, is intended as a day for black men to unite and pledge self-reliance and commitment to their families and communities. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A man raises his fists as he listens to the speech by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at the Million Man March near th
    TIM SLOAN via Getty Images
    A man raises his fists as he listens to the speech by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at the Million Man March near the US Capitol, 16 October 1995, in Washington DC. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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