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Louis Farrahkan Not In Tuskegee For Speech
In celebration of the 18th anniversary of the Million Man March, thousands of people gathered in Tuskegee Square, but one important figure was missing.
Louis Farrahkan, the organizer of that march and a leader in the Nation of Islam who was expected to be the speech of the day was unable to attend.
Donna Farrahkan, Daughter of Louis Farrahkan, says, "Farrahkan may not be physically present, but I beg to differ. I am looking at Farrahkan's in front of me."
Organizers say Farrahkan couldn't make it to the event because he is in the hospital. Thousands of people came hoping to hear him speak. They found out he wasn't coming nearly an hour and a half after the program began.
"It was extremely surprising, because they didn't let us know ahead of time, but that's okay," says Tim Donar, a Tallahassee Resident. Angela Williams, a Tuscaloosa Resident who traveled to Tuskegee for the event says, "It's fine because one thing about the minister, we want him to be around for a long time, and he's getting old. And if he's sick, his message is still going to go across."
The two-day event is in honor of the Nation of Islam Holy Day of Atonement and in honor of the anniversary of the Million Man March. Farrahkan was supposed to be the keynote speaker about plans for a Black economic empowerment fund, but not everyone is happy about the event.
"I read about what he said about the master for the black man is Allah. NO. My master's name is Lord Jesus Christ," says Debora Daniel of Tuskegee.
Mayor Johnny Ford says he spoke to Farrahkan earlier in the morning when doctors said he wouldn't be able to come, "But what's significant, is the fact that his daughter was here, his wife was here, his family was here, and Ishmel Mummahad was here. Those persons represent the new leadership."
Ford says it's significant that the Nation of Islam was here, and he welcomes other national groups to hold events in Tuskegee as well.
Ford also says that the NAACP will be coming to Tuskegee in 2014.