More march postscripts

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The Million Man March was neither a one-day, one-agenda nor one-locale event. For example, because of it, 2,600 adults from across the country have expressed an interest in adopting 25,000 black orphans, according to Conrad Worrill, chairman of the National Black United Front and a march organizer.

Four weeks after the Washington march, the African American Leadership Summit met there to plan and promote an ongoing series of summits, according to Oba T’Shaka, chair of the Black Studies Department at San Francisco State University and co-chair with Kathy Perry of the march organizing committee.

The following is a sampling of grass-roots activities stemming from the march.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. Jitu Weusi reports that the local Black United Front is starting a mentoring program for 60 5th-grade boys in three schools to show that they can be brought up to grade level in reading and mathematics. If these African-American mentors succeed, they hope to have the program adopted by the New York City Board of Education. Meanwhile, with community school board elections coming up in May, the Front is backing candidates and pushing for a larger voter turnout.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. A coalition of groups from nine Bay area communities planned a February summit for African-American youth. The coalition also created a variety of committees, including research, economic development, social services (to campaign for tenant ownership and management), education (to help shape public school policy), health (to help shape public health policy) and mediation (to deal with differences among organizations and individuals).

HOUSTON, TEX. After Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Rev. Ben Chavis made a pre-march visit to the city, about 5,000 African Americans staged a rally that produced 500 newly registered black voters. After the march, a second voter registration drive signed up more than 2,000 additional black voters. Rodney Penn, secretary of the local Black United Front, reports the march brought together black nationalists and black church leaders who previously had not communicated.

KANSAS CITY, MO. The local Black United Front staged a march of 1,000 African Americans to support the goals of the march. In January, the Front’s Greater Kansas City African American Summit conducted workshops on education, politics, economic development, the family and health for 400 people.