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Men invigorated by march - About 300 KC participants in Washington rally return with a messege,...
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Men invigorated by march - About 300 KC participants in Washington rally return with a messege,...



Men invigorated by march - About 300 KC participants in Washington rally return with a message of unity, harmony.


The Kansas City Star - Thursday, October 19, 1995

Author: MARY SANCHEZ, Staff writer



Kansas Citians who attended the Million Man earlier this week are returning home invigorated by the sense of unity and purpose of the gathering.


About 300 men from the area attended the Washington march.  Most traveled by chartered buses sponsored by the Black United Front.


Others went by planes, automobiles and vans.


Several dozen people waited in the parking lot of the W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center to greet two buses that returned around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.  Applause greeted the riders, many of whom complained that they were tired.


Another returning bus broke down outside of Indianapolis and did not arrive in Kansas City until about 6 a.m. Wednesday.


The peaceful, harmonious atmosphere of the march impressed many of the Kansas City participants.


"It made me believe we can come together as a collective group to work toward a common goal," said Michael E. McKinzy, Sr.


McKinzy, 26, said the march gave him a greater understanding of earlier civil rights movements he knows only from film clips; such as Martin Luther King Jr's 1963 march on Washington.


"I wasn't even born then," he said.  "But this, now, for me is something to look back on as a source of strength and something to build from. Every generation needs a renewal."


The Rev. Nelson Thompson, head of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said the large numbers of young black males - from toddlers to teen-agers - who attended with fathers, grandfathers, and uncles, gave him a sense of hope about the future.


"When I see these young men coming together with old men, men from every walk of life, I see hope," Thompson said.


Ron Hunt, a youth coordinator with Project Neighborhood, an anti-drug and alcohol program, described the march as a personal "spiritual awakening."


A 34-year old father of three, Hunt said he was rejuvenated by the masses of people, the camaraderie and the speakers' messages.


"I believe I've got to continue to work hard in my community," Hunt said.  "But I also need to start with my own kids."


Hunt said he would cherish photos he snapped of civil rights figure Rosa Parks, Malcolm X widow Betty Shabazz, Washington Mayor Marion Barry and Southern Christian Leadership Conference leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery.


The march, Hunt said, was more than just an event to promote the messages of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.


"It wasn't about Louis Farrakhan," Hunt said.  "it was about people coming together."


In addition to the hundreds of thousands of black me who attended, Hunt said he saw Hispanics, women and children.


Educational consultant Carl Boyd, a veteran of the civil rights movement, described Monday's march as one of "contemplation, focus, brotherliness and purpose."


"There was a climate of sincerity and sobriety as opposed to the festive attitude that one might expect," said the 53-year-old Boyd.


Boyd said he hopes the effects of the march will be felt slowly, as people return from Washington and continue on with their day-to-day activities.


Too often, he said, people are momentarily invigorated by an event, make great strides for a short period and then go back to business as usual.


Long-lasting change will come only through actions that are "slow, but sure and meaningful, and not sensational," Boyd said.


Staff writer Christine Vendel contributed to this story.





Page: C1

Record Number: 325059

Copyright 1995 The Kansas City Star Co.




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