A Personal Narrative By Blair Young
My dad woke me up around 5:30 a.m. and told me to get ready. Half asleep, I asked “Ready for what?”
He answered, “We are going to the march”. I had forgotten that we were going to the Million Man March in Washington D.C. I was ten years old when the first march in 1995 occurred. I didn’t think much of it at the time, and really only cared because it was a reason to miss school. As the day unfolded, my attitude would change and I learned a lot about what it meant to be a Black man in America.
I attended the march with my father and grandfather. We were just one example of three generations that represented the past, present, and future of African-American men. I was excited to be involved in something historic, but was also nervous because it was my first time dealing with large crowds.
The March was very inspiring to me as a child in different ways. The sheer numbers that attended the march were staggering. The actual amount was disputed but it ranged from 400,000 to 800,000 people.
I was in the back of the crowd and was overwhelmed when I saw the amount of people in front of me, especially on the jumbo screens. It was awe inspiring to see so many people, most of them black men, come together for a purpose.
The political rhetoric of the MMM mostly went over my head. The speeches that I did pick up on were based on what it meant to be Black. At the time of the march, I had switched schools. I went from classes with a few white classmates to being the only black student in all of my classes. This was the first time in my life that I was conscious that I could be judged for being Black. After the march, I took pride in being the only Black kid and would not be treated differently because of it. The march instilled in me that I had a duty to serve as a young black man.
Looking towards to the next Million Man March: Justice or Else on Saturday, I am hoping to accomplish a few goals. For one, I will get more from the speeches than my ten-year-old self did 20 years ago.
I believe that many of the issues that effect me directly will be discussed, so my attention is vital.
Next is to walk around and experience the entire event. The first time I was stuck in the back with my family and only got to experience it from that viewpoint.
I want a complete coverage of the event so it will be more memorable.
Finally my main goal of attending the march is to hear the same inspiring words that I did when I was younger, and hope they will me guidance on what’s next for us as a people.