Charlotte chosen to host 17th anniversary of Million Man March in October

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Weeks after the Democratic National Convention, thousands are expected to visit Charlotte for the 17th anniversary of the Million Man March.

The anniversary event will commemorate the historic 1995 Million Man March, in which hundreds of thousands of people converged on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  The event's organizer, Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, addressed the crowd then, and he's expected to take the podium this fall in Charlotte at the Bojangles Coliseum.  It will be his first speech at a major venue in more than a decade.

Minister Ishmael Muhammad, Farrakhan's national assistant, spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News anchor Tenikka Smith Friday.  He told her about what Minister Farrakhan is expected to talk about in his speech. 

"The focus of his message will be on economic development and, of course, he will address many issues facing our community, our nation, this world,” he said.

Eyewitness News was told other cities, like Dallas and St. Louis, were also vying to host the event. Minister Muhummad revealed what tipped the scales in the Queen City's favor.

"Charlotte as a city is a very progressive city, and the student laborers of Charlotte from Mosque #36 did an excellent job in their proposal, and they won the bid,” he said.

Muhammad and other leaders with the Nation of Islam are in Charlotte this weekend to check out the city and discuss ways to get the entire community involved this fall.

"We encourage all to come, because there’s something that Minister Farrakan has to say and will say that will touch everyone's heart," said Muhammad.

Resident Jason Brown said the world recognizes what Charlotte has to offer since the city continues to attract major and diverse events. 

"We're on the map now. I mean, we really are," he said.

Organizers of the Million Man March 17th anniversary are holding a public meeting to answer questions and discuss ways to involve the community in the event. It is at 2 p.m. at the Greater Providence Baptist Church, located at 2000 Milton Road.