Thousands mark 17th anniversary of Million Man March

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Thousands marked the 17th anniversary of the Million Man March on Sunday in east Charlotte.

Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke to the crowd at the Bojangles Coliseum.

The Nation of Islam leader, known for his controversial speeches, touched on a number of hot button issues, mainly the presidential campaign.

Farrakhan touched on a recurring theme throughout the campaigns – the economy – and the group he believes has been overlooked.

“All of the focus has been mainly on the middle class, from both sides,” he said. “What happened to the poor of this nation? Who will speak for the poor?”

Farrakhan said the government, corporate America and individuals need to be prepared to make tough choices to get the economy back on track.

“What must the American people do in terms of sacrifice to address the enormous debt that has enslaved the American people,” Farrakhan said.

He also expressed what he believes is another major issue impact the presidential race.

“We sense it’s a deep racial undercurrent found in the Republican Party respecting brother Obama and this election,” Farrakhan said.

The 79-year-old minister’s comments about race, politics, religion and social issues have sparked controversy over the years from critics including the Anti-Defamation League, who accused Farrakhan of projecting bigoted and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Syene J. attended Sunday’s speech.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” he said. “I’m just here for the message.”

“We have so many different views on how we can achieve success in this county, so I’m always interested in learning ways, find ways of how we can achieve success in this country,” Syene J. added.

Farrakhan delivered the keynote address at the historic Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995.