10.16.2009

Documentary rekindles spirit, touches Black men

by Jesse Muhammad for The Final Call Newspaper

HOUSTON (FinalCall.com) - October 16 marks the 14th anniversary of the historic Million Man March when nearly two million men descended upon Washington, D.C., at the call of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

In that sea of men stood then Columbia College film students Glen Towery of Los Angeles and Linus Michael of Kenya. Armed with thousands of dollars in donated equipment, both made the trek to the nation's capitol with the goal of documenting what would be a life-changing experience for them.

“I actually did not know about the march until one of my friends called me two weeks before the gathering,” Mr. Towery told The Final Call.
The Million Man March was convened on October 16, 1995, to call Black men to atonement reconciliation and responsibility. A day of no school, no work, no play was declared.

“That friend literally told me that I was going. I was in film school so I really couldn't afford to go but so many people supported us,” says Mr. Towery, 57.

“I felt it would have been improper for me as a film student to go there and not document that day. I had to help preserve it.”

The fruit of his work is now being shown in cities across the country in his documentary titled Glenn & Linus Michael Attend the Million Man March. The film chronicles their experience at the march. In over an hour of footage, images of men arriving, chanting, embracing, gang members uniting, powerful speakers, and exclusive interviews are shown.

“We have to rekindle the spirit of that day. With this film I wanted to capture that spirit, package it and touch our men,” says Mr. Towery, who has won many awards the last several years including the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame award.

A large audience in Houston attended a viewing on September 12 at the Shape Community Center. Dwayne Muhammad, who attended the march, spearheaded the event out of a desire to “inspire us as men to never forget what we witnessed on that day.”

Latif Salley, who was touched by the march to launch a Texas charter school, was moved while viewing the film. “This documentary brought back a lot of memories. It is truly remarkable,” he says.

Mr. Salley is one of the many success stories born out of the march. The march inspired men to launch businesses, helped to decrease crime, increased membership in Black organizations, mobilized millions to become registered voters and overall ignited men to take charge in their communities.

“We cannot let the spirit of that march die. We are going to show this film over and over,” says Deloyd Parker, founder of the Shape Center.

“I literally got chills just watching the trailer of this film. It is so touching and should be shown everywhere,” said Nation of Islam student minister Robert Muhammad.