Among the speakers was Rev. Curtis Gatewood, president of the localNAACP branch, and Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, who was fired as nationalexecutive director of the NAACP in August 1994. He recently adoptedMuhammad as part of his name, after joining the Nation of Islam.
At a rally at Duke Auditorium at N.C. Central University thatfollowed the march, the men exhorted their listeners to work to solve theproblems that face the black community. During the march, walkers chanted"Stop the Violence, Increase the Peace, Take Back the Streets."
Muhammad was quoted inThe News & Observeras saying, "We're killing each other, destroying each other, and itmust stop. We have to take the responsibility to stop theself-destruction in our community. No one else is going to do for us whatGod expects us to do for ourselves."
Gatewood's talk encompassed an African perspective on world history,slavery and criticism of the Durham school board, which recently hired awhite superintendent rather than a black candidate.