Local News

Durham Site of Peace Rally

Posted March 9, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Inspired by last year's Million Man March on Washington, D.C., a Thousand-Man Stand was staged in Durham Saturday to protest violence within the black community. The march, which attracted about 250 people, was open to all religions as well as to women and children.

Among the speakers was Rev. Curtis Gatewood, president of the local NAACP branch, and Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, who was fired as national executive director of the NAACP in August 1994. He recently adopted Muhammad as part of his name, after joining the Nation of Islam.

At a rally at Duke Auditorium at N.C. Central University that followed the march, the men exhorted their listeners to work to solve the problems 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 it must stop. We have to take the responsibility to stop the self-destruction in our community. No one else is going to do for us what God 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 a white superintendent rather than a black candidate.