Schmoke's speech is a rouser, even if unscheduled
Standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke was so inspired by the crowd that he clasped the hand of the man next to him and in an emotional, rousing speech urged all to work hand-in-hand toward a better future.
He did not come to the march to speak, but Mr. Schmoke joined Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and Washington Mayor Marion Barry in addressing the masses of men. Mr. Schmoke described it as "one of the most uplifting experiences I've ever had."
"I was here in 1963 as a teen-ager. At that time, we were to ask something of the government," he told the cheering crowd. "Today, we ask nothing of the government, we ask everything of ourselves."
Mr. Schmoke, who was accompanied by his 24-year-old stepson, Gregory, and a delegation of city officials, paused for a moment to catch his breath when he reached the Mall. "It's just tremendous," he said. "You've got to be proud."
Women are present, too, many with their sons
Though the march was billed as being exclusively for black men, dozens of black women were in the crowd on the Mall; they came alone, coupled with a male or as part of a group of friends. A number had sons in tow.
"[Women] never have been not invited," said Carol Carson Warner, 48, program director at Chicago State University. "We're here to support our men 100 percent. They know they didn't get here without us. They didn't get on the face of the world without us."
Ms. Warner and two other women from her office decided on a whim Saturday afternoon to join the march. They left Chicago at 6 a.m. Sunday and arrived in Washington at 6 o'clock that night.
Lawanda Morgan, 24, of Washington came with her 5-year-old daughter, Shayona.
"I came out here to support our black brothers," she said. "They need to come together as a black race and as a people to support their neighbor and family. They need to put down their guns."
Cynthia Noble and Diana Cooper were strangers until yesterday morning. Both arrived at the Mall alone, but when they saw each other at the same moment near a Metro station around 7 a.m., they became instant buddies.
"I didn't want to come out and be disrespectful, that's why we are kind of standing on the sidelines," said Ms. Noble.
Fraternity brothers taking home a message
More than 300 brothers of the Phi Beta Sigma chapter in Winston Salem, N.C., came to the march yesterday.
"We're going back to our communities to tell our . . . young men that you are somebody," said Ben Piggott, the chapter's vice president. "You are not clowns; you are not buffoons; you are not drug dealers. You are a child of God."
"We are here to get instructions on how to build our communities, build ourselves up from a strong spiritual base."
Boy brings his father, and both are glad
Many fathers brought young sons to the Million Man March. Eleven-year-old Marques Dent brought his dad.
The sixth-grader at St. Paul's School in Baltimore heard Louis Farrakhan talk about the march at a speech he gave at the Baltimore Arena last year. Marques knew then he wanted to attend. "It means a whole lot to black unity and bringing black people all together," said Marques.
His dad, Gilbert, agreed. "We're trying to show we have a place and meaning in this world. It's not all gang-bang and violence," said the 42-year-old emergency management specialist for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Bullets cancel practice so players can march
The Washington Bullets canceled practice at Bowie State today so players could attend the march.
"It was one of the most profound things I've ever experienced in my life," said guard Mitchell Butler. "Seeing African-Americans come out and be supportive in an environment where everyone is there for one single cause."
Guard Calbert Cheaney studied African-American history during his college days at Indiana University.
"Now to be a part of history as well with the Million Man March, I really can't describe how it made me feel," he said