A 1995 profile of Barack Obama had this news which was apparently a minor stir a couple weeks ago:
Obama took time off from attending campaign coffees to attend October's Million Man March in Washington, D.C.
Needless to say, that event was organized by and featured a keynote speech from Reverend Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam (profiled here). The page biography.com/search/article.do?id=9291850 says that "In 1995, along with other prominent black leaders such as Al Sharpton and Barack Obama, Farrakhan helped lead the Million Man March on Washington", but there doesn't appear to be any evidence that BHO was an actual key organizer of the march.
However, one of the limited number of participants provided by organizers to CNN includes Jeremiah Wright (link; copies of that CNN page from 2001 and 2002 show that BHO's name wasn't on the list then either). Bill Clinton may have supported the MMM itself even as he condemned Farrakhan (link) and, per Dick Morris, as he took steps to be out of town on the day when it was held.
In the 1995 profile Obama makes some now-standard noises, but also says this bit reminiscent of recent comments:
"The right wing, the Christian right, has done a good job of building these organizations of accountability, much better than the left or progressive forces have. But it's always easier to organize around intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and false nostalgia. And they also have hijacked the higher moral ground with this language of family values and moral responsibility.
"Just as holding hands and singing 'We shall overcome' is not going to do it, exhorting youth to have pride in their race, give up drugs and crime, is not going to do it if we can't find jobs and futures for the 50 percent of black youth who are unemployed, underemployed, and full of bitterness and rage... Any solution to our unemployment catastrophe must arise from us working creatively within a multicultural, interdependent, and international economy. Any African-Americans who are only talking about racism as a barrier to our success are seriously misled if they don't also come to grips with the larger economic forces that are creating economic insecurity for all workers--whites, Latinos, and Asians. We must deal with the forces that are depressing wages, lopping off people's benefits right and left, and creating an earnings gap between CEOs and the lowest-paid worker that has risen in the last 20 years from a ratio of 10 to 1 to one of better than 100 to 1."
Needless to say, one of those "larger economic forces" is massive immigration, something that Obama supports and which has a negative impact on those he claims to be interested in helping.
Politics · Mon, 04/14/2008 - 20:23 · Importance: 1