The sidewalks around Madison Square Garden were transformed into a pulsating mass of men and women: young, old, professional, unemployed, students, as thousands amassed at the Garden to hear the message of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on October 7, 1985 in New York City.
Billed as the last lecture of the P.O.W.E.R. (People Organized and Working for Economic Rebirth) tour in North America, the event had been the center of controversy in New York for more than a week, and the turnout of over 50,000 people proved that Minister Farrakhan had ascended to a position with Black people unmatched in Black leadership circles.
Hundreds of New York Police, on foot and horseback began assembling around the Garden several hours before the doors were scheduled to open, and the scene was reminiscent of the urban battlefields, which Black communities had become during the civil rebellions of the 1960s.
Although police on bullhorns and the loud-speakers prematurely broadcast that no tickets were available, by the time the lecture began two hours late, of the 50,000 people gathered, nearly 30,000 got inside the Garden and the adjoining Felt Forum where the lecture broadcast on giant video screens.
The scene at the doors to the Garden was chaotic. People pushed and shoved to ensure that they would get in. When told that they could not take cameras or tape recorders inside, people actually threw them away rather than lose a place in line.
A chant of “Farrakhan, Farrakhan, Farrakhan,” began and the crowds actually surged right through the doors, tearing them off the hinges. Yet, there was no fighting or arguing among the people. The common goal was to get inside to hear the message of P.O.W.E.R. At Last Forever.
Joining Minister Farrakhan among an array of dignitaries were Russell Means, of the American Indian Movement and Ernie Longwalker of the Four Seasons, Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, Zarikat Said representing the Palestine Liberation Organization, songstress Chaka Khan, Lenora Fulani of the National Alliance Party, Queen Mother Moore, and many more representatives of the national and international community.
Madison Square Garden – New York
October 7, 1985