Farrakhan speaks at Jackson State - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Farrakhan speaks at Jackson State

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By Howard Ballou - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - He is one of America's Most outspoken and controversial figures and Friday night, Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Chicago based Nation of Islam, was in Jackson.

Farrakhan is addressing the sixth annual Conference of the Veterans of The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.

It is an appearance that some object to and others embrace.

Jackson State University's Rose McCoy Auditorium has a 3500 seat capacity. All seats were filled and more people were coming in to hear the 77-year-old leader of the Nation Of Islam.

There were tributes in song, poetic tributes, and tributes in drama. There were also welcomes from The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus and a resolution read by Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes, welcoming the fiery minister to the City of Jackson.

"Because so embody gonna say something. It's signed by all the black members of the Jackson City Council." Stokes said.

One of the white council members who did not sign the resolution is newly elected Ward One Councilman Quentin Whitwell.

He said, "First of all, I certainly commemorate the civil rights movement and very excited to support any commemoration of the Freedom Riders, but I think it is inappropriate for Louis Farrakhan to come here because he has said some divisive and hateful things.."

Farrakhan has been criticized for comments about religion, politics and race. Some call his views antisemitic, racist and homophobic. His Jackson appearance prompted church, business and educational leaders throughout Mississippi to sign letters of protest to the editor calling Farrakhan's selection as speaker for this event, "offensive".

Farrakhan himself summed it up this way, "Wherever I go there's controversy," he said.

He also answered questions about his Civil Rights leadership by saying he has never been a Civil Rights leader, a fact that didn't deter the enthusiasm of those who attended the 6th annual conference of the Veterans of The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.

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