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Women Barred from Farrakhan Speech

March 11, 1994

BOSTON (AP) _ Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke out on black-on-black crime Thursday in a speech that left some women supporters disappointed because only men were allowed to attend.

About two dozen women huddled under the Strand Theater marquee shortly before the start of Farrakhan’s speech. Some chanted, ″We love the black men,″ while others argued with members of the Nation of Islam.

″I’m not mad, but I am disappointed, ″ said Danya Best, one of the women. ″I wanted to see the man. I hope he comes back and gives us women equal time, something like this. I’m going to tell the Nation.″

Earlier, the Nation of Islam had said all comers would be allowed to attend, and police asked the women if they wanted to file a complaint. One woman said she would.

Geri Guardino, executive director of the M. Harriet McCormack Center for the Arts, which runs the Strand, said she was assured by a Nation official that the speech would be open.

Inside, an audience of 1,400 greeted Farrakhan with a standing ovation.

″It’s a privilege and an honor to be back home tonight in Boston to do something I don’t believe ever has been done before in the history of black people in America, and that is to call black men together to talk about our future,″ said Farrakhan, who grew up in the city’s Roxbury section.

″To the women who are outside, who are very disturbed because they want to see their brother too, we must say until we strengthen the black men, there will be no family, no progress for black people in America,″ he said.

Farrakhan urged people in the audience to begin taking responsibility for themselves, their families and their communities.

″Put your money together,″ he urged. ″Everybody is buying up America but you. You’re buying drugs. You’re buying foolishness. CBS was up for sale a couple of years ago. With all the money we spent on drugs, we could have bought CBS. Think about it.″

Also Thursday, Khallid Abdul Muhammad, the former Farrakhan assistant who called Jews ″bloodsuckers″ in a speech last year, visited a Jewish museum in Philadelphia.

Surrounded by seven bodyguards, Muhammad signed the visitor’s register at both the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Afro American Historical and Cultural Museum. The two institutions organized exhibits titled ″Bridges and Boundaries.″

Muhammad said both exhibits were moving. But he said society needs to equally address the history of blacks and Jews.

″If it is God almighty’s will that bridges be built between blacks and Jews, then those bridges must have an infrastructure that is based on truth, justice, equity and fairness,″ he said.

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