Farrakhan strikes some moderate notes in farewell speech
May be Nation of Islam leader's last major address
Mar 20, 2007
Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, used what was billed as possibly his last major address to urge followers to unite and cooperate with other faiths. But he also used it to reshape the organization’s theology.
“My time is up,” Farrakhan told tens of thousands of people February 25 at Ford Field in Detroit, where the Nation of Islam was holding its annual Saviours’ Day convention. Farrakhan, who turns 74 on May 11, checked out of a Washington, D.C., hospital January 28 after recovering from complications following prostate surgery.
Farrakhan told the crowd that he had been at “death’s door” but had been saved by God and the prayers of people of all faiths, striking an inclusive tone that he maintained throughout his two-hour speech. Still, black pride and unity were a main focus of his message.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).