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Farrakhan joins Nation of Islam members in South Shore walk

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Updated: August 25, 2012 6:18AM

The yellow school bus rumbled down 79th Street Monday evening, passing by boarded-up store fronts, a shuttered currency exchange and a little church — The Temple of Divine Love.

A few minutes later, the bus pulled up to the curb, and two dozen or so men in suits and starched collars disembarked — stone-faced men, marching in single file, on a mission.

For the second Monday in a row, “the Fruit of Islam,” Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s all-male disciples, flooded a South Side community — this time the South Shore in an effort to help stop the killings that have plagued the city this year. The shootings have caused murders to spike, drawing international attention.

Farrakhan, himself, was out walking the streets.

The men knocked on doors, passed out copies of the Nation
of Islam’s “The Final Call” newspaper and DVDs titled, “Justifiable Homicide: Black Youth In Peril.” They received a grateful, but sometimes skeptical reception.

When one Nation of Islam representative came to Jeanette Parker’s house, he said he was there to help curb the violence.

“How are you going to do that?” asked Parker, a senior citizen.

“This is a stepping stone,” her visitor said politely, dropping off some reading material before moving on to the next house.

“It’s great, but the only thing that’s going to stop the violence are the parents,” said Parker a little later. “Parents will have to come together. Parents know if their kids are gang-bangers or drug dealers.”

Lewis Boggus, 47, a barber, wasn’t sure what to make of the men in bow ties and immaculate suits.

“It’s time for someone to attempt to make some changes because we’ve gone as far down the road to degradation as we can go,” Boggus said.

“If this is an attempt at a publicity stunt, then nothing will change. But if they are earnestly attempting to stop the violence, then they have my 100 percent support.”

Monday’s event was part of a campaign seeking to re-capture the positive self-awareness that followed the Million Man March in 1995. A similar effort is under way in more than 100 cities where the Nation of Islam has a mosque or study group.

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