Public Enemy, October 16, 1995

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Roderick Terry, © Roderick Terry

Since its inception, in the spirit of Carter G. Woodson, Sapelo Square has commemorated Black History Month with daily Black Muslim History facts. This year, Sapelo Square is exploring the Muslim collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). During Black History Month, we will display a different object each day from the collection, showing how the objects help tell the rich histories of Muslims of African descent in the United States. View the entire series at our dedicated Black History Month 2021 page.

This photograph taken by Roderick Terry at the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C., depicts a group of men gathered around a black banner with the logo of Hip Hop group Public Enemy. Beginning with their first release Yo! Bum Rush the Show in 1987, Public Enemy regularly referenced Black Islam in their lyrics, sampled Black Muslim voices like Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan in their music, and featured Nation of Islam personnel in their performances. Their 1989 song “Fight the Power” became a rallying cry at gatherings and protests, and their logo a sharp commentary on the ways anti-Blackness has targeted Black people.

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