feature: one million strong: photos from the million man, million woman, and million youth marches

March 14, 2014

Filmmaker/Photographer Katina Parker has launched a funding campaign to self­publish One Million Strong: Photos from the Million Man, Million Woman and Million Youth Marches (Fall 2014).

Inspired by the traveling exhibit, One Million Strong is rooted in the era of political and community organizing that occurred within Black communities during the years 1995­2005 ­ the last era in which civil rights luminaries Min. Louis Farrakhan, Dr. Cornell West, Dr. Dorothy Height, and many more, collectively organized African Americans to address race­based social and economic ills that daily impact their quality of life.

“October 16, 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. As we approach this milestone, we are in danger of squandering the lessons and the legacy of what is arguably the most dynamic and inclusive period of large­scale, African American­led social protests in U.S. history,” says Parker. “If we want our children to experience freedom and safety, we must ground ourselves in our enduring tradition as warriors for justice and peacekeepers of our future.”

Shot almost exclusively on black and white film, One Million Strong is a 360­page photographic memoir, containing more than 300 images taken by Parker, and guided by her personal narrative of the 10 years she spent documenting the Million Man March (Washington, D.C.) and the subsequent political/cultural gatherings it inspired ­ the World Day of Atonement in New York City (1996); the Million Woman March in Philadelphia (1997); the Million Youth March in Harlem (1998); the Million Youth Movement in Atlanta (1998); the Million Family March in Washington, DC. (2000); and the Millions More Movement March in Washington, DC (2005).

While more than 4 million participated in the marches, to date, there are 5 photo books about the Million Man March and no photo books about the 6 marches that followed. The first and only book of its breadth and scope, One Million Strong includes commentary from noteworthy thought leaders, as they explore the legacy of Black people’s fierce opposition to racism in America.


“I have known Katina Parker for more than 20 years as my student and my friend. In that time, I have witnessed Katina’s accelerated growth as a brilliant visual and word artist,” said Dr. Maya Angelou, who spoke at the Million Man March and serves as a mentor to Parker. “All of the media she has chosen to work in reflect the heart of someone who searches for originality, meaning, and excellence.”

Both Deborah Willis, MacArthur Fellow and Chair of the New York University Photography Department, and Jamel Shabazz, internationally­acclaimed documentary photographer, are providing mentorship support for the book and exhibit.

“Katina has an incredible eye and a proven track record of using media to create visibility for social justice issues that impact African Americans. Rare is her ability to follow a subject year in and year out, while developing a constructive narrative, thoughtful analysis and intriguing personal perspective,” said Shabazz, who is contributing editorial content for One Million Strong. “It is a true joy knowing that through One Million Strong, a major part of our history and culture has been documented by her lens, providing balance and hope. The spirit of love is transmitted in every image she captures.”

Previously, the traveling exhibit has shown at the National Black Theater Festival (Winston­Salem, NC), the North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, NC), and the International Center & Civil Rights Museum (Greensboro, NC). Exhibitions for 2015 are being planned.

“Many debate whether the Million Man March accomplished anything,” says Parker. “I submit myself and my body of work as confirmation that it did. I submit the many thousands of people I know who attended, who continue to speak about the ways in which that one single day encouraged them to re­imagine themselves as agents for social change. Our children need to see these images. We need to see these images. They serve as firm reminders of our bold commitment and our attainable goal ­ freedom and equality.”

With a funding goal of $20,000, all money raised for One Million Strong goes towards design, editing, and print costs. Perks for this campaign include exhibit prints on artist­grade metal, autographed copies of the book, and downloadable e­books (iPad, iPod, Kindle). To view the campaign video and additional materials visit:

Katina Parker teaches social media and film through the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University. She spent 10 years working as a creative director in Los Angeles, where her body of work encompassed directing and producing films and multi­camera TV, graphic design, and photography. Her clients included Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Saul Williams and Cody ChesnuTT. She received her M.F.A. in Film Production from the University of Southern California and her B.A. in Speech Communications from Wake Forest University.