On Sunday, June 19th, “Juneteenth”, a coalition of several Black self-defense groups, Black militias, and Black Panthers held a “Gathering of the Great Armies” march in Natchez, Mississippi.
Natchez is the site of the “Devil’s Punchbowl,” where many historians describe there being a concentration camp where some estimate 20,000 would-be freed enslaved people died during and right after the civil war.
Following emancipation, the confederate army pushed tens of thousands of ex-slaves toward the Union Army to slow their advance.
The Union Army then formed a walled encampment around the natural pit, and historians say thousands died, here, from starvation and disease.
This coalition of Black power groups used the site as a starting place for their formation.
Police watched but did not intervene or interact as the group marched through town.
Malik Zulu Shabazz, an organizer of the event and once a leader of the New Black Panther Party, paused to offer thanks to Babu Omawale, the founder of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club.
After the march, Shabazz led the several Black defense groups from around the country in signing documents including a “Declaration of the Regulated United Black Militia” to forge an alliance under one umbrella of ideology and objectives.
Included in the coalition were Black Panther groups, the Black Riders Liberation Party, the Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt Gun Club, Sisters of the Underground, Huey P. Newton Gun Club, Black Power Militia, the Black Power Coalition, and more,
With so many organizations from across the country having similar, but not identical, ideologies, Shabazz led the groups in voting on several key points of shared interest.
The group ended up agreeing on core ideological shared beliefs including wanting reparations, a Black-only nation, freeing political prisoners, and a willingness to “stand and fight” for those causes.
Despite the obvious newsworthiness of these several militias from around the country gathering to sign a “Declaration of the Regulated United Black Militia,” no other media covered the event.
The coalition plans to continue marching for their causes, with some saying they may set their sites for next year on the State of Florida.