Controversy Over Farrakhan's Speaking Engagement

February 19, 2003

Source: Pensacola News Journal

On February 19, 2003 the Pensacola News Journal reported that "the Pensacola Study Group [in FL], a Nation of Islam affiliate, has been advertising the event - in celebration of the Nation of Islam's Saviour's Day - for weeks. But when [Jim] Paul found out Tuesday that the group was renting the school to broadcast Farrakhan's speech, he refused to sign the contract... 'I have denied the request based upon the fact that Mr. Farrakhan's message is clearly divisive, hateful and most inflammatory,' Paul said Tuesday. 'I can not in good conscience allow taxpayer-purchased facilities to be used as a forum for such rhetoric.' But Escambia County School Board members disagreed. They overturned Paul's decision at their meeting Tuesday evening in a unanimous vote... 'One of the things we cannot do, that will put us in jeopardy, is decide who can or can not speak when we allow many other organizations, religious organizations, to use the facility,' said board member Ronnie Clark, who made the motion to overturn Paul's decision.