Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan led some black Americans in a second annual "day of atonement" Thursday, urging them to stay away from work and school to fast and reflect.
Mr. Farrakhan visited inmates in Cook County Jail, urging them to swap crime for lives of faith. Observances were held at some churches in Chicago during the day as well.
The event marked the second anniversary of the "Million Man March" of blacks on Washington, which Mr. Farrakhan organized.
As was the case a year ago, when Mr. Farrakhan called the first atonement day, determining the level of participation was impossible.
In Philadelphia fewer than 400 people gathered near the Liberty Bell for a three-hour rally.
Mr. Farrakhan told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he would not feel disappointed if large numbers of African-Americans did not observe the day. He said Washington Mayor Marion Barry had declared Thursday a holy day of atonement and gave all city workers the day off if they wanted it.