Asalaam Alaikum, all my brothers and sisters. Well, I hardly know how to get started, but I can let you know in advance that we’re not going to keep you here tonight very long. I first have to make a confession—I almost didn’t get here tonight; something came up, a situation developed where we were going to almost have to postpone our little brief talk until next Sunday. But thanks to the one that created the universe—some call him God; some call him a whole lot of things; I call him Allah—I’m thankful to be able to be here.
Now, brothers and sisters, all I would like to do tonight, and I beg your forgiveness, is to give you a brief sketch or outline on some experiences that I’ve had during the past eighteen weeks. It’s certainly good to be back, although I don’t know how a black man can leave a black continent and come back to a white continent and say it’s good to be back I would like to give a brief sketch to you concerning some of the experiences that I’ve had, some of the things I’ve seen, some of the things I’ve heard, so that you can evaluate them with your own mind.
The reason that it has to be brief is that I have to leave the country again this week I’ll be back next Sunday, but I’m involved in a debate at Oxford University in England, outside of London, on Thursday. I have to go there for that, and then come back here for a rally which we’re going to have next Sunday night, at which time we are going to try and get some experts to come and give us an outline of exactly what has taken place in the Congo, so that the black people in Harlem won’t have to be involved in a situation where we’ll be sitting on the log, wondering what’s going on. I think that you and I should realize that the time has come for us to let the world know that we’re not only interested in some kind of integrated situation in the United States, but we’re interested in taking our place on the world stage, and we’re interested in anything that involves black people anywhere on this earth.
It would be a crime for you and me to be in a city that has more black people in it than any other city on this earth, New York City, and be silent in the face of the criminal action of the United States government in conjunction with Belgium in the Congo. I mean criminal, criminal action that this government has involved itself in. Lyndon B. Johnson—he said it today, he’s to blame. He doesn’t have to say it; we know he’s to blame before he said it. He waited until the people had voted for him and he got in, and things got cut and dried. Then he got in cahoots with Belgium—one of the worst racist governments that has ever existed on the face of the earth, Belgium. This government, in conjunction with that government, is dropping paratroopers in the Congo under the pretext that it’s some kind of humanitarian operation.
So next Sunday night we are going to try and get some of our African brothers and some of our Afro- American brothers who are well versed in the facts concerning the history of the Congo to tell how the white man happened to be over there in the first place, why he is over there still and finds it so difficult to leave, and most important of all, what are the factors behind the deep-rooted hostility that seems to lie in the hearts of our Congolese brothers toward them. We want to know if our brothers are savage, as they keep implying, or are they justified in the feelings that they’ve been displaying toward these people who are over there in their land, not by their invitation?
I don’t want to get on that, but this is what we want next Sunday night, and we’re going to try and get some help in outlining the incidents that led up to the present situation in the Congo today. But never believe what you read in the newspapers—they’re not going to tell you the truth. The truth isn’t in them. Not when it comes to the Congo; they can’t tell the truth. I was on the radio with a man the other night, and he had the nerve to tell on the air about some Congolese atrocities, and the benevolence of the Belgian government, and how Belgian atrocities never took place. I didn’t believe that a white man, so intelligent, would have so much nerve in 1964. I could see him taking that stand in 1924, or even 1944, or maybe 1954, but not 1964.
So, brothers and sisters, when I left here on the 9th of July, it was primarily because I had just been successful in starting a new religious organization which many of you have heard about, the Muslim Mosque, Incorporated, and we had also just been successful in organizing a new nonreligious organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. One of the main reasons for undertaking the journey was to lay a foundation. It is impossible for any black group in America to become involved in any kind of religion that doesn’t have roots directly connected with some source in the East. And it is impossible for any black group in America to become involved in any kind of political organization that doesn’t have some roots directly connected with our roots on the African continent. This is the era of revolution.
Now I must just take time to clarify what I mean before some of these pencil-scratchers misquote me, which they’re going to do anyway. You notice two years ago the American press was calling your and my struggle a revolution—“Negro revolution, Negro revolution.” Now, they didn’t mind calling it that, and they didn’t mind you referring to it as that, because they knew that what was happening was no revolution. But when you start using the word “evolution” in its real sense, then they get shaky. They start classifying you as a fanatic, or something subversive or seditious, or other than a law-abiding person. But today we’re living in an era of revolution, which means an era of change, when people who are being oppressed want a change. And they don’t want a gradual change. They don’t want the change that comes year by year, or week by week, or month by month. They want a change right now.
Cairo is one of the cities on this earth that has the headquarters for more revolutionary movements, I imagine, than any other city. By the way, when I got there, as you know, they were having the African summit conference. All of our brothers were over there, getting together, discussing the problems of the world. It was a beautiful sight, especially when you live in a country where you and I don’t have any chance to discuss anything but an integrated cup of coffee, or how to integrate some toilet in Mississippi. When you go and find independent African nations, headed by their leaders, their heads of state, sitting down and discussing problems of the world, the economic, political, and social problems of the world, why, it makes you feel good, it makes you get a new lease on life.
When I got there, there was a great deal of pressure already being put on various segments of the African community to not open any doors, and these pressures were being put down by this government. I started not to say this government, but I’m going to tell the truth the way it is, let the chips fall where they may.
They had their men over there running around like mad with their money, trying to make it impossible for any American Negro to be included in any way in any conference dealing with Africans, or dealing with international affairs. They try to give the impression over there that you and I aren’t interested in international affairs, that you and I are interested only in integrating Mississippi. This is the image that is very skillfully spread abroad of the American Negro, that you and I cannot see beyond the shores of America—that our minds and our thoughts and our desires and our hopes are limited to everything right here.
Naturally, any African who would believe this is shocked when he sees an Afro-American coming to an international conference, especially a conference that’s composed just of independent African states. Some of them this government has tried to give the impression over there that you and I don’t even identify with Africa. And some of them get shocked when they see you and me turning in their direction.
I’m telling you, they’ve done a vicious job. This thing they call the USIS, the United States Information Service, is one of the most vicious organs that has ever been put together and sent anywhere by any country. It will make that propaganda machine that Goebbels had, under Hitler, look like child’s play.
Why, in every African country the USIS window has pictures in it, showing the passage of the civil rights bill to make it look like the problems of every Negro over here have been solved. Go in any African country, and you know before you get there what’s going to be in the window. They use the passage of the civil rights bill to make it appear that Negroes aren’t being lynched any more, that Negroes’ voting rights aren’t being trampled upon any more, that police aren’t busting Negroes’ heads with clubs any more, nor are they using dogs and violence and water hoses to wash us down the drain. They make it appear that the civil rights bill created a paradise in the United States for the 22 million Negroes. This is the thing they call USIS. It does a very bad job of creating the wrong image and giving the wrong impression.
To show you how vicious they are—I’m within my rights to attack it; actually I’m not attacking it, I’m only analyzing it. On the 4th of November, the date that the election was over, the USIS circulated a document on me throughout the African continent—knocking me, you know. Here I am, just a little old poor so-called Negro from Harlem, and they’re going to waste all their paper trying to tell Africans, “Don’t listen to what that man says, because he doesn’t represent anything, and doesn’t represent anybody, and has always been discredited.” That’s your USIS. I say a prayer for them.
I want to say this too, in passing, for the benefit of our Muslim brothers and sisters who might be here from some of the Muslim countries, and might get a bit nervous over what I’m saying, and the way I’m saying it. This is not a religious meeting. When I come to a meeting sponsored by the OAAU, which is the Organization of Afro-American Unity, I put my religion in this pocket right here, and keep it here. And when I talk like this, it doesn’t mean I’m less religious, it means I’m more religious.
I believe in a religion that believes in freedom. Any time I have to accept a religion that won’t let me fight a battle for my people, I say to hell with that religion. That’s why I am a Muslim, because it’s a religion that teaches you an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It teaches you to respect everybody, and treat everybody right. But it also teaches you if someone steps on your toe, chop off their foot. And I carry my religious axe with me all the time.
You know they have freedom movements on the African continent. There are many liberation movements; there are movements of Africans from South Africa, from Mozambique, from South-West Africa, Bechuanaland, Swaziland, Angola. In every country, in every area on the African continent that has not tossed aside the shackles of colonialism, they have developed a liberation movement, and the purpose of these liberation movements is to throw aside the oppressor.
After the summit conference, the most respected groups were these freedom fighters. The heads of the various liberation movements from the different parts of the African continent were all housed on a ship that was anchored in the Nile River—a ship called the Isis. They were placed there so that they could all be together, and discuss the problems that they had in common. At the same time it was excellent for security purposes, because you can’t get on a boat so easily.
I was blessed with the opportunity to live on that boat with the leaders of the liberation movements, because I represented an Afro-American liberation movement—Afro-American freedom fighters. And all of us were on there together. It gave me an opportunity to study, to listen and study the type of people involved in the struggle—their thinking, their objectives, their aims and their methods. It opened my eyes to many things. And I think I was able to steal a few ideas that they used, and tactics and strategy, that will be most effective in your and my freedom struggle here in this country.
Some of them were nonviolent—I didn’t listen too long to any of those. And others really want freedom. When a person places a proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won’t do to get it, or what he doesn’t believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn’t believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire or achieve his freedom, and he will do anything under the sun to preserve his freedom. And the only reason you and I here in America don’t yet have freedom is we haven’t yet matured to that stage where we can see this is the real price, or the real attitude, or the real approach that one must make.
I was, as I said, in Egypt, the United Arab Republic, for two months, and then left and went to Mecca, where I was for about a week; I was in Saudi Arabia for about a week, and Mecca a couple of days. I left there and went to Kuwait, where all the oil is, on the Persian Gulf, and from there to Beirut in Lebanon. After spending two months there, in the Middle East, then I went on into other parts of Africa, the first stop being Khartoum where, since then, they’ve had a whole lot of trouble—which they should have had. Now everything is all settled; they had a revolution, and got people that didn’t belong in power out of power—that’s how you do it. And that’s what they did, the students.
The students all over the world are the ones who bring about a change; old people don’t bring about a change. I mean I’m not saying this against anybody that’s old—because if you’re ready for some action you’re not old, I don’t care how old you are. But if you’re not ready for some action, I don’t care how young you are, you’re old. As long as you want some action, you’re young. But any time you begin to sit on the fence, and your toes start shaking because you’re afraid too much action is going down, then you’re too old; you need to get on out of the way. Some of us get too old while we’re still in our teens.
So, I went through Khartoum to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which is a wonderful country. It has its problems, and it’s still a wonderful country. Some of the most beautiful people I’ve seen are in Ethiopia, and most intelligent and most dignified, right there in Ethiopia. You hear all kinds of propaganda about Ethiopia. But any time a person tries to tell you, as they’ve told you and me, that Ethiopians don’t think they’re the same as we are, that’s some of that man’s manufacturing. He made that up. You know who I mean when I say “that man.” They’re just as friendly toward us as anybody else is.
I was there for about a week, and went on into Kenya, a place which really knocked me out. If ever I saw any Africans who looked like they have the potential for explosion, it’s our good Kikuyu brothers in Kenya. I was discussing my opinion of the people of Kenya, especially in Nairobi, with some friends while I was there, and I told them that I was looking at the faces of these people, and they looked like they can explode. And they do; they look like they can explode, more so than any place I went on the continent. You can just see, right in their faces, energy. Now if you channel it in the right direction, it goes in the right direction; if you let it go in the wrong direction, it goes in the wrong direction—but they’ve got the energy, that’s the most important thing.
And as proof that they can explode, they exploded the other day. When the United States, with her criminal action in the Congo—and that’s what it is, criminal action in the Congo—they marched on the embassy there in Nairobi, tore it up. And that shows you what the Africans feel. They don’t like to see anybody exploiting another African or oppressing another African; they stick together, and you and I can learn that’s what we’re supposed to do. When something happens in Mississippi, we don’t have to go to Mississippi—they’ve got some people that look just like those in Mississippi, right here.
My contention is, those up here are just as much responsible for what’s happening down there as those down there. And when you and I let them know that we hold all of them responsible, then all of them will start acting right. They’ll keep those others in line. But as long as you and I make them think they can pass the buck, then they will be passing the buck, they’ll be telling us, you know, “Mississippi,” and they’re doing the same thing right here.
So, when I left Kenya, I went to Zanzibar and Tanganyika; now it’s called Tanzania. And I never went anywhere that has pleased me more than that place. It’s beautiful—all of Africa is beautiful—but in Tanganyika, it’s a very beautiful place. It’s hot, it’s like Miami, Miami is hot, and if these people pay as much money as they do to live in Miami, why, you know, the entire African continent where I went is just like Miami Beach. And they’re always telling you and me, you know, how difficult a time we would have trying to adjust if we went over there. I’m telling you, if you want to integrate, go to Africa. There are more white people over there than there are over here. That’s where they all are. They’re over there living like kings, basking in the sun.
And when we go back in that sense, then this spiritual bond that is created makes us inseparable, and they can see that our problem is their problem, and their problem is our problem. Our problem is not solved until theirs is solved, theirs is not solved until ours is solved. And when we can develop that kind of relationship, then it means that we will help them solve their problems, and we want them to help us solve our problems. And by both of us working together, we’ll get a solution to that problem. We will only get that problem solved by working together.
This was the essence of every discussion—that the problems are one, that the destiny is the same, the origin is the same. Even the experiences are the same; they catch hell, we catch hell. And no matter how much independence they’ve got, on that land, on the mother continent, if we don’t have it over here, and don’t have respect over here, when they come over here they are mistaken for one of us and they are disrespected too. So in order to be respected, we must be respected.
And I say, brothers and sisters, they’re beginning to see this. They’re beginning to see that the problems are one. They are interested in our problems, but they were shocked to learn that we were also interested in their problems. And if I would have any advice to give to our people here in the Western Hemisphere, I would say that it has been almost criminal on our part, all the organizations that we have, for us not to have tried to make some kind of direct contact, direct communication, with our brothers on the African continent before.
We should never let the white man represent us to them, and we should never let him represent them to us. It is our job today to represent ourselves, as they are representing themselves. We don’t need someone else representing us. We don’t want anybody to tell somebody how we think We will let the world know how we think We don’t want any handkerchief-head set up by the State Department as a spokesman for us, telling the world how we think; we want the world to know how we think We want the world to know we don’t like what Sam is doing in the Congo to our brothers and sisters.
I must say this, in brief. I was talking to a brother from the Congo, who was very angry. I was in Tanganyika, he had just come from Leopoldville, and he was very angry because he told me that out of all of the paratroopers, or eighty paratroopers—you’ll have to stop handing me these things while I’m up here, it’s getting like Grand Central Station, you send my mind somewhere else. He was telling me that he was very angry at American Negroes. And he was talking about us, you know, like a dog. Not me, because he knows what I represent. The best thing the white man ever did for me was to make me look like a monster all over the world. Because I can go any place on the African continent and our African brothers know where I stand.
He was angry because he said that most of the paratroopers, the American soldiers that were guarding these transports that Tshombe was using, were American Negroes; that they put American soldiers in there. I never had a chance to check it out. Normally I wouldn’t stand up in a public meeting and say it, but when I first heard it, and I heard it from an Afro-American who works over there, I went to track this brother from the Congo down. He’s a very intelligent fellow, and he said “Yes,” and he was hot, you know. And so I sat down to let him know that all of us don’t think like that. That they had to go all over the United States with a microscope and find that many Negroes dumb enough to let themselves be sent to the Congo—imagine, a Negro that lets himself be sent to the Congo!—in a uniform, against people who look just like he does. Why, he should be shot. So I let him know that that wasn’t us, that was somebody else.
Also, brothers and sisters, you know Tshombe. You’ve heard of him. From what I understand, Tshombe arrives in the United States on Tuesday. He’s got a whole lot of nerve. The best thing they did for him in Cairo was when they locked him up. That protected him. Because Tshombe can’t go to any country where there are true black men, true black men, and walk the street in safety. This is the worst African that was ever born. The worst African that was ever born. This is the man who in cold blood, cold blood, committed an international crime—murdered Patrice Lumumba, murdered him in cold blood. The world knows that Tshombe murdered Lumumba. And now he’s a bed partner for Lyndon B. Johnson. Yes, a bed partner. They’re sleeping together, they’re sleeping together. When I say sleeping together, I don’t mean that literally. But beyond that they’re in the same bed. Johnson is paying the salaries, paying the government, propping up Tshombe’s government, this murderer. It is the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, the man you voted for—you were insane, out of your mind, out of your head, to vote for a man like that; drunk But I don’t blame you, you just were tricked. I told you a fox will always get business.
So Tshombe arrives here on Tuesday. And many of our brothers that belong to the African student association plan to give him a welcome. Shucks, I have a religion that believes in hospitality. Everybody should be welcome—according to their just desserts. So the brother that’s involved in this, I think Sidi Ali—where is he? Sidi Ali, come and give this announcement. This is our brother, Sidi Ali of Ghana.
[Sidi Ali speaks.]
Brothers and sisters, I have some quick announcements.
Next week the Audubon is not available, so our next meeting will be on the 13th, which will be two weeks from tonight. At that time the topic will be “The Congo Crisis.” I imagine the crisis won’t be over. Because it’s of such nature that they’re in there now and they can’t come out with clean hands. It’s almost impossible for them to pull out. They went in there and killed people; now, when they pull back out, what do you think will happen? They can’t get out of it like that.
One thing you must always bear in mind, as our brother pointed out, these young brothers that are in the Stanleyville area, Oriental Province, are not rebels, as the press continues to refer to them. They call themselves Simbas, which means lions, you know, meaning they’ve got it. They’re freedom fighters, and your and my heart should be with theirs. They are men, they are men, the proof of which is they are dying to get their freedom. They’re killing too, but so what? They’ve been killed themselves—all they do is believe in equality. What’s good for the goose is good for the goose.
Also, always bear in mind, that the only Congolese soldiers that are winning any battles, or that have won any battles, have been those brothers who are the freedom fighters. The Congolese soldiers that fight for Tshombe don’t win battles. They were giving up in the face of the freedom fighters. They were giving up the entire Congo. They were evacuating the place and the United States got desperate. That’s why they went and got Tshombe, went all the way up in Spain, where Tshombe had retired, had given up, was living the life, and they talked him into going back to the Congo and becoming the premier.
As soon as they got him back into position as premier, the first thing he did was bring in some white mercenaries, murderers—because that’s what a mercenary means, it means a hired killer. And this government, the United States government, supplies the salaries for these hired killers from your tax dollars. Every time you pay your taxes you are paying the salary for those white blue-eyed murderers there in the Congo who are killing the Congolese. There’s nobody in the State Department can deny it.
In fact, I read in the paper today where Lyndon B. Johnson said he’d take full responsibility. He should take full responsibility. He’s pulling the same kind of an act over there in the Congo that they’ve been pulling in Texas on you and me for the past two or three hundred years. That’s a Texas act. You know what kind of act goes on in Texas. But they can’t win because the only way Tshombe can remain premier is with help from the outside. He must get white help. So, as long as Tshombe remains the premier of the Congo, it means the white man is going to have to continue sending white soldiers in there to rescue him. And he’ll lose every white soldier he has, he’ll lose them in there.
So, those brothers know what they’re doing—in fact, what you and I need to do. What you and I need to do. Many of us are vets, we’ve had all kind of experience. You’ve seen all kinds of action, haven’t you? But you’ve never seen any action for yourself, and you’ve never seen any action for anybody who is of your own land. Many of you are unemployed. We might put on a drive right here in Harlem to raise up some black mercenaries to take over there to show them what to do.
You see, there’s some kind of cultural, psychological block in the minds of our brothers there, or these white mercenaries wouldn’t have the advantage. All they have is the psychological advantage. They wouldn’t have that on you and me. You and I don’t have that block, we don’t have that cultural block because they destroyed our culture. We can think just like they think now. We can do the same thing they can do. You just give me ten black ones and we’ll eat up fifty of those white ones. Eat them up.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Why? Because this government, this same government has recruited what they call “anti-Castro Cubans.” Which means they’re American. And this government sends them over there to bomb the Congolese. But they’re afraid to say that they’re American pilots, so they say they’re anti-Castro Cuban pilots. Okay, we’ve got black people who can fly planes—we’ve been flying them for the man. Instead of you sitting around here driving a bus, remember how you used to fly a plane for him, get on over there and get with it on the right side. If they can send white ones against black ones, we can recruit and send black ones against white ones. I frankly believe that it would be most exciting. I know a whole lot of Afro-Americans would go for free—would go for fun. We don’t need any money, we just want to get even.
Now, I’m going to tell you what they’re going to do, because I know them. In the paper tomorrow you’re going to read that a whole lot of frantic, you know, statements were made. As long as there are white people going over there shooting black people, nothing is said—they glorify them. But when you and I start talking like we want to do the same thing to some of them, then we’re fanatics, we’re bloodthirsty. But I think then the white man should know one thing—when I say white man, I’m not saying all of you, whatever you are, because some of you might be all right. And whichever one of you acts all right with me, you’re all right with me, as long as you act all right. But if you don’t act all right, you’re not all right. All you’ve got to do to be all right with me is act all right. But don’t come thinking you’re all right just because you’re white. I think that point has to be made because if you don’t clarify it, they go out of here saying you’re a racist, that you’re against all white people. We’re not against all white people. We’re against all those that aren’t right, all of them that aren’t right.
We purposely aren’t going to have any question and answer period tonight. I don’t think we need one. But we are going to take up a collection because we pay for this hall and we won’t be able to get back here two weeks from now unless we pay for it. And when I say we pay for it, you know, we. Just let me take five minutes right now real quick before I forget while the brothers are coming to take up a collection.
And again, as soon as you start taking up a collection, you’ll read in the papers tomorrow morning: “what they did—they took up a collection.” They write like they’re out of their mind. They always are intelligent until they come around us. When you read what they write someplace else, they write intelligently. But when we let them in here and let them write, then they write things that aren’t even of interest. [Shouts from the audience.] You say, “Why let them in?” Sometime I’ll tell you why I let them in. But if you don’t want them in here, then keep them out.
[During the collection, Malcolm makes further announcements. He reports the arrival of an African Muslim teacher from Mecca and tells when and where he will be speaking. To offset any feeling of religious favoritism, he offers “to make an announcement for (any) church you belong to, church or synagogue.” He promises an effort will be made to get scholars and experts from the United Nations to speak at the next rally, “So we won’t have to go by what we read in the newspapers.” Then he continues:]
I think our brother, Sidi Ali, did a wonderful job in destroying that myth about cannibalism. The man is always trying to make it look like our people are cannibals. The only cannibal I’ve ever seen, the only persons I’ve ever seen who eat up people, are those people. Not our people, those people. I’m not saying who those people are, whoever fits “those.” And usually they end up trying to put all those characteristics on us to hide their own guilt. They shouldn’t do that. It should be emphasized over and over and over by you and me that we aren’t racists. One of the worst categories to let them put you in is the category of racist.
I’m not a racist. I don’t judge a man because of his color. I get suspicious of a lot of them and cautious around a lot of them—from experience. Not because of their color, but because of what experience has taught me concerning their overall behavior toward us. So, please don’t ever go away saying that we are against people because of their color. We are against them because of what they do to us and because of what they do to others. All they have to do to get our good will is to show their good will and stop doing all those dirty things to our people. Is that understood?
Also, within the next couple of weeks we will spell out the type of support we got on our effort to bring the United States into the United Nations and charge her with violating our human rights. You and I must take this government before a world forum and show the world that this government has absolutely failed in its duty toward us. It has failed from Washington, D.C., all the way in to New York City. They have failed in their duty toward you and me. They have failed to protect us, they have failed to represent us, they have failed to respect us. And since they have failed, either willingly or because of their inability, we think that they should be brought up there so the world can see them as they actually are.
Now, if this government doesn’t want to have her linen washed in public, then we give her a week or two to get her house in order. And if she can’t get it in order in two weeks, then get on out there with South Africa and Portugal and the rest of those criminals who have been exploiting and abusing dark-skinned people now for far too long. We’re all fed up. Right? Right.
[Malcolm introduces Jesse Gray, who suggests that the place to send black mercenaries is Mississippi, and concludes: “It’s always very easy for us to be ready to move and ready to talk and ready to act, but unless we truly get down into the heart of the ghetto and begin to deal with the problems of jobs, schools, and the other basic questions, we are going to be unable to deal with any revolutionary perspective, or with any revolution for that matter.” Malcolm then says:]
That was our brother Jesse Gray, the leader of the Harlem rent strikes, and what he said is true. When I speak of some action for the Congo, that action also includes Congo, Mississippi. But the point and thing that I would like to impress upon every Afro-American leader is that there is no kind of action in this country ever going to bear fruit unless that action is tied in with the overall international struggle.
You waste your time when you talk to this man, just you and him. So when you talk to him, let him know your brother is behind you, and you’ve got some more brothers behind that brother. That’s the only way to talk to him, that’s the only language he knows. Why do I say, “Make sure your brother is behind you”? Because you’re going to have to fight this man, believe me, yes, you’re going to have to fight him. You’re going to have to fight him. He doesn’t know any other language.
You can go and talk that old pretty talk to him, he doesn’t even hear you. He says yes, yes, yes. You know, you can’t communicate if one man is speaking French and the other one is speaking German. They’ve both got to speak the same language. Well, in this country you’re dealing with a man who has a language. Find out what that language is. Once you know what language he speaks in, then you can talk to him. And if you want to know what his language is, study his history. His language is blood, his language is power, his language is brutality, his language is everything that’s brutal.
And if you can’t talk that talk, he doesn’t even hear you. You can come talking that old sweet talk, or that old peace talk, or that old nonviolent talk—that man doesn’t hear that kind of talk. He’ll pat you on your back and tell you you’re a good boy and give you a peace prize. How are you going to get a peace prize when the war’s not over yet? I’m for peace, but the only way you’re going to preserve peace is be prepared for war.
Never let anybody tell you and me the odds are against us—I don’t even want to hear that. Those who think the odds are against you, forget it. The odds are not against you. The odds are against you only when you’re scared. The only things that makes odds against you is a scared mind. When you get all of that fright off of you, there’s no such thing as odds against you. Because when a man knows that when he starts playing with you, he’s got to kill you, that man is not going to play with you. But if he knows when he’s playing with you that you’re going to back up and be nonviolent and peaceful and respectable and responsible, why, you and me will never come out of his claws.
Let him know that you’re peaceful, let him know that you’re respectful and you respect him, and that you’re law-abiding, and that you want to be a good citizen, and all those right-thinking things. But let him know at the same time that you’re ready to do to him what he’s been trying to do to you. And then you’ll always have peace. You’ll always have it. Learn a lesson from history, learn a lesson from history.
I must say this once before we close. I don’t want you to think that I’m coming back here to rabble-rouse, or to get somebody excited. I don’t think you have to excite our people; the man already has excited us. And I don’t want you to think that I’m ready for some unintelligent action, or some irresponsible action, or for just any old thing just to be doing something. No. I hope that all of us can sit down with a cool head and a clear mind and analyze the situation, in the back room, anywhere, analyze the situation; and after we give the proper analysis of what we’re confronted by, then let us be bold enough to take whatever steps that analysis says must be taken. Once we get it, then let’s do it, and we’ll be able to get some kind of result in this freedom struggle.
But don’t let anybody who is oppressing us ever lay the ground rules. Don’t go by their game, don’t play the game by their rules. Let them know now that this is a new game, and we’ve got some new rules, and these rules mean anything goes, anything goes. Are you with me, brothers? I know you’re with me.
So, again I thank you and we will look for all of you out here, if possible, two weeks from tonight on the 13th of December. By the way, I want to tell you, I was in Paris Monday night before Alioune Diop’s group, Presence Africaine. Many of our people in Paris, as well as from the African continent, are organizing, and they are just as concerned with what is going on over here as you and I are. You and I have to link up with our people who are in Paris—when I say our people, you know, us—we have to link up with our people who are in London, England. We’ve got a whole lot of them over there, brothers, I saw them.
We’ve got to link up with our people who are in the Caribbean, in Trinidad, in Jamaica, in all the islands, and we’ve got to link up with our people who are in Central America and South America. Everywhere you see someone who looks like us, we’ve got to get together. And once we get together, brothers, we can get some action, because we’ll find we are not the underdog. All those odds this man’s talking about don’t exist. He put them in our minds—right or wrong? Very good. So we thank you, and we’ll see you in two weeks. May Allah bless you.