Mr. Moderator, ladies and gentlemen, friends and enemies. Tonight I hope that we can have a little fireside chat with as few sparks as possible being tossed around. Especially because of the very explosive condition that the world is in today. Sometimes, when a person’s house is on fire and someone comes in yelling fire, instead of the person who is awakened by the yell being thankful, he makes the mistake of charging the one who awakened him with having set the fire. I hope that this little conversation tonight about the black revolution won’t cause many of you to accuse us of igniting it when you find it at your doorstep.
I am still a Muslim. That is, my religion is still Islam. I still believe that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah. That just happens to be my personal religion, but in the capacity that I’m functioning in today, I have no intention to mix my religion, with the problems of 22 million black people in this country. just as it’s possible for a great man, whom I greatly respect, Ben Bella, to be a Muslim and still be a nationalist, and another one whom I greatly respect, Gamal Nasser, to be a Muslim and still be a nationalist, and Sukharno, of Indonesia, to be a Muslim and still be a nationalist, it was nationalism that enabled them to gain freedom for their people. I’m still a Muslim but I’m also a nationalist, meaning that my political philosophy is black nationalism, my economic philosophy is black nationalism, my social philosophy is black nationalism, and when I say that this philosophy of black nationalism…to me, this means, that the political philosophy of black nationalism is that which is designed to encourage our people, black people, to gain complete control over the politics and politicians of our own community. Our economic philosophy is that we should gain control over the economy of our community, the businesses and other things that create employment so that we can provide jobs for our own people instead of having to picket and boycott and beg someone else for a job. And in short our social philosophy only means that we feel it is time to get together among our own kind and eliminate the evils that are destroying the moral fiber of our society like drug addiction, drunkeness, welfare problems. We believe that we should lift the level or the standard of our own society to a higher level wherein we will be satisfied and then not inclined towards pushing ourselves into other societies where we’re not wanted. All of that aside, tonight we’re dealing with the black revolution.
During recent years there has been much talk about a population explosion. Whenever they are speaking of the population explosion, in my opinion, they are referring to the people primarily in Asia or in Africa— the black, brown, red, and yellow people. It is seen by people of the West that, as soon as the standard of living is raised in Africa and Asia, automatically the people begin to reproduce abundantly. And there has been a great deal of fear engendered by this in the minds of the people of the West, who happen to be, on this earth, a very small minority.
In fact, in most of the thinking and planning of whites in the West today, it’s easy to see that fear in their minds, conscious minds and subconscious minds, that the masses of dark people in the East, who already outnumber them, will continue to increase and multiply and grow until they eventually overrun the people of the West like a human sea, a human tide, a human flood. And the fear of this can be seen in the minds, and in the actions, of most of the people here in the West in practically everything that they do. It governs their political views, it governs their economic views and it governs most of their attitudes toward the present society.
I was listening to Dirksen, the senator from Illinois, in Washington D.C. filibustering the Civil Rights Bill and one of the things that he kept stressing over and over and over was that if this bill is passed, it will change the social structure of America. Well, I know what he’s getting at, and I think that most other people today, and especially our people, know what is meant when these whites, who filibuster these bills, express fears of changes in the social structure. Our people are beginning to realize what they mean.
Just as we can see that all over the world one of the main problems facing the West is race, likewise here in America today, most of your Negro leaders as well as the whites agree that 1964 itself appears to be one of the most explosive years yet in the history of America on the racial front, on the racial scene. Not only is this racial explosion probably to take place in America, but all of the ingredients for this racial explosion in America to blossom into a world-wide racial explosion present themselves right here in front of us. America’s racial powder keg, in short, can actually fuse or ignite a world- wide racial powder keg.
And whites in this country who are still complacent when they see the possibilities of racial strife getting out of hand. You are complacent simply because you think you outnumber the racial minority in this country; what you have to bear in mind is wherein you might outnumber us in this country, you don’t outnumber us all over the earth.
Any kind of racial explosion that takes place in this country today, in 1964, is not a racial explosion that can be confined to the shores of America. It is a racial explosion that can ignite the racial powder keg that exists all over the planet that we call Earth. Now, I think that anybody would agree that the dark masses of Africa and Asia and Latin America are already seething with bitterness, animosity, hostility and unrest, and impatience with the racial intolerance that they themselves have experienced at the hands of the white West.
And just as they themselves have the ingredients of hostility toward the West in general, here we also have 22 million African-Americans, black, brown, red, and yellow people, in this country who are also seething with bitterness and impatience and hostility and animosity over the racial intolerance not only of the white West but of white America in particular.
And by the hundreds of thousands today we find that our own people have become impatient, and turning away from your white nationalism, which you call democracy, toward the militant, uncompromising philosophy of black nationalism. And I might point out right here that as soon as we announced we were going to start a black nationalist party in this country, we received mail from coast to coast, especially from young people at the college level, the university level, who expressed complete sympathy and support and a desire to take an active part in any kind of political action based upon black nationalism, designed to correct or eliminate immediately the evils that our people have suffered here for 400 years.
The black nationalists, to many of you, may represent only a minority in the community. And therefore you might have a tendency to classify them as something insignificant. But just as the fuse is the smallest part or the smallest piece in the powder keg, it is yet that little fuse that ignites the entire powder keg. The black nationalists, to you, may represent a small minority in the so-called Negro community. But yet they just happen to be composed of the type of ingredients necessary to fuse or ignite the entire black community.
And this is one thing that whites—whether you call yourselves liberals or conservatives or racists or whatever you might choose to be—one thing that you have to realize is that, where the black community is concerned, although the large majority that you come in contact with may impress you as being moderate and patient and loving and long-suffering and all that kind of stuff, the minority whom you consider to be Muslims or nationalists happen to be made of the type of ingredient that can easily spark the black community. This should be understood. Because to me a powder keg is nothing without a fuse.
1964 will be America’s hottest year; her hottest year yet; a year of much racial violence and much racial bloodshed. But it won’t be blood that’s going to flow only on one side. The new generation of black people that have grown up in this country during recent years are already forming the opinion, and it’s a just opinion, that if there is to be bleeding, it should be reciprocal—bleeding on both sides.
It should also be understood that the racial sparks that are ignited here in America today could easily turn into a flaming fire abroad, which only means it could engulf all the people of this earth into a giant race war. You can’t confine it to one little neighborhood, or one little community, or one little country. What happens to a black man in America today happens to the black man in Africa. What happens to the black man in America and Africa happens to the black man in Asia and to the man down in Latin America. What happens to one of us today happens to all of us. And when this is realized, I think that the whites who are intelligent—even if they aren’t moral or aren’t just or aren’t impressed by legalities—those who are intelligent will realize that when they touch this one, they are touching all of them, and this in itself will have a tendency to be a checking factor.
The seriousness of this situation must be faced up to. I was in Cleveland last night, Cleveland, Ohio. In fact I was there Friday, Saturday and yesterday. Last Friday the warning was given that this is a year of bloodshed, that the black man has ceased to turn the other cheek, that he has ceased to be nonviolent, that he has ceased to feel that he must be confined by all these restraints that are put upon him by white society in struggling for what white society says he was supposed to have had a hundred years ago. So today, when the black man starts reaching out for what America says are his rights, the black man feels that he is within his rights—when he becomes the victim of brutality by those who are depriving him of his rights—to do whatever is necessary to protect himself. An example of this was taking place last night at this same time in Cleveland, where the police were putting water hoses on our people there and also throwing tear gas at them—and they met a hail of stones, a hail of rocks, a hail of bricks. A couple of weeks ago in Jacksonville, Florida, a young teenage Negro was throwing Molotov cocktails.
Now, Negroes didn’t do this ten years ago. But what you should learn from this is that they are waking up. It was stones yesterday, Molotov cocktails today, it will be hand grenades tomorrow and whatever else is available the next day. The seriousness of this situation must be faced up to. You should not feel that I am inciting someone to violence. I’m only warning of a powder-keg situation. You can take it or leave it. If you take the warning, perhaps you can still save yourself. But if you ignore it or ridicule it, well, death is already at your doorstep. There are 22 million African-Americans who are ready to fight for independence right here. When I say fight for independence right here, I don’t mean any nonviolent fight, or turn-the-other-cheek fight. Those days are gone. Those days are over.
If George Washington didn’t get independence for this country nonviolently, and if Patrick Henry didn’t come up with a nonviolent statement, and you taught me to look upon them as patriots and heroes, then it’s time for you to realize that I have studied your books well. Our people, 22 million African-Americans are fed up with America’s hypocritical democracy. And today we care nothing about the odds that are against us. Every time a black man gets ready to defend himself some Uncle Tom starts telling us, how can you win? That’s Tom talking, don’t listen to him. This is the first thing we hear, the odds are against us. You’re dealing with black people who don’t care anything about odds. We care nothing about odds. Again, I go right back to the people who founded and who secured the independence of this country from the colonial powers of England. When George Washington and the others got ready to come up with a Declaration of Independence, they didn’t care anything about the odds of the British Empire. They were fed up with taxation without representation. And you’ve got 22 million black people in this country today, 1964, who are fed up with taxation without representation and will do the same thing. Who are ready, willing and justified to do the same thing today to bring about independence for our people that your forefathers did to bring about independence for your people. And I say your people, because I certainly couldn’t include myself among those for whom independence was fought in 1776. How in the world can a negro talk about the Declaration of Independence and he’s still singing “We Shall Overcome.” Our people increasingly are developing the opinion that we just have nothing to lose but the chains of segregation and the chains of second-class citizenship.
So 1964 will see the Negro revolt evolve and merge into the worldwide black revolution that has been taking place on this earth since 1945. The so-called revolt will become a real black revolution. Now the black revolution has been taking place in Africa and Asia and Latin America; when I say black, I mean non-white—black, brown, red or yellow. Our brothers and sisters in Asia, who were colonized by the Europeans, our brothers and sisters in Africa, who were colonized by the Europeans, and in Latin America, the peasants, who were colonized by the Europeans, have been involved in a struggle since 1945 to get the colonialists, or the colonizing powers, the Europeans, off their land, out of their country.
This is a real revolution. Revolution is always based on land. Revolution is never based on begging somebody for an integrated cup of coffee. Revolutions are never fought by turning the other cheek. Revolutions are never based upon love-your-enemy and pray-for-those-who-despitefully-use-you. And revolutions are never waged singing “We Shall Overcome.” Revolutions are based on bloodshed. Revolutions are never compromising. Revolutions are never based upon negotiations. Revolutions are never based upon any kind of tokenism whatsoever. Revolutions are never even based upon that which is begging a corrupt society or a corrupt system to accept us into it. Revolutions overturn systems. And there is no system on this earth which has proven itself more corrupt, more criminal, than this system that in 1964 still colonizes 22 million African-Americans, still enslaves 22 million Afro-Americans. There is no system more corrupt than a system that represents itself as the example of freedom, the example of democracy, and can go all over this earth telling other people how to straighten out their house, when you have citizens of this country who have to use bullets if they want to cast a ballot.
The greatest weapon the colonial powers have used in the past against our people has always been divide-and-conquer. America is a colonial power. She has colonized 22 million Afro-Americans by depriving us of first-class citizenship, by depriving us of civil rights, actually by depriving us of human rights. She has not only deprived us of the right to be a citizen, she has deprived us of the right to be human beings, the right to be recognized and respected as men and women. And in this country the black can be fifty years old and he is still a “boy.” I grew up with white people. I was integrated before they invented the word and I have never met white people yet—if you are around them long enough—who won’t refer to you as a “boy” or a “gal,” no matter how old you are no matter what school you came out of, no matter what your intellectual or professional level is. In this society we remain “boys.”
So America’s strategy is the same strategy as that which was used in the past by the colonial powers: divide and conquer. She plays one Negro leader against the other. She plays one Negro organization against the other. She makes us think that we have different objectives, different goals. As soon as one Negro says something, she runs to this Negro and asks him, “What do you think about what he said?” Why, anybody can see through that today—except some of the Negro leaders.
All of our people have the same goals, the same objective: freedom, justice, equality. All of us want recognition and respect as human beings. We don’t want to be integrationists. Nor do we want to be separationists. We want to be human beings. Integration is only a method that is used by some groups to obtain freedom, justice, equality and respect as human beings. Separation is only a method that is used by other groups to obtain freedom, justice, equality or human dignity.
Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods or tactics or strategy to reach a common objective.
We have to keep in mind at all times that we aren’t fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for the right to live as free humans in this society. In fact, we are actually fighting for rights that are even greater than civil rights and that is, human rights. We are fighting for human rights in 1964. This is a shame. The civil rights struggle has failed to produced concrete results because it has kept us barking up the wrong tree. It has made us put the cart ahead of the horse. We must have human rights before we can secure civil rights. We must be respected as humans before we can be recognized as citizens.
Among the so-called Negroes in this country. As a rule the civil rights groups, those who believe in civil rights, spend most of their time trying to prove they are Americans. Their thinking is usually domestic, confined to the boundaries of America, and they always look upon themselves as a minority. When they look upon themselves on the American stage, the American stage is a white stage. So a black man standing on that stage in America automatically is in the minority. He is the underdog, and in his struggle he always uses an approach that’s a begging, hat-in-hand, compromising approach.
Whereas the other segment or section in America, known as the black nationalists, are more interested in human rights than they are in civil rights. And they place more stress on human rights than they do on civil rights. The difference between the thinking and the scope of the Negroes who are involved in the human-rights struggle and those who are involved in the civil-rights struggle is that those so-called Negroes involved in the human-rights struggle don’t look upon themselves as Americans. They look upon themselves as a part of dark mankind. They see the whole struggle, not within the confines of the American stage, but they look upon the struggle on the world stage. And, in the world context, they see that the dark man outnumbers the white man. On the world stage the white man is just a microscopic minority.
So in this country you find two different types of Afro-Americans—the type who looks upon himself as a minority and you as the majority, because his scope is limited to the American scene; and then you have the type who looks upon himself as part of the majority and you as part of a microscopic minority. And this one uses a different approach in trying to struggle for his rights. He doesn’t beg. He doesn’t thank you for what you give him, because you are only giving him what he should have had a hundred years ago. He doesn’t think you are doing him any favors.
He doesn’t see any progress that he has made since the Civil War. He sees not one iota of progress because, number one, if the Civil War had freed him, he wouldn’t need civil-rights legislation today. If the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by that great shining liberal called Lincoln, had freed him, he wouldn’t be singing “We Shall Overcome” today. If the amendments to the Constitution had solved his problem, his problem wouldn’t still be here today. And if the Supreme Court desegregation decision of 1954 was genuinely and sincerely designed to solve his problem, the problem wouldn’t be with us today.
So this kind of black man is thinking. He can see where every maneuver that America has made, supposedly to solve this problem, has been nothing but political trickery and treachery of the worst order. So today he doesn’t have any confidence in these so-called liberals. I know that all that have come in here tonight don’t call yourselves liberals. Because that’s a nasty name today. It represents hypocrisy. So these two different types of black people exist in the so-called Negro community and they are beginning to wake up and their awakening is producing a very dangerous situation.
So you have whites in the community who express sincerity when they say they want to help. Well, how can they help? How can a white person help the black man solve his problem? Number one, you can’t solve it for him. You can help him solve it, but you can’t solve it for him today. One of the best ways that you can help him solve it is to let the so-called Negro, who has been involved in the civil-rights struggle, see that the civil-rights struggle must be expanded beyond the level of civil rights to the level of human rights. Once it is expanded beyond the level of civil rights to the level of human rights, it opens the door for all of our brothers and sisters in Africa and Asia, who have their independence, to come to our rescue.
Why? When you go to Washington, D.C., expecting those crooks down there—and that’s what they are—to pass some kind of civil-rights legislation to correct a very criminal situation, what you are doing is encouraging the black man, who is the victim, to take his case into the court that’s controlled by the criminal that made him the victim. It will never be solved in that way. It’s like running from the wolf to the fox.
The civil-rights struggle involves the black man taking his case to the white man’s court. But when he fights it at the human-rights level, it is a different situation. It opens the door for him to take Uncle Sam to the world court. The black man shouldn’t have to go to court to be free. Uncle Sam should be taken to court and made to tell why the black man is not free in a so-called free society. Uncle Sam should be taken into the United Nations and charged with violating the UN charter of human rights.
You can forget civil rights. How are you going to get civil rights with men like Eastland and men like Dirksen and men like Johnson? It has to be taken out of their hands and taken into the hands of those whose power and authority exceeds theirs. Washington has become too corrupt. Uncle Sam has become bankrupt when it comes to a conscience—it’s impossible for Uncle Sam to solve the problem of 22 million black people in this country. It is absolutely impossible to do it in Uncle Sam’s courts— whether it’s the Supreme Court or any other kind of court that comes under Uncle Sam’s jurisdiction.
The only alternative that the black man in America has today is to take it out of Senator Dirksen’s and Senator Eastland’s and President Johnson’s jurisdiction and take it downtown on the East River and place it before that body of men who represent international law, and let them know that the human rights of black people are being violated in a country that professes to be the moral leader of the free world.
Any time you have a filibuster in America, in the Senate, in 1964 over the rights of 22 million black people, over the citizenship of 22 million black people, or that will affect the freedom and justice and the equality of 22 million black people, it’s time for that government itself to be taken before a world court. How can you condemn South Africa? There’s only 11 million of our people in South Africa, there are 22 million of them here. And we are receiving an injustice which is just as criminal as that which is being done to the black people of South Africa.
So today those whites who profess to be liberals— and as far as I am concerned it’s just lip-profession—you understand why our people don’t have civil rights. You’re white. You can go and hang out with another white liberal and see how hypocritical they are. Why a lot of you sitting right here know that you’ve seen whites up in a Negro’s face with flowery words, and as soon as that Negro walks away you listen to how your white friend talks. We have black people who can pass as white. We know how you talk.
We can see that it is nothing but a governmental conspiracy to continue to deprive the black people in this country of their rights. And the only way we will get those rights restored is by taking it out of Uncle Sam’s hands. Take him to court and charge him with genocide, the mass murder of millions of black people in this country—political murder, economic murder, social murder, mental murder. This is the crime that this government has committed, and if you yourself don’t do something about it in time, you are going to open the doors for something to be done about it from outside forces.
I read in the paper yesterday where one of the Supreme Court justices, Goldberg, was crying about the violation of human rights of three million Jews in the Soviet Union. Imagine this. I haven’t got anything against the Jews, but that’s their problem. How in the world are you going to cry about problems on the other side of the world and you haven’t got the problems straightened out here? How can the plight of three million Jews in Russia be qualified to be taken to the United Nations by a man who is a justice in this Supreme Court, and is supposed to be a liberal, supposed to be a friend of black people, and hasn’t opened up his mouth one time about taking the plight of black people down there to the United Nations?
Our people are becoming more politically mature. Their eyes are coming open. They’re beginning to see the trends in all of the American politics today. They notice that every time there’s an election, it’s so close among whites that they have to count the votes over again. This happened in Massachusetts when they were running for Governor. It happened in Rhode Island. It happened in Minnesota and many other places and it happened in the election between Kennedy and Nixon. Things are so close that any minority who has a bloc vote can swing it either way. And I think most of the students of political science agree that it was the 80 per cent support that Kennedy got from the black man in this country that enabled him to sit in the White House. He sat down there four years and the Negro is still in the dog house. Same ones that we put in the white house have continued to keep us in the dog house. The Negro can see that he holds the balance of power in this country politically. It is he who puts in office the one who gets in office. Yet when the Negro helps that person get in office the Negro gets nothing in return. All he gets is a few appointments, a few handpicked, Uncle Tom, handkerchief head Negroes are given big jobs in Washington D.C. And then those Negroes come back and try and make us think that administration is going to lead us to the promised land of integration. And the only ones whose problem has been solved have been those hand-picked Negroes. A few big Negroes got jobs who didn’t even need the job. They already were working. But the masses of black people are still unemployed.
The present administration, the Democratic administration has been down there for four years, yet no meaningful legislation has been passed by them that’s supposed to benefit black people in this country. Despite the fact that in the House they have 257 Democrats and only 177 are Republican, they control two-thirds of the house in the Senate there are 67 Democrats and only 33 Republicans, the Democrats control two-thirds of the government and it’s the Negro who put him in position to control the government yet they give the Negro nothing in return but a few handouts in the form of appointments that are only used as window dressing to make it appear that the problem is being solved.
No, something is wrong. And when these black people wake up and find out for real the trickery and the treachery that has been heaped upon us, you’re going to have revolution. And when I say a revolution, I don’t mean that stuff they were talking about last year, about “We Shall Overcome.” That’s no revolution. The Democrats get Negro support, yet the Negroes get nothing in return. The Negroes put the Democrats first, yet the Democrats put the Negroes last. And the alibi that the Democrats use, they blame the Dixiecrats. A Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat in disguise. You show me a Dixiecrat and I’ll show you a Democrat. And chances are, you show me a Democrat and I’ll show you a Dixiecrat. Because Dixie in reality means all that territory south of the Canadian border. There are sixteen senatorial committees that run this government. Of the sixteen senatorial committees that run the government, ten of them are controlled by chairmen who are from the south. Of the twenty congressional committees that help run the government, twelve of them are controlled by southern segregationists. Think of this. Ten of the senatorial committees are in the hands of the Dixiecrats. Twelve of the twenty congressional committees are in the hands of the Dixiecrats. These committees control the government. And you gonna tell us that the south lost the Civil War. The south controls the government. And they control it because they have seniority. And they have seniority because in the states that they come from, they deny Negroes the right to vote.
If Negroes could vote south of the—yes, if Negroes could vote south of the Canadian border—south South, if Negroes could vote in the southern part of the South, Ellender wouldn’t be the head of the Agricultural and Forestry Commission, Richard Russell wouldn’t be head of the Armed Services Commission, Robertson of Virginia wouldn’t be the head of the Banking and Currency Committee. Imagine that, all of the banking and currency of the government is in the hands of a cracker.
In fact, when you see how many of these committee men who control the government are from the South, you can see that we have nothing but a cracker government in Washington, D.C. And their head is a cracker president. I said a cracker president. Texas is just as much a cracker state as Mississippi. Even more so. In Texas, they lynch you with a Texas accent, in Mississippi, they lynch you with a Mississippi accent.
The first thing this man did when he came in office was invite all the big Negroes down for coffee. James Farmer was one of the first ones, the head of CORE. I have nothing against him. He’s all right—Farmer, that is. But could that same president have invited James Farmer to Texas for coffee? And if James Farmer went to Texas, could he have taken his white wife with him to have coffee with the president? Any time you have a man who can’t straighten out Texas, how can he straighten out the country? No, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
If Negroes in the South could vote, the Dixiecrats would lose power. When the Dixiecrats lost power, the Democrats would lose power. A Dixiecrat lost is a Democrat lost. Therefore the two of them have to conspire with each other to stay in power. The Northern Dixiecrat puts all the blame on the Southern Dixiecrat. It’s a con game, a giant political con game. The job of the Northern Democrat is to make the Negro think that he is our friend. He is always smiling and wagging his tail and telling us how much he can do for us if we vote for him. But at the same time that he’s out in front telling us what he’s going to do, behind the door he’s in cahoots with the Southern Democrat setting up the machinery to make sure he’ll never have to keep his promise.
This is the conspiracy that our people have faced in this country for the past one hundred years. And today you have a new generation of black people who have come on the scene, who have become disenchanted with the entire system, who have become disillusioned over the system, and who are ready now and willing to do something about it.
So, in my conclusion, in speaking about the black revolution, America today is at a time or in a day or at an hour where she is the first country on this earth who can actually have a bloodless revolution. In the past, revolutions have been bloody. Historically you just don’t have a peaceful revolution. Revolutions are bloody, revolutions are violent, revolutions cause bloodshed and death follows in their paths. America is the only country in history in a position to bring about a revolution without violence and bloodshed. But America is not morally equipped to do so.
Why is America in a position to bring about a bloodless revolution? Because the Negro in this country holds the balance of power, and if the Negro in this country were given what the Constitution says he is supposed to have, the added power of the Negro in this country would sweep all of the racists and the segregationists out of office. It would change the entire political structure of the country. It would wipe out the Southern segregationism that now controls America’s foreign policy, as well as America’s domestic policy.
And the only way without bloodshed that this can be brought about is that the black man has to be given full use of the ballot in every one of the fifty states. But if the black man doesn’t get the ballot, then you are going to be faced with another man who forgets the ballot and starts using the bullet.
Revolutions are fought to get control of land, to remove the absentee landlord and gain control of the land and the institutions that flow from that land. The black man has been in a very low condition because he has had no control whatsoever over any land. He has been a beggar economically, a beggar politically, a beggar socially, a beggar even when it comes to trying to get some education. In the past type of mentality, that was developed in this colonial system among our people, that today is being overcome. And as the young ones come up, they know what they want. And as they listen to your beautiful preaching about democracy and all those other flowery words, they know what they’re supposed to have.
So you got a people today who not only know what they want, but also know what they are supposed to have. And they themselves are creating another generation that is coming up that not only will know what it wants and know what it should have, but also will be ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to see that what they should have materializes immediately. Thank you.
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[Question about the accuracy of The Militant]
Malcolm X: I’ve never found any misquote in The Militant of us, and I think any white newspaper, and I guess that’s what it is, that can quote a black man correctly is certainly a militant newspaper.
[Question about school integration and the Freedom Now Party]
Malcolm X: If I understood you correctly you asked two questions: Number one—am I in favor of integration in the public schools? And number two—am I in favor of the Freedom Now Party? Insofar as integration in the public schools is concerned, I don’t know anywhere in America where they have an integrated school system, North or South. If they don’t have it in New York City, they definitely never will have it in Mississippi. And anything that won’t work I’m not in favor of. Anything that’s not practical I’m not in favor of.
This doesn’t mean I’m for a segregated school system. We are well aware of the crippled minds that are produced by a segregated school system, and when Rev. Galamison was involved in a boycott against this segregated school system, we supported it. This doesn’t make me an integrationist, nor does it make me believe that integration is going to work; but Galamison and I agree that a segregated school system is detrimental to the academic diet, so-called diet, of the children who go to that school. But a segregated school system isn’t necessarily the same situation that exists in an all-white neighborhood. A school system in an all-white neighborhood is not a segregated school system. The only time it’s segregated is when it is in a community that is other than white, but at the same time is controlled by the whites.
So my understanding of a segregated school system, or a segregated community, or a segregated school, is a school that’s controlled by people other than those that go there. But in an all-white neighborhood, where you have an all-white school, that’s not a segregated school. Usually they have a high-caliber education. Anytime someone else can put on you what they want, naturally you’re going to have something that’s inferior. So the schools in Harlem are not controlled by the people in Harlem, they’re controlled by the man downtown. And the man downtown takes all of the tax dollars and spends them elsewhere, but he keeps the schools, the school facilities, the schoolteachers, and the schoolbooks, material, in Harlem at the very lowest level. So this produces a segregated education, which doesn’t do our people any good. On the other hand, if we can get an all-black school, that we can control, staff it ourselves with the type of teachers that have our good at heart, with the type of books that have in them many of the missing ingredients that have produced this inferiority complex in our people, then we don’t feel that an all-black school is necessarily a segregated school. It’s only segregated when it’s controlled by someone from outside.
I hope I’m making my point. I just can’t see where if white people can go to a white classroom and there are no Negroes present and it doesn’t affect the academic diet they’re receiving, then I don’t see where an all-black classroom can be affected by the absence of white children. If the absence of black children doesn’t affect white students, I don’t see how the absence of whites is going to affect the blacks. So, what the integrationists, in my opinion, are saying, when they say that whites and blacks must go to school together, is that the whites are so much superior that just their presence in a black classroom balances it out. I can’t go along with that. Yes, ma’am?
[Question again about the Freedom Now Party]
Malcolm X: The Freedom Now Party—I don’t know too much about it, but what I know about it, I
[Question about whites too being hurt by Congressional filibusters]
Malcolm X: If I understood you correctly, you were saying that those white senators and congressmen there that are filibustering and other things have done whites as much harm as they’ve done blacks. I just can’t quite go along with that. You see, it’s the black man who sits on the hot stove. You might stand near it but you don’t sit on it.
[Questions in writing—about white radicals and African misleaders]
Malcolm X: A question sent up: “Can black people achieve their freedom without the help of white radicals, who have more experience at fighting?” And the second question is—this is from a real white liberal, “Some black leaders, even in Africa, are misleading their people,” and he says, “I mean Nasser too.” I know this is from a liberal. I can even tell what geographic area he’s from. In regard to the first question—Can black people achieve their freedom without the help of white radicals, who have more experience at fighting?—all of the freedom that white people have gotten in this country and elsewhere: they haven’t gotten it just fighting themselves. You’ve always had someone else to do your fighting for you. You perhaps haven’t realized it. England became powerful because she had others to fight for her. She used the African against the Asian and the Asian against the African. France used the Senegalese. All these white powers have had some little lackeys to do their fighting for them, and America has had 22 million African-Americans to do your fighting for you. It is we who have fought your battles for you, and have picked your cotton for you. We built this house that you’re living in. It was our labor that built this house. You sat beneath the old cotton tree telling us how long to work or how hard to work, but it was our labor, our sweat and our blood that made this country what it is, and we’re the only ones who haven’t benefited from it. All we’re saying today is, it’s payday—retroactive.
And where this gentleman said some black leaders in Africa also mislead their people, I guess you’re talking about black leaders like Tshombe, but not—One of the greatest black leaders was Lumumba. Lumumba was the rightful ruler of the Congo. He was deposed with American aid. It was America, the State Department of this country, that brought Kasavubu to this country, interceded for him at the UN, used its power to make certain that Kasavubu would be seated as the rightful or recognized ruler of the Congo. And as soon as Kasavubu, with American support, became the ruler of the Congo, he went back to the Congo, and his first act upon returning home was to turn Lumumba over to Tshombe. So you can easily see whose hand it was behind the murder of Lumumba. And chickens come home to roost.
And then you mention Nasser. Well, I think that’s a subjective, subconscious reaction on your part, the fact that you included Nasser’s name—I know who you are. Before the Egyptian revolution, Farouk was a monarch in Egypt who had exploited the people with the aid of the West. Naguib and Nasser brought about a revolution, and those who have visited the African continent today will tell you, if they are objective in their observations, that Egypt is one of the most highly industrialized nations on the African continent—the only other nation is a white nation and that’s South Africa. But under Nasser the Egyptians have become a highly industrialized nation; they’re trying to elevate the standard of living of their people.
You’ll find that there’s a tendency in the West to have the attitude toward any African leader who has the mass support of his people—usually the West classifies him as a dictator. And I can name them. Nkrumah is called a dictator because he has his people with him; Nasser is called a dictator, Ben Bella is a dictator, Sekou Toure is called a dictator—all of these people who are called dictators by the West usually are classified by the West as anti-West, because the West can’t tell them what to do. Yes, ma’am?
[Question about going to the United Nations]
Malcolm X: And this is one of the reasons why— the lady asked do we have any feasible plan of bringing this fight to the UN. The very fact that there has been a civil rights struggle, since 1954 actually, and at no time have any of the Negro civil rights leaders made any effort to take it before the United Nations—that right there should give you a hint that there’s a conspiracy involved. When every other underdog on this earth—I mean some of the underdogs way out in the South Pacific— have had their plight taken to the UN; people who don’t even know where the UN is—still the UN is arguing about their situation. And here we have 22 million black people surrounding the UN, and nothing concerning their plight is taken to the UN. Don’t tell me that it’s not an atrocity. Any time a church is bombed—there’s no more outright example of the violation of human rights than when you are sitting in church and have it bombed, and four little black babies are murdered. And [when] that still doesn’t reach the UN, then I say there’s a conspiracy.
So our contention is that the white liberals, so-called liberals, infiltrated the civil rights movement, and got the black people barking up the wrong tree. Because white people are intelligent enough to know that the problem will never be solved in Washington, D.C. There are crooks there, but you can take the crooks who are in Washington, D.C., downtown before the world court. If they know that you can take them to court, they’ll start acting right. That’s the only time they’ll act right. And then they won’t be acting right because they believe in legality or morality or anything like that—they have none of that in them. They’ll only be acting right because they don’t want you to take them to court.
So, yes, there’s a machinery being set up right now. And many of our brothers and sisters from Africa and Asia and in other parts of this earth, whose nations have emerged and become independent, are capable and well qualified to lend all of the support at their disposal to the problem of the black people in this country, once it gets into the UN. But they cannot become involved in it as long as it’s called a civil rights struggle—because protocol keeps them from becoming involved in any of America’s domestic affairs. Civil rights is domestic. Human rights is international.
Now, if you consider yourself a true liberal—and me, I haven’t found one. When I say that, I’m bearing in mind I haven’t met all white people, but among those that I’ve met I haven’t met one yet that would pass the test; I might meet somebody else tomorrow—
[James Wechsler, New York Post editor, takes floor and begins to speak before being called on.]
Malcolm X: Sir, why didn’t you put up your hand and wait until I called on you? No, why didn’t you find out? Why didn’t you put up your hand till I called on you? You’re being rude. You’re proving my point. [Calls on someone else.] Yes, sir?
[Question about Karl Marx]
Malcolm X: Number one, I don’t know too much about Karl Marx. That’s number one—I just don’t know too much about Karl Marx. However, it is true that when a nation loses its markets, no matter how capitalistic or highly industrialized it is or how much goods it can produce, when it loses those markets, it’s in trouble. And this is one of the basic factors behind America’s problem. She has lost her world markets. It’s not just automation that’s putting her out, giving her a headache. She has no markets. There was a time when the whole world was her market. But today she’s hated. Not only is she losing her markets because she’s hated, but the European nations are industrialized—they can produce goods cheaper than America can. Japan produces goods cheaper than she and undersells her. And the nations of Africa and Asia would rather buy their manufactured or finished products from other than America.
So it is not so much that automation is causing the unemployment situation—which affects the Negro first and foremost because he’s the last hired and has to be the first fired. But it’s just the fact that America has run out of markets. And it is impossible for her to find new markets anywhere, unless there’s some customers on the moon or on some other planet. And as long as this situation exists, America’s economy is going to continue to go down, her dollar will continue to lose its value, and when her dollar loses its value she’s lost all her friends. Because the only friends she has are those whom she has bought.
And one further comment is this: as I said, I don’t know too much about Karl Marx, but there was this man who wrote The Decline of the West, Spengler—he had another book that’s a little lesser known, called The Hour of Decision. In fact, someone gave me the book out in front of this place one night, a couple of years ago, because I had never heard of it either. I imagine it might be someone who’s in this audience or who had that type of thinking. It was at a meeting like this.
And in Spengler’s Hour of Decision, it’s about world revolution, and his thesis is that the initial stages of the world revolution would make people be forced to line up along class lines. But then after a while the class lines would run out and it would be a lineup based upon race. Well, I think he wrote this in the early thirties. And it has actually taken place. Even when the United Nations was put together, the blocs were divided up along class or some kind of economic philosophy. But today the blocs that exist in the UN are based on race, along color lines. You have your Arab-Afro-Asian bloc—they are all black, brown, red, or yellow. You have your other blocs and your other blocs, but when you find those blocs you usually find everybody in them has something in common and the most that they have in common usually is the color of their skin, or the absence of color from their skin. Yes, sir?
[Question about the role of whites]
Malcolm X: Well, if you noticed when I was speaking I said the whites can help, if they’re progressive-minded. But my observation and analysis of the kind of help they’ve been giving makes me very cautious about the help that they offer. And I say that because of this: as I said, I grew up with whites. Most of them are intelligent. At least they used to be. No white person would go about fighting for freedom in the same manner that he has helped me and you to fight for our freedom. No, none of them would. When it comes to black freedom, then the white man freedom-rides and sits in, he’s nonviolent, he sings “We Shall Overcome” and all that stuff. But when the property of the white man himself is threatened, or the freedom of the white man is threatened, he’s not nonviolent. He’s only nonviolent when he’s on your side. But when he’s on his side he loses all that patience and nonviolence.
So, if the whites are sincere in this struggle they will show the black man how to employ or use better tactics, tactics that will get results—and not results a hundred years from now. Our people aren’t going to wait ten years. If this house is a house of freedom and justice and equality for all, if that’s what it is, then let’s have it. And if we can’t all have it, none of us will have it.
[Question in writing—about the ballot]
Malcolm X: Question: “Do you really think the Negro can win with the ballot? If not, why not?” The Negro in this country, before he can win with the ballot, has to be made more politically mature. Now many Negroes don’t like to be criticized—they don’t like for it to be said that we’re not ready. They say that that’s a stereotype. We have assets—we have liabilities as well as assets. And until our people are able to go in a closet, put you out, and analyze ourselves and discover our own liabilities as well as our assets, we never will be able to win any struggle that we become involved in. As long as the black community and the leaders of the black community are afraid of criticism and want to classify all criticism, collective criticism, as a stereotype, no one will ever be able to pull our coat. So, first we have to go in the closet and find out where we are lacking, and what we need to replace that which we are lacking, [or] we never will be able to be successful. We can win with the ballot only when we make our people become politically mature.
Those whose philosophy is black nationalism are involved right now, and will become involved, with any group—green, blue, yellow, pink—that is set up with an organizational apparatus designed to get more of our people involved as registered voters. We’re involved in that; we will cooperate with that. But at the same time we won’t tell them to register as a Democrat or a Republican. Any Negro who registers as a Democrat or a Republican is a traitor to his own people.
Registering is all right. That only means “load your gun.” Just because you load it doesn’t mean you have to shoot it. You wait until you get a target and make certain that you’re in a position to put that thing up next to the target, and then you pull the trigger. And just as you don’t waste bullets at a target that’s out of reach, you don’t throw ballots just to be throwing ballots. Our people need to get registered, need to pile up political power, but they need to hold it in abeyance and throw it when they know that throwing it is going to get results. Don’t just throw it because you’ve got it.
[Question in writing—about concrete political plans]
Malcolm X: This question: “Do you have any immediate concrete plans to take over politics and politicians in black communities?” Yes, and when you’ve got concrete plans, the best way to keep them concrete is to keep them to yourself.
[Question in writing—about SNCC and the UN]
Malcolm X: The other question written—“Excuse me, but the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee appealed to the United Nations following the Birmingham murders and picketed the UN demanding action for several days.”
That’s not how you get it—you don’t get it picketing the UN. In fact I have never seen anybody get anything yet picketing. I haven’t seen anything that was gotten picketing. You get what you’re going to get either one way or the other. I might add to that. You don’t get anything on the agenda of the UN through picketing.
Plus, when the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was picketing the UN based upon the murders in Binningham, it was still civil rights. They didn’t have enough sense to realize—excuse me for saying they didn’t have enough sense, but evidently they didn’t—to realize that as long as they took it from a civil rights level the UN can’t accept it. It must be human rights. So the best thing for you to do, who are liberals, is to go to the UN and get all of the books on human rights.
Do you know that the United States has never signed the Covenant on Human Rights? It signed the Declaration of Human Rights, but it couldn’t sign the Covenant because in order to sign the Covenant, they’d have to have it ratified by the Congress and the Senate. And how’re they going to get ‘a covenant ratified by the Congress and the Senate on human rights when they can’t even get one through on civil rights? No! And Eleanor Roosevelt, supposedly a liberal, was chairman of the Commission on Human Rights. She knew all of this. Why didn’t ultra-liberal Eleanor tell these Negroes about the UN section on human rights that would enable us to get our problem before the world? No, that’s why I say I haven’t met a white liberal. This gentleman over here who thinks I’m going to discriminate [against] him— [Recognizes James Wechsler]
[Question about Rev. Bruce Klunder, who was killed by a bulldozer while demonstrating against school segregation in Cleveland]
Malcolm X: I was in Cleveland last night, yesterday, in fact, when this thing took place—[Wechsler speaks again] Sir? I didn’t put him under the bulldozer either. Uncle Sam put him under the bulldozer. The Supreme Court put him under the bulldozer. [Wechsler again.] His death still didn’t desegregate the school system.
We’re not going to stand up and applaud any contribution made by some individual white person when 22 million black people are dying every day. What he did—good, good, great. What he did- good. Hooray, hooray, hooray. Now Lumumba was murdered, Medgar Evers was murdered, Mack Parker was murdered, Emmett Till was murdered, my own father was murdered. You tell that stuff to somebody else. It’s time that some white people started dying in this thing. If you’ll forgive me, forgive me for saying so, but many more beside he are going when the wagon comes. Yes, sir?
[Question about the religion of Islam and the partition of India]
Malcolm X: If I understand you correctly, number one—you wanted to know why do we, black people, turn to Islam. The religion that many of our forefathers practiced before we were kidnapped and brought into this country by the American white man was the religion of Islam. This has been destroyed in textbooks of the American educational system to try and make it appear that we were nothing but animals or savages before we were brought here, to hide the criminal acts that they had to perpetuate upon us in order to bring us down to the level of animals that we’re on today. But when you go back, you’ll find that there were large Muslim empires that stretched all the way down into equatorial Africa, the Mali Empire, Guinea. All these places—their religion was Islam.
So here in America today when you find many of us who are accepting Islam as our religion we are only going back to the religion of our forefathers. Plus, we believe that this is the religion that will do more to reform us of our weaknesses that we’ve become addicted to here in Western society than any other religion. Secondly, we can see where Christianity has failed us 100 percent. They teach us to turn the other cheek, but they don’t turn it.
And concerning the partition of India and Pakistan—I think that’s what you meant—I’m not too familiar with it other than the fact that I do know that for many years the subcontinent of India was ruled by the British, by the colonial powers from Europe. The strategy of the colonial powers has always been to divide and conquer. As a rule you’ll find that people in the East, in the Orient, can pretty well live together. And I believe when you find them fighting each other, you [should] look for that man that’s turning them one against the other—divide and conquer. In fact, if Pakistan and India had not been at each other’s throats, so to speak, for the past ten or so years, they probably could have developed much faster and made more progress than they have, and could do something more concrete toward helping us solve most of our problems. So these divisions are dangerous.
[Question about racial divisions in American society]
Malcolm X: Well, we have. And you don’t have to demand it. It’s already divided on racial lines. Go to Harlem. All we’re saying now is since we’re already divided, the least the government can do is let us control the areas where we live. Let the white people control theirs, let us control ours—that’s all we’re saying. If the white man can control his, and actually what he’s using to control it is white nationalism, let us control ours with black nationalism. You find white nationalism in the white communities whether they are Catholic, whether they are Jews, whether they are Protestant—they still practice white nationalism. So all we’re saying to our people is to forget our religious differences. Forget all the differences that have been artificially created by the whites who have been over us, and try and work together in unity and harmony with the philosophy of black nationalism, which only means that we should control our own economy, our own politics, and our own society. Nothing is wrong with that.
And then, after we control our society, we’ll work with any segment of the white community towards building a better civilization. But we think that they should control theirs and we should control ours. Don’t let us try and mix with each other because every time that mixture takes place we always find the black man low man on the totem pole—low man on the totem pole. If he’s not low man, he’s no man at all. Yes, ma’am?
[Question about the possibilities of support from Africa]
Malcolm X: You’ll find that here today in 1964 there are enough independent nations in the UN from Africa and Asia who have become politically mature and also have enough independence to do what is necessary to see that some results are gotten from any plea, bona fide plea, that’s made on the part of our people. It was the control that the United States had in the UN that enabled them to get Lumumba murdered and have his murder covered up. But here’s a thing our people are beginning to see: as soon as the United States gets through with a stooge, she drops him. She dropped Tshombe; when she couldn’t use Tshombe anymore, she dropped him. When she couldn’t use the two brothers over in Saigon—what’s their names?—Diem and Nhu, she dropped them. When she couldn’t use Syngman Rhee anymore, she dropped him. When she couldn’t use Menderes anymore, she dropped him. Well, you see, this pattern is being studied by these other Uncle Toms. And they’re beginning to see that if they keep on going, they’re going to get dropped too. Yes, ma’am?
[Question about the common interest of old age pensioners and black people]
Malcolm X: I don’t see how you can compare their situation with the plight of 22 million African- Americans. Our people were outright slaves—outright slaves. We pulled plows like horses. We were bought and sold from one plantation to another like you sell chickens or like you sell a bag of potatoes. I read in one book where George Washington exchanged a black man for a keg of molasses. Why, that black man could have been my grandfather. You know what I think of old George Washington. You can’t compare someone on old age assistance with the plight of black people in this country. No comparison whatsoever. And what they can do is not comparable to what we can do—not those old folks. Yes, sir—way in the back
[Question about why the audience should stand in honor of Rev. Klunder]
Malcolm X: Let’s rise in the honor of Lumumba, let’s rise in the honor of Medgar Evers, let’s rise in the honor—No, look; good, what the man did is good. But the day is out when you’ll find black people who are going to stand up and applaud the contribution of whites at this late date.
One hundred million Africans were uprooted from the African continent—where are they today? One hundred million Africans were uprooted, 100 million Africans, according to the book Anti-Slavery, by Professor Dwight Lowell Dumond—excuse me for raising my voice—were uprooted from the continent of Africa. At the end of slavery you didn’t have 25 million Africans in the Western Hemisphere. What happened to those 75 million? Their bodies are at the bottom of the ocean, or their blood and their bones have fertilized the soil of this country. Why, don’t you ever think I would use my energy applauding the sacrifice of an individual white man. No, that sacrifice is too late.
[Question in writing—about black nationalism, separatism, integration and assimilation…”A pamphlet, Freedom Now, is on sale in the back and it contains the statement, “All separatists are nationalists, but not all nationalists are separatists.”]
Malcolm X: I don’t know anything about that.
Question: “What is your view on this? Can one be a black nationalist even though not interested in a separate independent black nation? Similarly, is every integrationist necessarily an assimilationist?”
Malcolm X: Well, as I said earlier, the black people I know don’t want to be integrationists, nor do they want to be separationists—they want to be human beings. Some of them choose integration, thinking that this method will bring them respect as a human being, and others choose separation, thinking that that method or tactic will bring them respect as a human being. But they’ve had so much trouble attaining their objectives that they’ve gotten their methods mixed up with their objectives, And now, instead of calling themselves human beings, they’re calling themselves integrationists and separationists, and they don’t have either one—no. So I don’t know about the integrationists and the assimilationists and the separationists, but I do know about the segregationists—that’s the Americans. Yes, sir?
[Question about Malcolm’s attitude to Robert F. Williams]
Malcolm X: Well, Robert Williams was exiled to Cuba for advocating guns for Negroes. He made some mistakes in carrying out his program, which left the door open that allowed the FBI to make him appear to be the criminal that he actually is not. When someone in front of you makes a mistake, you should learn and benefit from those mistakes.
The black man in this country is within his constitutional rights to have a rifle. The white man is, too. The Constitution gives you the right to have a rifle or a shotgun. You shouldn’t go out shooting people with it; you shouldn’t become involved in acts of aggression that you initiate. But, in this country where we have a government, a law enforcement agency at the federal, local, and state level- in areas where those agencies show that they are unable or unwilling to defend Negroes, Negroes should defend themselves. That’s all: should defend themselves. And he’s within his lawful right. This doesn’t mean that he should use arms to initiate acts of aggression. But if it costs me my life in the morning I will tell you tonight that the time has come for the black man to die fighting. If he’s going to die, die fighting. I have a rifle; I’ve shown my wife how to work it. And if anybody puts his foot on my step, he’s dead. Whether I’m home or not, he’s dead.
This doesn’t mean that we want to live in a society like this. But when you’re living in a society of criminals and the law fails to do its duty what must one do? Continue to turn the other cheek? Medgar Evers turned his. Those four little girls, who were bombed in a church, turned theirs. Negroes have done nothing but seen each other turn the other cheek. This generation won’t do it, won’t do it any longer. May I just say this, sir? America is faced with a situation where in every Negro community in this country, the racial animosity that is developing and the disillusionment in the minds of Negroes toward white society is such that these communities, these ghettos, these slums that we live in, will eventually develop into the same type of Casbah situation that you have in Algeria and these other countries—where you won’t be able to set your foot in that neighborhood, unless you’ve got a guide to show you the way. This is true.
And what else should we do? How can we continue to live in a community that’s turned into a police state? Where the police are not there to protect us but are there only to protect the property of the merchant who doesn’t even live in our community, who has his store there and his house somewhere else. They’re there to protect his property. And as Negroes over the years see this, we also see that they don’t protect us: in fact, sometimes we need protection against them.
This doesn’t mean that the police are always wrong—I’m saying this too. In New York, where Negroes are concerned, so-called Negroes, it has been my experience in traveling from coast to coast to notice that in Harlem the police officer, at least in the past three years up to a short while ago, exercised more care in dealing with incidents that could explode into a racial situation than is used by police officers in most of the large cities of the North. In 1960, ‘61, ‘62, along in there, the police department here did use more caution in incidents that were outright involving race. But the recent statement by the police commissioner, this man, this Irishman Murphy, is very dangerous, because those commissioners who preceded him exercised more intelligence in statements that they made, and they were very careful never to make a statement that would inflame the white officer against the black community. But Murphy is making statements that seem deliberately designed to make the average cop on the beat think that he can bust any Negro upside his head and not be reprimanded for it. This is dangerous because today when you put a club in the direction of a Negro’s head, he’s going to do his best to get that club, whether you’ve got a uniform or not.
[Question, a general attack on Malcolm, followed by a complaint that the speaker wants to make a statement rather than ask a question.]
Malcolm X: You can comment right here, this is a meeting.
[After the speaker denounces Malcolm further, some members of the audience begin to protest.]
Malcolm X: Let him have his say—go ahead, doctor.
[The speaker goes ahead.]
Malcolm X: I’ll take just two minutes to comment on what you’ve said. You notice you kept using the expression “talk back” or “have their say.” Now you know how our people have felt for 400 years. And your attitude right now is the type of attitude that makes Uncle Sam a hated country. You reflect the collective attitudes of the American whites.
There are some—he [pointing to the chairman] doesn’t reflect the collective attitude. He reflects the unique attitude—he’s quiet, he’s listening, he’s taking it all in, he’s analyzing it. And when he stands up to speak, he’s going to speak in a much more intelligent manner than you and will win more friends than you. Now I might say this right here—in saying this about him, I’m not saying this to jive him or pat him on the back. You know me, I think you know me, better than that. If I say positive things about him, I mean it. He will probably get some of you saved, but you will get most of you killed.
I just want to say one more comment on his remark about me being bloodthirsty. I’m not bloodthirsty. I’m one of 22 million black people in this country who’s tired of being the victim of hypocrisy by a country that supposedly practices democracy. Any black man—you had your say, please be quiet—any black man who will stand up and tell you exactly how he feels is doing you a favor because most of them don’t tell you how they feel.
I want to thank the Militant Labor Forum for the invitation to speak here this evening. I think, as I said earlier, the paper is one of the best that I’ve read. We always encourage those who live in Harlem to buy it when we see it up there, or wherever else we may see it. It’s a very good paper. I hope they continue to have success, make progress. They can probably straighten out a lot of white people. Let us straighten out the black people. That’s all I’m saying.