American human rights activist (1925-1965)
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), born as Malcolm Little, was a United States black nationalist leader, most well known as Malcolm X.
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- "If you're not ready to die for it, put the word "freedom" out of your vocabulary."
- Simple: If you do not want to die for it, do not allow "freedom" to be one of the words you can use.
- What it means: If you want to be free, you must be able to sacrifice yourself for it.
- "America has a very serious problem. Not only does America have a very serious problem, but our people have a very serious problem. America's problem is us. We're her problem. The only reason she has a problem is she doesn't want us here."
- Statement in Detroit, Michigan (10 November 1963)
- "I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment."
- Speech, New York City (12 December 1964)
- "I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being, neither white, black, brown nor red. When you are dealing with humanity as one family, there's no question of integration or intermarriage. It's just one human being marrying another human being, or one human being living around and with another human being."
- Interview for the Pierre Berton Show. Toronto, Ontario, (19 January 1965)
- "I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color."
- Interview (January 1965?); quoted in By Any Means Necessary
- "You can’t separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."
- Speech in New York City (7 January 1965); published in Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements (1965)
Malcolm X Speaks (1965)
Full title: Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements
- "You can't have capitalism without racism."
- "There is nothing in our book, the Qur'an, that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone lays a hand on you, send him to the cemetery."
- "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it."
- "Power never takes a back step— only in the face of more power."
- "Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born here in America doesn't make you an American."
- "Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. You don't need anything else."
- "Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change."
- "If you're afraid of black nationalism, you're afraid of revolution. And if you love revolution, you love black nationalism. To understand this, you have to go back to what the young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro back during slavery. There were two kinds of slaves, the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes - they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good because they ate his food - what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved the master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master's house - quicker than the master would. If the master said, "We got a good house here," the house Negro would say, "Yeah, we got a good house here." Whenever the master said "we," he said "we." That's how you can tell a house Negro."
- "If the master's house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, "What's the matter, boss, we sick?" We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, "Let's run away, let's escape, let's separate," the house Negro would look at you and say, "Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?" That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a "house nigger." And that's what we call them today, because we've still got some house niggers running around here."
- "This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He'll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about "I'm the only Negro out here." "I'm the only one on my job." "I'm the only one in this school." You're nothing but a house Negro. And if someone comes to you right now and says, "Let's separate," you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. "What you mean, separate? From America, this good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?" I mean, this is what you say. "I ain't left nothing in Africa," that's what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa."
- "On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The field Negroes - those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there were Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house they ate high up on the hog. The Negro in the field didn't get anything but what was left of the insides of the hog."
- "The field Negro was beaten from morning to night; he lived in a shack, in a hut; he wore old, castoff clothes. He hated his master. I say he hated his master. He was intelligent. That house Negro loved his master, but that field Negro - remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master. When the house caught on fire, he didn't try to put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze. When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he'd die. If someone came to the field Negro and said, "Let's separate, let's run," he didn't say, "Where we going?" He'd say, "Any place is better than here." speech (9th November, 1963)
- "A chicken can't produce a duck egg. It has not the means nor the system within to produce a duck egg. In the same way the Capitalist system cannot produce freedom for a black man. It has not the means within to produce freedom, it has not the educational means, the political means, the legislative means. And if a chicken was to produce a duck egg, it would be considered a revolutionary chicken."
- "I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash but I don't think it will be based on the color of the skin."
- "I don't call it violence when it's self-defense, I call it intelligence."
- "I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they'll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action."
- "I've had enough of someone else's propaganda. I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against. I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole."
- "If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it's wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it's wrong for America to draft us and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country."
- "The economic philosophy of black nationalism only means that our people need to be re-educated into the importance of controlling the economy of the community in which we live, which means that we won’t have to constantly be involved in picketing and boycotting other people in other communities in order to get jobs."
- "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
- The political philosophy of black nationalism means that the black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community; no more.
- "We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary."
- "When a person places the 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 preserve his freedom."
- "You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it."
- "If you don't stand up for something, you'll fall for anything."
- "Any time you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing something you aren't."
- "This religion recognizes all men as brothers. It accepts all human beings as equals before God, and as equal members in the Human Family of Mankind. I totally reject Elijah Muhammad's racist philosophy, which he has labeled 'Islam' only to fool and misuse gullible people as he fooled and misused me. But I blame only myself, and no one else for the fool that I was, and the harm that my evangelical foolishness on his behalf has done to others."
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- "The next day I was in my car driving along the freeway when at a red light another car pulled alongside. A white woman was driving and on the passenger's side, next to me, was a white man. "Malcolm X!" he called out-and when I looked, he stuck his hand out of his car, across at me, grinning. "Do you mind shaking hands with a white man?" Imagine that! Just as the traffic light turned green, I told him, "I don't mind shaking hands with human beings. Are you one?"
- Chicago Defender (November 28, 1962)