Malcolm X quotes

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Malcolm X

Birthdate: 19. May 1925
Date of death: 21. February 1965
Other names: Malcolm Little

Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

His father was killed when he was six and his mother was placed in a mental hospital when he was thirteen, after which he lived in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age twenty, he went to prison for larceny and breaking and entering. While in prison, he became a member of the Nation of Islam , changing his birth name Malcolm Little to Malcolm X because, he later wrote, Little was the name that "the white slavemaster ... had imposed upon my paternal forebears." After his parole in 1952 he quickly rose to become one of the organization's most influential leader, serving as the public face of the controversial group for a dozen years. In his autobiography, Malcolm X wrote proudly of some of the social achievements the Nation made while he was a member, particularly its free drug rehabilitation program. The Nation promoted black supremacy, advocated the separation of black and white Americans, and rejected the civil rights movement for its emphasis on integration.

By March 1964, Malcolm X had grown disillusioned with the Nation of Islam and its leader Elijah Muhammad. Expressing many regrets about his time with them, which he had come to regard as largely wasted, he embraced Sunni Islam. After a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East, which included completing the Hajj, he also became known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. He repudiated the Nation of Islam, disavowed racism and founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and black self-defense.

On February 21, 1965, he was assassinated by three members of the Nation of Islam.

Photo: Marion S. Trikosko / Public domain

Works

„Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.“

—  Malcolm X

Speech at Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (28 June 1964), as quoted in By Any Means Necessary (1970)
By any means necessary: speeches, interviews, and a letter (1970)
Variant: The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.
Source: Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers' Power
Context: Education is an important element in the struggle for human rights. It is the means to help our children and our people rediscover their identity and thereby increase their self respect. Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today.

„Anytime you have to rely upon your enemy for a job you’re in bad shape.“

—  Malcolm X

The Ballot or the Bullet (1964), Speech in Detroit, Michigan (12 April 1964)
Context: So our people not only have to be re-educated to the importance of supporting black business, but the black man himself has to be made aware of the importance of going into business. And once you and I go into business, we own and operate at least the businesses in our community. What we will be doing is developing a situation wherein we will actually be able to create employment for the people in the community. And once you can create some employment in the community where you live it will eliminate the necessity of you and me having to act ignorantly and disgracefully, boycotting and picketing some place else trying to beg him for a job. Anytime you have to rely upon your enemy for a job you’re in bad shape.

„I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination.“

—  Malcolm X

Interview (January 1965?)
By any means necessary: speeches, interviews, and a letter (1970)
Context: 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.

„We need to expand the civil-rights struggle to a higher level—to the level of human rights. Whenever you are in a civil-rights struggle, whether you know it or not, you are confining yourself to the jurisdiction of Uncle Sam. No one from the outside world can speak out in your behalf as long as your struggle is a civil-rights struggle. Civil rights comes within the domestic affairs of this country.“

—  Malcolm X

The Ballot or the Bullet (1964), Speech in Cleveland, Ohio (April 3, 1964)
Context: We need to expand the civil-rights struggle to a higher level—to the level of human rights. Whenever you are in a civil-rights struggle, whether you know it or not, you are confining yourself to the jurisdiction of Uncle Sam. No one from the outside world can speak out in your behalf as long as your struggle is a civil-rights struggle. Civil rights comes within the domestic affairs of this country. All of our African brothers and our Asian brothers and our Latin-American brothers cannot open their mouths and interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States. And as long as it’s civil rights, this comes under the jurisdiction of Uncle Sam. But the United Nations has what’s known as the charter of human rights; it has a committee that deals in human rights. You may wonder why all of the atrocities that have been committed in Africa and in Hungary and in Asia, and in Latin America are brought before the UN, and the Negro problem is never brought before the UN. This is part of the conspiracy. This old, tricky blue eyed liberal who is supposed to be your and my friend, supposed to be in our corner, supposed to be subsidizing our struggle, and supposed to be acting in the capacity of an adviser, never tells you anything about human rights. They keep you wrapped up in civil rights. And you spend so much time barking up the civil-rights tree, you don’t even know there’s a human-rights tree on the same floor.

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„I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.“

—  Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
Context: I told the Englishman that my alma mater was books, a good library. Every time I catch a plane, I have with me a book that I want to read—and that’s a lot of books these days. If I weren’t out here every day battling the white man, I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity—because you can hardly mention anything I’m not curious about.

Chapter 11, paragraph 59 http://www.uri.edu/library/inscriptions/almamater.html

„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.“

—  Malcolm X

Quoted by William B. Whitman, The Quotable Politician p. 197.
Attributed
Source: By Any Means Necessary

„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.“

—  Malcolm X, book The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Variant: 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 is for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.
Source: The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Source: The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), p. 400
Context: 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.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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