Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, Muslim name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

Malcolm
X, born Malcolm Little, Muslim name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
1925
1965

African-American Muslim Minister, Human Rights Activist

Author Quotes

If someone puts their hands on you make sure they never put their hands on anybody else again.

I'm not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. 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. Why, if birth made you American, you wouldn't need any legislation; you wouldn't need any amendments to the Constitution; you wouldn't be faced with civil-rights filibustering in Washington, D.C., right now.

It takes heart to be a guerrilla warrior because you?re on your own. In conventional warfare you have tanks and a whole lot of other people with you to back you up?planes over your head and all that kind of stuff. But a guerrilla is on his own. All you have is a rifle, some sneakers and a bowl of rice, and that?s all you need?and a lot of heart.

Lyndon B. Johnson is the head of the Democratic Party. If he?s for civil rights, let him go into the Senate next week and declare himself. Let him go in there right now and declare himself. Let him go in there and denounce the Southern branch of his party. Let him go in there right now and take a moral stand?right now, not later. Tell him don?t wait until election time. If he waits too long, brothers and sisters, he will be responsible for letting a condition develop in this country which will create a climate that will bring seeds up out of the ground with vegetation on the end of them looking like something these people never dreamed of. In 1964, it?s the ballot or the bullet.

One day, I remember, a dirty glass of water was on a counter and Mr. Muhammad put a clean glass of water beside it. ?You want to know how to spread my teachings?? he said, and he pointed to the glass of water. ?Don?t condemn if you see a person has a dirty glass of water,? he said, ?just show them the clean glass of water that you have. When they inspect it, you won?t have to say that yours is better.?

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 someplace else trying to beg him for a job. Anytime you have to rely upon your enemy for a job you?re in bad shape.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.

The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he's a the victim and make the victim look like he's the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he's the victim and make the victim look like he's the criminal. If you aren't careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. If you aren't careful, because I've seen some of you caught in that bag, you run away hating yourself and loving the man ? while you're catching hell from the man. You let the man maneuver you into thinking that it's wrong to fight him when he's fighting you. He's fighting you in the morning, fighting you in the noon, fighting you at night and fighting you all in between, and you still think it's wrong to fight him back. Why? The press. The newspapers make you look wrong.

There is nothing in our book, the Koran, 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 puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That's a good religion.

Three hundred and ten years we worked in this country without a dime in return?I mean without a dime in return. You let the white man walk around here talking about how rich this country is, but you never stop to think how it got rich so quick. It got rich because you made it rich. [...] Not only did we give of our free labor, we gave of our blood. Every time he had a call to arms, we were the first ones in uniform. We died on every battlefield the white man had. We have made a greater sacrifice than anybody who?s standing up in America today. We have made a greater contribution and have collected less. Civil rights, for those of us whose philosophy is black nationalism, means: ?Give it to us now. Don?t wait for next year. Give it to us yesterday, and that?s not fast enough.?

We black men have a hard enough time in our own struggle for justice, and already have enough enemies as it is, to make the drastic mistake of attacking each other and adding more weight to an already unbearable load.

What is a Dixiecrat? A Democrat. A Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat in disguise... The Dixiecrats in Washington, D.C., control the key committees that run the government. The only reason the Dixiecrats control these committees is because they have seniority. The only reason they have seniority is because they come from states where Negroes can?t vote. This is not even a government that?s based on democracy. It is not a government that is made up of representatives of the people. Half of the people in the South can?t even vote. Eastland is not even supposed to be in Washington. Half of the senators and congressmen who occupy these key positions in Washington, D.C., are there illegally, are there unconstitutionally.

Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it.

You get your freedom by not being confined. You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you'll do anything to get your freedom. You'll get it. It's the only way you'll get it...So don?t you run around here trying to make friends with somebody who's depriving you of your rights. They're not your friends. No, they're your enemies. Treat them like that and fight them and you'll get your freedom. And after you get your freedom, your enemy will respect you. He will respect you. I say that with no hate. I have no hate in me. I don't have any hate, but I've got some sense... I'm not going to let somebody who hates me to tell me to love him. I'm not that way out.

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.

I'm sorry to say that the subject I most disliked was mathematics. I have thought about it. I think the reason was that mathematics leaves no room for argument. If you made a mistake, that was all there was to it.

It was the funniest thing, the reaction, and the way that it spread. In prison, where so little breaks the monotonous routine, the smallest thing causes a commotion of talk. It was being mentioned all over the cell block by night that Satan didn't eat pork.

My alma mater was books, a good library - I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity

One day, may we all meet together in the light of understanding.

So those of us whose political, and economic, and social philosophy is black nationalism have become involved in the civil rights struggle. We have injected ourselves into the civil rights struggle, and we intend to expand it from the level of civil rights to the level of human rights. As long as you?re fighting on the level of civil rights, you?re under Uncle Sam?s jurisdiction. You?re going to his court expecting him to correct the problem. He created the problem. He?s the criminal. You don?t take your case to the criminal; you take your criminal to court.

The government has departments to deal with the special interest groups that make themselves heard and felt. A Department of Agriculture cares for the farmers? needs. There is a Department of Health, Education and Welfare. There is a Department of the Interior ? in which the Indians are included. Is the farmer, the doctor, the Indian, the greatest problem in America today? No ? it is the black man! There ought to be a Pentagon-sized Washington department dealing with every segment of the black man?s problems.

The problem facing our people here in America is bigger than all other personal or organizational differences. Therefore as leaders, we must stop worrying about the threat we seem to think we pose to each other's personal prestige; and concentrate our united efforts towards solving the unending hurt that is being done daily to our people here in America.

These negroes aren't asking for no nation. They wanna crawl back on the plantation.

Times change so quickly that if you and I don't keep up with the times, we'll find ourselves with an umbrella in our hand, over our head, when the sun is out. Or we'll find ourselves standing in the rain, with the umbrella inside the door.

We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.

Author Picture
First Name
Malcolm
Last Name
X, born Malcolm Little, Muslim name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
Birth Date
1925
Death Date
1965
Bio

African-American Muslim Minister, Human Rights Activist