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Malcolm X

  • American activist
  • Born May 19, 1925
  • Died February 21, 1965

Malcolm X (1925–1965) was an 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.


Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.




White America is in the minority.




You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.




If ballots won't work, bullets will.




When ghetto living seems normal, you have no shame, no privacy.




My black brothers and sisters - of all religious beliefs, or of no religious beliefs - we all have in common the greatest binding tie we could have. We are all black people!




When we see that our problem is so complicated and so all-encompassing in its intent and content, then we realize that it is no longer a Negro problem, confined only to the American Negro; that it is no longer an American problem, confined only to America, but it is a problem for humanity.




Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action.




Power never takes a back step only in the face of more power.




It's hard for anyone intelligent to be nonviolent. Everything in the universe does something when you start playing with his life, except the American Negro. He lays down and says, 'Beat me, daddy.'




You can't legislate good will - that comes through education.




America preaches integration and practices segregation.




History is a people's memory, and without a memory, man is demoted to the lower animals.




History proves that the white man is a devil.




I did a lot of things as a Muslim that I am sorry for now.




The real names of our people were destroyed during slavery. The last name of my forefathers was taken from them when they were brought to America and made slaves, and then the name of the slave master was given, which we refuse, we reject that name today and refuse it. I never acknowledge it whatsoever.




We are not anti-white. But we don't have time for the white man. The white man is on top already, the white man is the boss already... he has first-class citizenship already. So you are wasting your time talking to the white man. We are working on our own people.




The true Islam has shown me that a blanket indictment of all white people is as wrong as when whites make blanket indictments against blacks.




The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.




The goal of Dr. Martin Luther King is to give Negroes a chance to sit in a segregated restaurant beside the same white man who had brutalized them for 400 years.




If you have no critics you'll likely have no success.




The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that we should be separate, all right, but in this separate state or separate existence, the black man should be given the opportunity and the incentive to do for himself what the white man has done for himself.




A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.




Segregation is that which is forced upon an inferior by a superior. Separation is done voluntarily by two equals.




The white man, in his press, is going to identify me with 'hate.'




In the past, the greatest weapon the white man has had has been his ability to divide and conquer. If I take my hand and slap you, you don't even feel it. It might sting you because these digits are separated. But all I have to do to put you back in your place is bring those digits together.




You don't have a peaceful revolution. You don't have a turn-the-cheek revolution. There's no such thing as a nonviolent revolution.




It's got to be the ballot or the bullet. The ballot or the bullet. If you're afraid to use an expression like that, you should get back in the cotton patch, you should get back in the alley.




The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that God, now, is about to establish a kingdom on this earth, based upon brotherhood and peace. And the white man is against brotherhood, and the white man is against peace.




I am for violence if non-violence means we continue postponing a solution to the American black man's problem just to avoid violence.




No, we are not anti-white. But we don't have time for the white man. The white man is on top already, the white man is the boss already... He has first-class citizenship already. So you are wasting your time talking to the white man. We are working on our own people.




My father didn't know his real name. My father got his name from his grandfather and he got his name from his grandfather and he got it from the slave master.




Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner. You must be eating 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.




Stumbling is not falling.




I believe in the brotherhood of all men, but I don't believe in wasting brotherhood on anyone who doesn't want to practice it with me. Brotherhood is a two-way street.




In the Muslim world, I had seen that men with white complexions were more genuinely brotherly than anyone else had ever been. That... was the start of a radical alteration in my whole outlook about 'white men.'



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