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Malcolm x black revolution speech june 1963

That speech outlined his basic black nationalist philosophy and established him as a major critic of the civil rights movement. The speech appears below. And during the few moments that we have left, we want to have just an off-the-cuff chat between you and me -- us.

We want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand. We all agree tonight, all of the speakers have agreed, that 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. The only reason she has a problem is she doesn't want us here. And every time you look at yourself, be you black, brown, red, or yellow -- a so-called Negro -- you represent a person who poses such a serious problem for America because you're not wanted. Once you face this as a fact, then you can start plotting a course that will make you appear intelligent, instead of unintelligent. What you and I need to do malcolm x black revolution speech june 1963 learn to forget our differences.

When we come together, we don't come together as Baptists or Methodists. You don't catch hell 'cause you're a Baptist, and you don't catch hell 'cause you're a Methodist. You don't catch hell 'cause you're a Methodist or Baptist. You don't catch hell because you're a Democrat or a Republican. You don't catch hell because you're a Mason or an Elk.

And you sure don't catch hell 'cause you're an American; 'cause if you was an American, you wouldn't catch no hell. You catch hell 'cause you're a black man. You catch hell, all of us catch hell, for the same reason. So we are all black people, so-called Negroes, second-class citizens, ex-slaves. You are nothing but a ex-slave.

You don't like to be told that. But what else are you? You didn't come here on the "Mayflower. And you were brought here by the people who came here on the "Mayflower.

They were the ones who brought you here.

We have a common enemy. We have this in common: We have a common oppressor, a common exploiter, and a common discriminator. But once we all realize that we have this common enemy, then we unite on the basis of what we have in common. And what we have foremost in common is that enemy -- the white man.

He's an enemy to all of us. I know some of you all think that some of them aren't enemies. In Bandung back in, I think, 1954, was the first unity meeting in centuries of black people.

And once you study what happened at the Bandung conference, and the results of the Bandung conference, it actually serves as a model for the same procedure you and I can use to get our problems solved.

At Bandung all the nations came together. Their were dark nations from Africa and Asia. Some of them were Buddhists. Some of them were Muslim.

  • If you did, you wouldn't use that word;
  • Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research;
  • On that same plantation, there was the field Negro;
  • You may ask what does the religion of Islam have to do with American so-called Negro's changing attitude toward himself, toward the white man, toward segregation, toward integration, and toward separation, and what part will this religion of Islam play in the current black revolution that is sweeping the American continent today?
  • You don't catch hell 'cause you're a Methodist or Baptist.

Some of them were Christians. Some of them were Confucianists; some were atheists. Despite their religious differences, they came together. Some were communists; some were socialists; some were capitalists. Despite their economic and political differences, they came together. All of them were black, brown, red, or yellow.

The number-one thing that was not allowed to attend the Bandung conference was the white man. Once they excluded the white man, they found that they could get together.

Once they kept him out, everybody else fell right in and fell in line. This is the thing that you and I have to understand. And these people who came together didn't have nuclear weapons; they didn't have jet planes; they didn't have all of the heavy armaments that the white man has. But they had unity. They were able to submerge their little petty differences and agree on one thing: That though one African came from Kenya and was being colonized by the Englishman, and another African came from the Congo and was being colonized by the Belgian, and another African came from Guinea and was being colonized by the French, and another came from Angola and was being colonized by the Portuguese.

When they came to the Bandung conference, they looked at the Portuguese, and at the Frenchman, and at the Englishman, and at the other -- Dutchman -- and learned or realized that the one thing that all of them had in common: They began to recognize who their enemy was.

The same man that was colonizing our people in Kenya was colonizing our people in the Congo.

  1. I would like to just mention just one other thing else quickly, and that is the method that the white man uses, how the white man uses these "big guns," or Negro leaders, against the black revolution.
  2. We want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand. He made us spiritually blind by depriving us of the light of truth.
  3. We have a common oppressor, a common exploiter, and a common discriminator. In those days they called them what they were.
  4. Their were dark nations from Africa and Asia.
  5. But in order to set up his righteous world God must first bring down this wicked white world. You don't have a peaceful revolution.

They realized all over the world where the dark man was being oppressed, he was malcolm x black revolution speech june 1963 oppressed by the white man; where the dark man was being exploited, he was being exploited by the white man. So they got together under this basis -- that they had a common enemy. And when you and I here in Detroit and in Michigan and in America who have been awakened today look around us, we too realize here in America we all have a common enemy, whether he's in Georgia or Michigan, whether he's in California or New York.

He's the same man: So what we have to do is what they did. They agreed to stop quarreling among themselves. Any little spat that they had, they'd settle it among themselves, go into a huddle -- don't let the enemy know that you got a disagreement.

Instead of us airing our differences in public, we have to realize we're all the same family. And when you have a family squabble, you don't get out on the sidewalk. If you do, everybody calls you uncouth, unrefined, uncivilized, savage. If you don't make it at home, you settle it at home; you get in the closet -- argue it out behind closed doors.

Message to the Grass Roots

And then when you come out on the street, you pose a common front, a united front. And this is what we need to do in the community, and in the city, and in the state.

We need to stop airing our differences in front of the white man. Put the white man out of our meetings, number one, and then sit down and talk shop with each other. I would like to make a few comments concerning the difference between the black revolution and the Negro revolution.

  1. The political message of the speech was beyond the teachings of the Nation of Islam. In Algeria, the northern part of Africa, a revolution took place.
  2. You don't have a turn-the-other-cheek revolution. When you study the historic nature of revolutions, the motive of a revolution, the objective of a revolution, and the result of a revolution, and the methods used in a revolution, you may change words.
  3. Look at the American Revolution in 1776. In other words a Muslim is one who strives to live a life of righteousness.
  4. Therefore this same American white man kept the truth hidden from our people. They controlled you; they contained you; they kept you on the plantation.
  5. I was reading some beautiful words by Reverend Cleage, pointing out why he couldn't get together with someone else here in the city because all of them were afraid of being identified with black nationalism. The distinction between the Black revolution and the Negro revolution, and that between the house Negro and the field Negro, had become common features of his speeches.

Are they both the same? And if they're not, what is the difference? What is the difference between a black revolution and a Negro revolution?

First, what is a revolution? Sometimes I'm inclined to believe that many of our people are using this word "revolution" loosely, without taking careful consideration [of] what this word actually means, and what its historic characteristics are.

When you study the historic nature of revolutions, the motive of a revolution, the objective of a revolution, and the result of a revolution, and the methods used in a revolution, you may change words. You may devise another program. You may change your goal and you may change your mind. Look at the American Revolution in 1776. That revolution was for what? Why did they want land? How was it carried out? Number one, it was based on land, the basis of independence. And the only way they could get it was bloodshed.

The French Revolution -- what was it based on? The land-less against the landlord.

What was it for? How did they get it? Was no love lost; was no compromise; was no negotiation. I'm telling you, you don't know what a revolution is. The Russian Revolution -- what was it based on? How did they bring it about? You haven't got a revolution that doesn't involve bloodshed. And you're afraid to bleed. I said, you're afraid to bleed. He sent you to Germany, you bled. He sent you to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese, you bled.