Social Justice

Malcolm X speaks in Detroit - February 1965

Part One

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TITLE: Malcolm X speaks in Detroit - February 1965

AUTHOR: Malcolm X

SOURCE: Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

PERMISSION: Educational use permitted.

Malcolm X was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. His given name was Malcolm Little, but he changed his surname in 1952 when he joined the Nation of Islam. A week before he was assassinated, and hours after his home was firebombed, Malcolm X gave the following speech in Detroit.

This audio recording of Malcolm X's full speech as been downloaded from the C. Eric Lincoln Collection of the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff LIbrary.

Important timestamps are as follows:

0:50 - "I was in a house last night that was bombed - my own."

4:00 - "...the revolution that's taking place on the African continent."

11:37 - "But now, the powers that be are beginning to see that this struggle on the outside by the Black man is affecting - infecting - the Black man who is on the inside of that structure."

14:45 - "I spent five months in the Middle East and Africa during the summer, and the trip was very enlightening, inspiring and fruitful. I didn't go into any African country, or any country in the Middle East for that matter, and run into any closed door, closed mind, or closed heart."

21:20 - "I am not a racist in any form whatsoever. I don't believe in any form of racism. I don't believe in any form of discrimination or segregation. I believe in Islam. I'm a Muslim."

23:35 - "The real religion of Islam doesn't teach anyone to judge another human being by the color of his skin. The yardstick that is used by the Muslim to measure another man is not the man's color but the man's deeds, the man's conscious behavior, the man's intentions."

26:08 - "But when you get the White man over here in America and he says he's White, he means something else. You can listen to the sound of his voice when he say he's White. He means he's boss. That's what White means in this language."

27:58 - "This is a society whose government doesn't hesitate to inflict the most brutal form of punishment and oppression upon dark-skinned people all over the world. To whit right now, what's going on in and around Saigon and Hanoi, and in the Congo and elsewhere. They are violent when their interests are at stake...But when sometimes for you and me, to protect ourselves against lynchers, they tell us to be nonviolent."

32:57 - "You can't ever reach a man if you don't speak his language. If a man speaks the language of brute force, you can't come to him with peace...Once you know his language, learn how to speak his language. And he'll get the point, 'til some dialogue, some communication and understanding will be developed...and then when they come upon our doorstep to talk, we can talk."

34:56 - "Since the Federal government has shown that it isn't going to do anything about it but talk, then it is a duty, it's your and my duty, as men, as human beings, it's our duty to our people to organize ourselves, and let the government know that if they don't stop that Klan, we'll stop it ourselves. And then you'll see the government start doing something about it. But don't ever think they're going to do it just on some kind of morality basis."

47:20 - "Just like the Jews ended up in gas ovens over there in Germany, you are in a society that's just as capable of building gas ovens for Black people as Hitler's society was."

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