Audubon Ballroom, New York City
February 15, 1965
As many of you probably know, tonight we were going to unfold a program which we felt would be beneficial to the struggle of our people in this country. But because of events which are beyond our control we feel that it is best to postpone unfolding the program that we had in mind until a later date.
Sunday morning about three o’clock, somebody threw some bombs inside my house.
Normally I wouldn’t get excited over a few bombs, but the ones who threw these not only aimed them in rooms where there—where there was no one, but even in rooms where three of my daughters sleep. One daughter six, one daughter four, and one daughter two. And since I am, am quite certain that those who threw the bombs knew my house well enough to know where everyone was sleeping, I can’t quite bring my heart to the point where it can in any way be merciful, or from now on compromising, toward anyone who can be that low. Especially when I heard on the news today that Joseph, a brother that I found in the garbage can in Detroit in 1952—that’s where I found him—made the statement that I had bombed my own house.
Now you see, this doesn’t surprise me, because I know that since many of us left the Muslim movement, its intelligence and its morals have gone bankrupt. Both its intelligence and its morals have gone bankrupt.
And now they are using the same tactics that’s used by the Ku Klux Klan. When the Klan bombs your church, they say you did it. When they bomb the synagogue, they say the Jews bombed their own synagogue. This is a Klan tactic. And to me, I’ll tell you why the Black Muslim movement is now adopting the same tactic against Black people as has been up to now the exclusive method of the Ku Klux Klan.
I want to point out, too, that I’m not talking about Muslims just to make white people happy. Because I don’t believe in letting anyone use me against somebody else. I’m telling you these things because I have reached a point where I feel that Black people in this country need to know what’s going on. And I’m talking about an organization which I had a hand in building, which I had a hand in organizing. I know its characteristics. I know its potential. I know its behavior patterns. I know what it can do and what it cannot do. One of the things it can do is bomb your house and try to kill your baby.
Before we get into it, I would like to point out also, as many of you know, last Tuesday, or last weekend, I was invited to address the first congress of the Council of African Organizations in London. They had a four-day congress on the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th and had invited me there to make the closing address and bring the delegates from the various African organizations that are situated on the European continent up to date in regards to the struggle of the Black man in this country in his quest for human rights and human dignity. And in it conjunction with that invitation, I had gotten an invitation to visit Paris from the Afro-American community in Paris, which was sponsoring a rally in conjunction with the African community. And I was supposed to go there Tuesday also and address them and let them know the state of development or lack of development of our progress in this country for human rights, or toward human rights.
As many of you know, when I got to Paris, the man said I couldn’t come in—some man. French man. They gave me no explanation other than that they—we have our own. They wouldn’t let me phone the American embassy. And they tried to imply that the American embassy was behind it, which—I told them that I didn’t know de Gaulle had become a satellite of Lyndon B. Johnson. I knew that Kennedy had made a satellite out of Khrushchev and half of—and Britain—and half of these other countries, and I didn’t think that France was a satellite of the United States.
Well, it made them angry because they like to be independent, you know—or pretend to be independent. But they wouldn’t let me in. They wouldn’t let me phone the American embassy.
And later on, when I got back in London—and by the way, when I got back to London there was about twenty different delegates who were delegates from about twenty different African organizations on hand at the airport, and they were going to raise hell if anything had happened other than what should have happened. As it was, I ended back—I re-entered England with no trouble and immediately got in telephone contact with the brothers and sisters who were in Paris. And they pointed out that they had encountered some difficulty, first from the Communist trade union workers. Now mind you, Communist trade union workers had prevented them from renting their hall, and when they went to get another hall the same Communist group had exercised its influence to prevent them from getting that hall.
Finally, when they did get a hall, evidently someone was strong enough to exercise influence over the French government. And I might add that while I was in custody of the French, every time I made a request, before they would say yes or no, they telephoned the French foreign ministry. So that they were taking their orders from someone high up in the French foreign ministry who did not want me to enter France. And there’s a reason for it. I don’t blame them, because and I told the parties there—I said maybe my plane got mixed up and I was in South Africa, in the wrong country. This couldn’t be Paris, it must be Johannesburg. And they got red. And you know how they can get red. One of them was pink.
The same thing happened in England, as many of you probably read in the Sunday Times and the Tribune. There was a great fear in England concerning me speaking to the West Indian community. And because—this is because England has a very serious color problem developing, because so many of our people are migrating there from the British West Indies. France, quietly as it is kept, has a very serious color problem developing because of the migration to France of our people from the French West Indies. And with these people from the French West Indies, Black people going to France, others from the British West Indies going to England, coupled with the Asians who are coming from the Commonwealth territory, along with the Africans from French Equatorial West Africa into France, and the British possessions into Britain, there’s a large, increasing number of dark-skinned people swelling the dark population of France and Britain. And it’s giving them a great deal of horror of the world—the only difference over there and over here being that no one of black skin in France has ever tried to unite the dark-skinned people together. Neither have they done so in England. So you can somewhat see what their fear is.
No effort has been made to unite the Afro-American community or the American Negro community with the West Indian community and then those two communities with the African community, and both communities with the Asian community. This has never been done, in neither England or France. But when I was in France in November just for a few days, I was successful in getting a few of the Afro-Americans who live there together, and they formed a branch of the OAAU, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. And as soon as they formed this branch, they began to work in conjunction with the African organization and became a power that had to be reckoned with. And this is what the French government did not want.
Also the same thing in Britain. The West Indian community is very restless, or rather, yes, restless and dissatisfied. And they too are trying to organize or find someone who can bring them together. And this has caused in England a great deal of fear, a great deal of concern. And the effect of it is that it makes them act in a very silly way sometimes. Now, to leave that for a moment, as you’ll recall, when I was in Mecca in September, I wrote back a letter which was printed in The New York Times in which I pointed out that it was my intention when I returned to expose Elijah Muhammad as a religious faker. This is what I wrote. Now, while I was in Mecca among the Muslims, I had a chance to meditate and think and see things with a great deal of clarity—with much greater clarity than I’ve achieved from over here, entangled with all this mess that we are confronted by constantly. And I had made up my mind, yes, that I was going to tell the Black people in the Western Hemisphere, who I had played a great role in misleading into the hands of Elijah Muhammad, exactly what kind of man he was and what he was doing.
And I might point out right here that it was not a case of my knowing all the time, because I didn’t. I had blind faith in him, the same as many of you have had and still have blind faith in me or blind faith in Moses or blind faith in somebody else. My faith in Elijah Muhammad was more blind and more uncompromising than any faith that any man has ever had for another man. And so I didn’t try to see him as he actually was. But, being away, I could see him better, understand many things better. And, well, when I came back to this country, as you recall, I was very quiet. I knew the best thing was when they tried to ask me questions about him, I ducked it. I didn’t want to get involved. I didn’t want to get into it. Well, the reason for that was this: The letter that I wrote was written when I was in Arabia, in September, whereas, after leaving Arabia I had gone into Africa. I had had an opportunity to hold long discussions with President Julius Nyerere in what is now Tanzania; with Jomo Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, the Republic of Kenya; long discussions with Prime Minister Milton Obote of Uganda; President Azikiwe of Nigeria; President Nkrumah of Ghana; and President Sekou Toure in Guinea. And the understanding that I had in conversations with these men is that they are great men.
The understanding that I got broadened my scope so much that I felt I could see the problems and complaints of Black people in America and the Western Hemisphere with much greater clarity.
And I felt foolish coming back to this country and getting into a little two-bit argument with some bird-brained person who calls himself a Black Muslim. I felt I was wasting my time. I felt it would be a drag for me to come back here and allow myself to be in a whole lot of public arguments and physical fisticuffs—knowing what I knew, and knowing that it would actually be more beneficial to our people if a constructive program were put in front of them immediately.
Many of you will recall that shortly after I came back, despite the fact that I said nothing about the Black Muslims, a wire was put in the newspaper under the name of Raymond Sharrieff threatening me if I were to say anything about Elijah Muhammad. Actually that wasn’t Raymond Sharrieff’s wire, that was Elijah Muhammad’s wire. Raymond Sharrieff has no words of his own.
If you recall, when I was in the Black Muslim movement, I never said anything without saying Elijah Muhammad seems to believe thus and so, or Elijah Muhammad said thus and so. This is the way the Black Muslim movement is organized. Nobody makes any public statement unless it comes from Elijah Muhammad. And nobody makes any move unless it comes from Elijah Muhammad. They didn’t do it then and they don’t do it now. So, when Raymond Sharrieff put that letter in the paper—that wire, rather, in the paper—that wire was from Elijah Muhammad himself. And he was trying to irk me into saying something so that a public hullabaloo would take place again because they wanted to jockey me into the same position I was in before I left the country. Before I left the country, I had permitted them to jockey me into a position—me and the good brothers and sisters who also had sense enough to leave from down there—I was foolish enough to let them jockey me into a position where we were taking potshots at each other, so to speak, and it was known throughout the country that the Muslims in the temple were trying to do this thing.
So it put me in a spot where anybody could do it and then blame it on those foolish Muslims. And I was well aware of this. So, by staying away for four or five months, that ended. But when I came back, being quiet, they wanted the same thing again. They wanted some more hullabaloo so that it would appear that the Black Muslims were going to do this and the Black Muslims were going to do that and then anybody could do it and blame those fools and they wouldn’t have sense enough to see it. You can understand that can’t you? And when I say anybody, I mean anybody. But I know who those anybodies are.
I continue to concentrate, continue to ignore them and concentrate on trying to get the Organization of Afro- American Unity better organized. Because I knew that and I felt that what it had in mind would actually solve the problems of many of our people—most of our people.
If you’ll notice and, but despite the fact that I tried to keep quiet, on January 22 I came out of my house one night and they jumped me, on a Friday night, about 11:15. Now, I knew that they weren’t out there waiting for me, because normally I wouldn’t come out at that time of the night. So that when I did come out and ran into them and they did jump me, I knew then that they were casing my house. And frankly, I waited for them for a month. I’d sit around that house with my rifle; stayed up all times of the night just to get one chance to put somebody in hell. Just one chance. I warned my wife at that time that they were casing the it house. Again, I know their behavior. And I also became more careful, wherever I would go and whenever I would go anywhere. And then to make it worse, when I went to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, they had gotten so insane that they chased me right down the Hollywood Freeway in broad daylight. Yes!
Now, the thing that you have to consider about this is, the police were at the airport. The police knew what they were up to. In fact, the police arrested a couple of them in front of someone’s home the night before. They knew all about it. Nothing was said in the paper. Now, imagine someone is chasing you down the Hollywood Freeway at eighty miles an hour and it doesn’t get in the paper. No.
So later on—that was on a Thursday. Friday I was in Chicago. I appeared on the Kup show. And when I went on the Kup show I had about twenty police. There were twenty police out there guarding the station. It might seem odd, but the Muslims were there. And they even tried to attack the police, which was never put in the paper. They followed the police, because of that—they act kind of nuts. And I’m so thankful that I’m out of there, I don’t expect...because I was the same kind of nut. I was just as nuts as they were. If Elijah Muhammad had told me to go get somebody’s head, I would have gone and gotten it just like that. And that’s what’s the matter with them. They’re only following what I taught them how to do. So, I understand.
But despite the fact that they put on this performance, it was quieted down. Nothing was said about it. And then the night I was on the Susskind show, the David Susskind Show, those same persons were—had surrounded the station. They had even almost strong-armed the police. The police didn’t do a thing to strike back at them. They almost strong-armed them. Nothing was done about that. But while I was on the show they had come to the studio and told Susskind that I wasn’t going to be down there that night. And told him that I would never make it. But, again, I know how they do, and I, thanks to Allah, did something other than what they expected.
So, the next thing that irritated them and irritated them the most was this. And I’ve been doing it for a month, and nobody knew why I was doing it. You notice, I had shifted my attack from them to Rockwell and the Ku Klux Klan. For the past month I’ve been beating on the Klan and beating on Rockwell and beating on these so-called rightwingers. You may wonder why. I sent a wire to Rockwell warning him if anything happened to Black people in Alabama that we would give him maximum retaliation. The press knew it. You heard nothing it about it. Rockwell disappeared because he’s scared of power like anybody else. Because they know that he has strength only as long as he’s dealing with somebody that’s nonviolent. Good Lord. Rockwell and his whole crowd agree only as long as they’re dealing with someone nonviolent. The Ku Klux Klan and that crowd agree only when they’re dealing it with someone nonviolent. Citizens’ Council and that crowd agree only when they’re dealing with someone that’s nonviolent. And you know it.
So, he cleared out. I went to Alabama. I went to Alabama purposely to see what was happening down there. While I was there, I wasn’t trying to interfere with King’s program, whatever it was. He was in jail. I talked, I spoke it at Tuskegee. I spoke at Tuskegee Institute last Tuesday night, I think it was. There were over 3,000 students and others. And it was the students themselves that night who insisted that I go with them the next morning to Selma, some students from Smith. So I went. After giving it careful thought, I went.
When I got to Selma, the press began to bug me right it away. And I wouldn’t even tell them my name. I just ignored them completely. So they insisted that I hold a press conference. I didn’t ask for a press conference. They insisted that I hold a press conference. Which was held. And while the press was there, the Klan was there. When you’re looking at the cops in Alabama, you’re looking at the Klan. That’s who the Klan is.
Knowing where I was, right then and there, I reminded Lyndon B. Johnson of the promise he had made to good, well-meaning Americans when he was running for president. He said that if he were elected he would pull the sheets off the Ku Klux Klan. Did he not say that? Yes, he did. So, here you’ve got Klansmen knocking little babies down the road with a...you’ve got Klansmen knocking Black women down in front of a camera and that poor fool Black man standing on the sidelines because he’s nonviolent. Now, we don’t go along with a thing like that.
Well, it was then, in Selma, Alabama, in front of the face of the Ku Klux Klan that I demanded in your name, the Organization of Afro-American Unity—could I make that demand in your name? Since 97 percent of the Black people in this country had supported Lyndon B. Johnson and his promise, and now that his party has the largest majority that any president has had in a long time, Lyndon B. Johnson is obligated to the Black man in this country to put up an immediate federal commission to investigate the Ku Klux Klan, which is a criminal organization organized to murder and maim and cripple Black people in this country.
And, I pointed out that if Lyndon B. Johnson could not keep his promise and expose the Ku Klux Klan, then we would be within our rights to come to Alabama and organize the Black people of Alabama and pull the sheets off the Klan ourselves. And we can do it. Brothers and sisters, we can do it. And the federal government won’t do it. Since then, they’ve been talking about a little investigation of the Klan and the Citizens’ Council and the Black Muslims and some of the others. But they’re not going to do anything. The only way the Klan is going to be stopped is when you and I organize and stop them ourselves. Yes, that’s what’s out there.
You may say, well, why am I so down on the Klan all of a sudden? I’m going to tell you why. And why did I shift my attack from the Black Muslims—Elijah Muhammad and his immoral self—to the Klan? Yes, he’s immoral. You can’t take nine teenaged women and seduce them and give them babies and not tell me you’re—and then tell me you’re moral. You could do it if you admitted you did it and admitted that the babies were yours. I’d shake your hand and call you a man. A good one too. Any time you seduce teenaged girls and make them be with child with adultery, make them hide your crimes, why, you’re not even a man, much less a divine man. So, and this is what he did. He took at least nine that we know about. And I’m not speculating, because he told this to me himself. Yes, that’s why he wants me dead because he knew as soon as I walked out that I’d tell it. Nine of them. Not two of them who are suing him, but nine of them. And the FBI knows it. The law in Chicago knows it. The press even knows it. And they don’t expose the man.
And don’t let me get out of here tonight without telling you why they won’t expose him. Why they’re afraid to expose him. They know that if they expose him, that he has them all set. See, the Black Muslim movement, it was organized in such a way that it attracted the most militant, the most uncompromising, the most fearless, and the youngest of the Black people in the United States. That’s who went into it. Those who didn’t mind dying. They didn’t mind making a sacrifice. All they were interested in was freedom and justice and equality, and they would do anything to see that it was brought about. These are the people who have followed him for the past twelve years. And the government knows it. But all these upfront militants have been held in check by an organization that doesn’t take an active part in anything. And therefore it cannot be a threat to anybody because it’s not going to do anything against anybody but itself.
Don’t you know? The way they threw that bomb in there they could have thrown it in a Ku Klux Klan house. Why do they want to bomb my house? Why don’t they bomb the Klan? I’m going to tell you why.
In 1960, in December, in December of 1960, I was in the home of Jeremiah, the minister in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m ashamed to say it, but I’m going to tell you the truth. I sat at the table myself with the heads of the Ku Klux Klan. I sat there myself, with the heads of the Ku Klux Klan, who at that time were trying to negotiate with Elijah Muhammad so that they could make available to him a large area of land in Georgia or I think it was South Carolina. They had some very responsible persons in the government who were involved in it and who were willing to go along with it. They wanted to make this land available to him so that his program of separation would sound more feasible to Negroes and therefore lessen the pressure that the integrationists were putting upon the white man. I sat there. I negotiated it. I listened to their offer. And I was the one who went back to Chicago and told Elijah Muhammad what they had offered. Now, this was in December of 1960.
The code name that Jeremiah gave the Klan leader was 666. Whenever they would refer to him they would refer to him as Old Six. What his name was right now escapes me. But they even sat there and told stories how—what they had done on different escapades that they had been involved in. Jeremiah was there and his wife was there and I was there and the Klan was there.
From that day onward the Klan never interfered with the Black Muslim movement in the South. Jeremiah attended Klan rallies, as you read on the front page of the New York Tribune. They never bothered him, never touched him. He never touched a Muslim, and a Muslim never touched him. Elijah Muhammad would never let me go back down since January of 1961. I never went South, as long as I remained in the Black Muslim movement, again, from January of 1961, because most of the actions the Muslims got involved in was action that I was involved in myself. Wherever it happened in the country, where there was an action, it was action that I was involved in, because I believed in action. I never have gone along with no Ku Klux Klan.
And another one that he had made a deal with was this man Rockwell. Rockwell and Elijah Muhammad are regular correspondents with each other. You can hate me for telling you this, but I’m going to tell it to you. Rockwell attended the rally because Elijah Muhammad put the okay on it. And Sharrieff, the captain of the FOI, and I had discussed it, wondering why Rockwell could come to our meeting because it didn’t help us. But Elijah Muhammad said let him in, so he had to be let in. No one questioned what Elijah Muhammad said. Now, if you doubt that this is true, you get all of the back issues of Muhammad Speaks newspaper and you will find articles in it about the Ku Klux Klan actually praising him. Jeremiah interviewed—I think it was—J.B. Stoner for the Muslim newspaper, and the old devil even gave him a contribution that he reported about in that paper. Sure he did.
When the brothers in Monroe, Louisiana, were involved in trouble with the police, if you’ll recall, Elijah Muhammad got old Venable. Venable is the Ku Klux Klan lawyer. He’s a Ku Klux Klan chieftain, according to the Saturday Evening Post, that was up on the witness stand. Go back and read the paper and you’ll see that Venable was the one who represented the Black Muslim movement in Louisiana.
Now, brothers and sisters, until 1961, until 1960, until just before Elijah Muhammad went to the East, there was not a better organization among Black people in this country than the Muslim movement. It was militant. It made the whole struggle of the Black man in this country pick up momentum because of the unity, the militancy, created by the Muslim movement lent weight to the struggle of the Black man in this country against oppression.
But after 1960, after Elijah Muhammad went over there in December of ‘59 and came back in January of ‘60—when he came back, the whole trend or direction that he formerly had taken began to change. And in that change there’s a whole lot of other things that had come into the picture. But he began to be more mercenary. More interested in money. More interested in wealth And, yes, more interested in girls.
And I guess many of you have heard it said that his financial support comes from a rich man in Texas. I heard that while I was in the movement. I’ve heard it more since I left the movement. A rich man in Texas. You can look up, any of you can look up his name. But the FBI knows that too. But they still don’t touch him. And never have I seen a man—and this rich man who lives in Texas, by the way, lives in Dallas. His headquarters is in Dallas, his money is in Dallas, the same city where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. And never have I seen a man in my life more afraid, more frightened than Elijah Muhammad was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I’ve never in my life seen a man as frightened as he was. And when I made the statement that I did, why he almost cracked up behind it because there were all kinds of implications to it that at that time were way above and beyond my understanding.
Now you may wonder, why is it so important to many interests for the Black Muslim movement to remain? But I told you, it has the most militant, most uncompromising, most dissatisfied Black people in America in it. Many have left it, many are still in it. The fear has been that if anything happened to Elijah Muhammad and the Black Muslim movement were to crumble, that all those militants who formerly were in it and were held in check would immediately become involved in the civil rights struggle, and they would add the same kinds of energy to the civil rights struggle that they gave to the Black Muslim movement. And there’s a great fear. You know yourself, white people don’t like for Black people to get involved in anything to do with civil rights unless those Black people are nonviolent, loving, patient, forgiving, and all of that. They don’t like it otherwise.
And there has been a conspiracy across the country on the part of many factions of the press to suppress news that would open the eyes of the Muslims who are following Elijah Muhammad. They continue to make him look like he’s a prophet somewhere who is getting some messages direct from God and is untouchable and things of that sort. I’m telling you the truth. But they do know that if something were to happen and all these brothers, their eyes were to come open, they would be right out here in every one of these civil rights organizations making these Uncle Tom Negro leaders stand up and fight like men instead of running around here nonviolently acting like women.
So they hope Elijah Muhammad remains as he is for a long time because they know that any organization that he heads, it will not do anything in the struggle that the Black man is confronted with in this country. Proof of which, look how violent they can get. They were violent, they’ve been violent from coast to coast. Muslims, in the Muslim movement, have been involved in cold, calculated violence. And not at one time have they been involved in any violence against the Ku Klux Klan. They’re capable. They’re qualified. They’re equipped. They know how to do it. But they’ll never do it—only to another brother. Now, I am well aware of what I’m setting in motion by what I’m saying up here tonight. I’m well aware. But I have never said or done anything in my life that I wasn’t prepared to suffer the consequences for.
Now, what does this have to do with France, England, the United States? You and I are living at a time when there’s a revolution going on. A worldwide revolution. It goes beyond Mississippi. It goes beyond Alabama. It goes beyond Harlem. There’s a worldwide revolution going on. And it’s in two phases.
Number one, what is it revolting against? The power structure. The American power structure? No. The French power structure? No. The English power structure? No. Then what power structure? An international Western power structure. An international power structure consisting of American interests, French interests, English interests, Belgian interests, European interests. These countries that formerly colonized the dark man formed into a giant international combine. A structure, a house that has ruled the world up until now. And in recent times there has been a revolution taking place in Asia and in Africa, whacking away at the strength or at the foundation of the power structure.
Now, the man was shook up enough when Africa was in revolt and when Asia was in revolt. All of this revolt was actually taking place on the outside of his house, on the outside of his base, or on the outside of his headquarters. But now he’s faced with something new. Just as the French and the British and the—the French, and the British, and the Americans formed one huge home or house or power structure, those brothers in Africa and Asia, although they are fighting against it, they also have some brothers on the inside of the house. And as fast as the brothers in Africa and Asia get their independence, get freedom, get strength, begin to rise up, begin to change their image from negative to positive, this African image that has jumped from negative to positive affects the image that the Black man in the Western Hemisphere has of himself.
Whereas in the West Indies and in Latin American countries and in the United States, you or I used to be ashamed of ourselves, used to look down upon ourselves, used to have no tendency whatsoever or desire whatsoever to stick together. As the African nations become independent and mold a new image a positive image, a militant image, an upright image, the image of a man, not a boy. How has this affected the Black man in the Western Hemisphere? It has taken the Black man in the Caribbean and given him some pride. It has given pride to the Black man in Latin America and has given pride to the Black man right here in the United States. So that when the Black revolution begins to roll on the African continent it affects the Black man in the United States and affects the relationship between the Black man and the white man in the United States.
When the Black man in the Caribbean sees the brother on the continent of Africa waking up and rising up, the Black man in the Caribbean begins to throw back his shoulders and stick out his chest and stand up. Now, when that Black man goes to England he’s right inside the English power structure, ready to give it trouble. When the Black man from the French West Indies goes to France, why the effect upon him of the African revolution is the same as the effect upon us here in the States by the African revolution. This is what you have to understand.
Now, up to now there have been Black people in France, divided. Black people in England, divided. Black people here in America, divided. What divided us? Our lack of pride. Our lack of racial identity. Our lack of racial pride. Our lack of cultural roots. We had nothing in common. But as the African nation got its independence and changed its image we became proud of it. And to the same degree that we became proud of it we began to have something in common to that same degree. So, whereas formerly it was difficult to unite Black people, today it is easier to unite Black people. Where formerly Black people didn’t want to come together with Black people, but only with white people, today you find Black people want to come together with Black people. All they need is someone to start the ball rolling.
So this is what you have to understand. And as the brothers on the African continent lead the way, it has an effect and an impact upon the brothers here, upon the brothers here in the Western Hemisphere. So that when you find the Afro-American community in France uniting not only with itself, but for the first time beginning to unite and work in conjunction with the African community, this frightens old De Gaulle to death, because he sees some new problems in front of him.
And when the Afro and West Indian community, which is an Afro-American community in England, begins to unite and then unite also with the African community in England and reach out and get the Asian community, it’s trouble for old John Bull. Trouble that he never foresaw before. And this is something that he has to face up to.
Likewise, here in America, with you and me. For the first time in our history here you find we have a tendency to want to come together. For the first time we have a tendency to want to work together. And, up to now, no organization on the American continent has tried to unite you and me with our brothers and sisters back home. At no time. None of them. Marcus Garvey did it. They put him in jail. They framed him. The government—framed him and put him in jail. Marcus Garvey tried.
The only fear that exists is that you and I once we get united will also unite with our brothers and sisters. And since they knew that my calling in life, as a Muslim— number one, I’m a Muslim, for which I’m proud. And in no way has that changed, my being a Muslim. My religion is Islam. What’s that? [Interjection from audience] Okay. Y’all sit down and be cool. Just sit down and be cool.
As a Muslim, when I left the Black Muslim movement, I realized that what we taught in there was not authentic Islam. My first journey was to Mecca to make myself an authentic Muslim. And to bring them there up to date on the problems that our people who are Muslims had. As soon as we established our religious authenticity with the Muslim world, we set up the Organization of Afro-American Unity and took immediate steps to make certain that we would be in direct contact with our African brothers on the African continent. So the first step that has been taken, brothers and sisters, since Garvey died, to actually establish contact between the 22 million Black Americans with our brothers and sisters back home was done by two organizations. Done first by the Muslim Mosque, which gave us direct ties with our brothers and sisters in Asia and Africa who are Muslims. And, you know we’ve got to unite with them, because there are 700 million Muslims and we surely need to stop being the minority and become part of the majority.
So, as Muslims, we united with our Muslim brothers in Asia and Africa. And as members of the Organization of African, or Afro-American Unity, we set out on a program to unite our people on this continent with our people on the mother continent. And this frightened many power—many interests in this country. Many people in this country who want to see us the minority and who don’t want to see us taking too militant or too uncompromising a stand are absolutely against the successful regrouping or organizing of any faction in this country whose thought and whose thinking patterns is international, rather than national. Whose thought patterns, whose hopes and aspirations are worldly rather than just within the context of the United States border or the borderline of the United States.
So this has been the purpose of the OAAU and also the Muslim Mosque to give us direct links, direct contact, direct communication and cooperation with our brothers and sisters all over the earth. And once we are successful in uniting ourselves with our people all over the world, it puts us in a position where we no longer are a minority who can be abused and walked upon. We become a part of the majority. And then if this man over here plays too rough, we have some brothers who can play as rough as he. So that’s all I have to say about that.
I wanted you to know that my house was bombed. It was bombed by the Black Muslim movement upon the orders of Elijah Muhammad. And when the bomb was thrown, one of the bombs was thrown at the rear window of my house where my three little baby girls sleep. And I have no compassion or mercy or forgiveness or anything of that sort for anyone who attacks children. If you attack me, that’s one thing. I know what to do when you start attacking me, but when you attack sleeping babies, why, you are lower than a God...
The only thing that I regret in all of this is that two Black groups have to fight and kill each other off. Elijah Muhammad could stop the whole thing tomorrow, just by raising his hand. Really, he could. He could stop the whole thing by raising his hand. But he won’t. He doesn’t love Black people. He doesn’t even want to go forward. Proof of which, they’re killing each other. They killed one in the Bronx. They shot another one in the Bronx. They tried to get six of us Sunday morning. And the pattern has developed across the country. The man has gone insane, absolutely out of his mind. Besides, you can’t be seventy-years-old and surround yourself by a handful of sixteen-, seventeen-, eighteen-year- old girls and keep your right mind.
So, from tonight on, there’ll be a hot time in the old town. With regret. With great regret. There’s no organization in this country that could do more for the struggling Black man than the Black Muslim movement if it wanted to, but it has gotten into the possession of a man who’s become senile in his old age and perhaps doesn’t realize it. And then he has surrounded himself by his children, who are now in power and want nothing but luxury and security and comfort and will do anything to safeguard their own interests.
So, I feel responsible for having played a major role in developing a criminal organization. It was not a criminal organization at the outset. It was an organization that had the power, the spiritual power, to reform the criminal. And this is what you have to understand. As long as that strong spiritual power was in the movement, it gave the moral strength to the believer that would enable him to rise above all his negative tendencies. I know, because I went into the movement with more negative tendencies than anybody in the movement. It was faith in what I was taught that made it possible for me to stop doing anything that I was doing and everything that I was doing. And I saw thousands of brothers and sisters come in who were in the same condition. And whatever they were doing, they would stop it overnight, just through faith and faith alone. And by this spiritual force, giving one the faith that enabled one to exercise some moral discipline, it became an organization that was to be respected as well as feared.
But as soon as the faith in the movement, the faith in the minds of the people in the movement was destroyed, now it has become a movement that’s organized but not on a spiritual basis. And because there’s no spiritual ingredient within the organization, there’s no moral discipline. For it now consists of brothers and sisters who were once well meaning, but now who do not have the strength to discipline themselves. So they permit themselves to be used as a machine for a man who, as I say, has gone senile and is using them now to commit murder, acts of maiming and crippling other people.
And, I know that there’s a brother sitting in here right now, tonight, who was beaten by them a couple of years ago—I’m not going to say. He knows. And if anybody should apologize to him, I should apologize to him. And I do apologize to him. Because he was beaten by the movement when I was in the movement, and I wasn’t too far from him when he got beaten.
But this is what happens and this is what we have to contend with. I, for one, disassociate myself from the movement completely. And I dedicate myself to the organizing of Black people into a group that are interested in doing things constructive, not for just one religious segment of the community, but for the entire Black community. This is what the purpose of the Organization of Afro-American Unity is. 1b have an action program that’s for the good of the entire Black community, and we are for it the betterment of the community by any means necessary.
And, since tonight we had to get into this old nasty, negative subject, we didn’t want to bring up our program. We’re going to have a rally here this coming Sunday at two o’clock in the afternoon, at two o’clock—is it two o’clock Brother Ruben? Two o’clock. At two o’clock, at it which time we will give you the program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity; what our aims are, our objectives are, what our program is, whether or not you want to be identified with it, and what active part you can play in helping us to straighten Harlem out. Nobody’s going to straighten out Harlem but us. Nobody cleans up your house for you. You have to clean it up yourself. it Harlem is our house; we’ll clean it up. But when we clean it up, we’ll also control it. We’ll control the politics. We’ll control the economy. We’ll control the school system and see that our people get a break.
So, on that note, I’m going to bring my talk to a close. I’m going to let you have a five minute recess, during which time we’re going to take up a collection so that we it can pay for the expense of the hall. And then we’ll take a fifteen-minute question period afterwards.
So, Brother James, is everything all set? Yes. We’re going to have a—those lights are something else—we’re going to have a collection period right now, and all we want you to do brothers and sisters, is to help us pay for the hall. And if each of you put a dollar in those white pails that’s going by, we’ll have the hall paid for. And I really want to apologize to you for taking your good time tonight to talk about a nasty, negative subject. But if you wake up in the middle of the night and see your house on fire all around you, with your babies crying, you’ll take time to get on a nasty, negative subject, too.
* * *
Malcolm X: I want to thank you for your patience. And ask you to be patient just a couple—this microphone doesn’t seem to be up at all. Sir, was there—there was some questions you wanted to ask, was it?
Malcolm X: Yes, the press here wants to ask a couple questions. I just want to take time to answer them for them, then wel1 get right into our business. We can get rid of them and get right into our business.
Malcolm X: Well, I’m not at the house, because the house was bombed out.
Malcolm X: I wouldn’t say. Behind what has happened, I wouldn’t ever say where I’m going to live.
Question: What do you mean when you say “there’s a hot time in the old town tonight”?
Malcolm X: Well, that’s an expression. Okay....This is the press. They want to get some questions out of the way. Please. When I said there’d be a hot time in the old town tonight, that’s just a song, you know, that people sing. Yes, sir?
Malcolm X: Yes, the house was bombed by the Black Muslim movement upon orders from Elijah Muhammad himself. And Raymond Sharrieff, the Supreme Captain of the FOI, stated in a telegram that he made public that the Muslims would not condone me making any statements about Elijah Muhammad. They let it be known where they stood and what they intended to do. And when they made such a statement, I was surprised that the police and the public didn’t do something about it. But they were hoping that the Black Muslim movement could get to me and then they would move in on the Black Muslim movement. I know what they’re up to. They want those fools to get me and then they’ll move in on them. I can see all the way around that.
Malcolm X: Do I feel that the police—wait a minute. Stop. Don’t go anywhere. Do I feel that the New York police are providing enough protection, or do I have to have protection of my own? I look for protection from Allah.
Question: You mentioned a conspiracy between the Black Muslims and the right wing in this country. Could you elaborate?
Malcolm X: I mentioned the conspiracy between the Muslims and the right wing in this country? I know for a fact that there is a conspiracy between, among, between the Muslims and the Lincoln Rockwell Nazis and also the Ku Klux Klan. There is a conspiracy. Well, the Ku Klux Klan made a deal, or were trying to make a deal with Elijah Muhammad in 1960 in the home of Jeremiah X, the minister in Atlanta at that time, in the presence of the minister in Philadelphia. They were trying to make a deal with him to make available to Elijah Muhammad a county-size tract of land in Georgia or South Carolina where Elijah Muhammad could then induce Negroes to migrate and make it appear that his program of a segregated state or separated state was feasible. And to what extent these negotiations finally developed, I do not know. Because I was not involved in them beyond the period of December 1960. But I do know that after that, Jeremiah, who was the minister throughout the South, could roam the entire South and the Klan not bother him in any way, shape, or form, nor would they bother any of the Black Muslims from then on. Nor would the Black Muslims bother the Klan.
Question: Are you inferring because of this conspiracy the attempt was made upon your life?
Malcolm X: The attempt could have been made upon my life at the...
Question: Are you inferring that because of this conspiracy the attempt was made upon your life?
Malcolm X: Not necessarily that conspiracy. The attempt was made upon my life because I speak my mind and I know too much and they know that I will speak it.
Question: Are you directing your followers to take any action?
Malcolm X: Am I directing my followers to take action against the Muslims? No. No.
Malcolm X: Am I going to try to infiltrate their organization and win over some of their supporters? No, I have never tried to win supporters from Elijah Muhammad. Since I have left the Black Muslim movement, I’ve spoken at these rallies. Those who come, come; those who don’t, don’t. But I’ve never gone out of my way to win over any of his followers. And he himself is fearful, because he knows that you don’t have to exercise too much energy to win his followers as soon as they know the truth and compare the two—by the way, this is the brother—this is Leon Ameer, who was Cassius Clay’s secretary, whom they beat unmercifully up in Boston. And the courts freed the men who beat him. They fined them $100—was it?—fined them $100 and he was on the inside of the Black Muslim specialty squad. And it was he who heard Elijah Muhammad, Jr., come to New York when Elijah Muhammad was at the armory in June of last year. Junior stood up and told the Fruit—many of whom are here now also—that I should have been killed. That my tongue should have been put in an envelope and sent back to Chicago by now. And because Fat Joseph had not done it, they demoted him. He remained captain, but Clarence up in Boston was put over Joseph and Joseph’s authority was curtailed. And then Clarence, the captain from Boston, and John, the captain from Springfield, came to New York to assassinate me. And came to him to get a silencer and couldn’t get it. So the police know this. It’s not something that’s new. They’re just waiting until the job is done and then they step in.
Question: Do you know that Elijah Muhammad was behind this?
Malcolm X: Yes.
Question: Or is this your belief?
Malcolm X: Elijah Muhammad invited—called all of his officials, national officials, to Chicago in October and ordered them to kill or maim any of his followers who leave him to follow me.
Malcolm X: Well, when you say, how do I know...many of the brothers who were in at that time are out now. And if this ever comes into the courts, there are plenty of witnesses who can stand up and testify to it.
Malcolm X: I’d rather not say at this time.
[Question unintelligible, protests from audience]
Malcolm X: Give them two more minutes and we’ll end it.
Malcolm X: Yes, when I said that no one could clean up our homes but us, and that we will clean it up and that no one should control it but us, including the politics; what do I mean? I mean exactly that. That the Black people--[Interjection] What? Including who? Powell? Powell is one of us--
Malcolm X: No, he’s not a member of our organization, but when I say he is one of us I mean he’s one of the family. And then no one outside the family can get up and talk about him. If we talk about him, we talk about him within the family. But nobody outside the family can instigate us against Powell.
Malcolm X: Yes, by controlling it politically I mean that the politics of the community of Harlem should be controlled by those of us who live in Harlem. Not by somebody sitting down in Gracie Mansion.
Malcolm X: No. But the Organization of Afro-American Unity intends to get involved in every kind of action that’s going on in New York City. We don’t intend to let anybody downtown influence us in any way, shape, or form. We want the influence to come from Harlem. And from other Harlems around the country. Now, this doesn’t mean we’re anti-outside-of-Harlem. This doesn’t mean we’re anti-Bronx or anti-White Plains or anti-white or anti-German or anything like that. But it means we’re pro-Harlem. We’re pro-ourselves. We want to start doing something for ourselves. That’s all it means. It means that we want to stop begging you for your school; we want you to get out of the way and let us straighten out the schools in Harlem.
Malcolm X: I just answered this when I said from tonight on there will be a hot time in the old town. I answered it when this gentleman over here asked. The song will be the same. An implication? An implied threat? I never imply any threat to anyone. I am a Muslim, my religion is Islam—it’s a religion of peace.
Question: Do you think there will be any further attempts?
Malcolm X: Sir, yes I do believe there will be further attempts on my life. I know them. They are foaming at the mouth. The rank-and-file Muslim means well. It’s those at the hierarchy, who are living off the fatted calf, who don’t mean well. And this coming Sunday at two o’clock, as I say, our program will be unfolded. Elijah Muhammad knows—he has done some good things and he has done some bad things. He knows that if he had wanted to, he could have united our people with the Muslim world just by teaching the right religion of Islam. He could have done so. The entire Muslim world would have accepted him; as it is now, the Muslim world has rejected him. He can never go into the Muslim world and say that he is a prophet or that Allah came over here in the flesh—they would cut his head off if he said that. I mean he knows this. None of his followers can go over there without denouncing him. It is impossible for them to go to Mecca or any other place unless they subscribe to Islam, as it is subscribed to over there. So he was in a position to unite us with the Muslim world, those of us who were Muslim. He was also in a position to unite us with Africa. But you cannot read anything that Elijah Muhammad has ever written that’s pro-African. I defy you to find one word in his direct writings that’s pro-African. You can’t find it.
Malcolm X: Listen to this question this man got. What are you trying to get at?
Malcolm X: No, he asked me. No. I got to tell them what you asked me. He asked me, don’t I think if I got hurt, you know, wouldn’t some of my followers retaliate? What are you trying to say? Or, what are you trying to get me to say? No. I mean, it’s okay. I’m not going to get you into any trouble. These are your friends in here. I just I want them to hear what you’re asking me. That’s all. I just want them to hear what you’re asking me. You’re not going to get in no trouble for this. Would he? No. Yes sir, last question.
Question: You’re under civil court order to get out of your house in Queens?
Malcolm X: I’m under a civil court order to get out of my house in Queens? You know, I only—somebody told me that they heard that on the radio. I know nothing about it. And I haven’t discussed it with a lawyer yet and I won’t make any comments until I’ve discussed it with a lawyer. But I just hope that nobody tries to go in there while what’s left of my belongings are there.
Malcolm X: Some have been in the vicinity, yes, and some policemen, too, have been nice enough to watch the house ever since it was bombed. I wish they had been watching it while it was bombed.
Malcolm X: Yeah, a great deal of my personal belongings were lost. They threw four bombs in there. I might point this out, that those who did it were so vicious and those who did it knew the whole layout of the house. They—and to show you why I believe in Allah—the bombs that were thrown into the front part of the house were thrown directly against the window, you know, so they came through. But before they threw the first one, l the neighbors saw someone go up to the window with a mop like instrument and break the windows, crack the glass, and then they threw the bombs in after the glass was broken and that was in the front part. Now if they had come around to...they had planned to do it from the front and the back so that I couldn’t get out. They covered the front completely, the front door. Then they had come to the back but instead of getting directly in back of the house and throwing it this way, they stood at a forty-five degree angle and tossed it at the window so it glanced and went onto the ground. And the fire hit the window and it woke up my second oldest baby, but the fire burned on the outside of the house. But had that fire, had that gone through that window it would have fallen on a six-year-old girl, a four-year-old girl, and a two-year-old girl. Now I’m going to tell you, if it had done it, I’d taken my rifle and gone after anybody in sight. I would not wait. I say that because of this. The police know the criminal operation of the Black Muslim movement because they have thoroughly infiltrated it. There is no conversation that takes place in the Black Muslim movement that the city police don’t know about, because they have policemen in there. They don’t let Black people form anything without some policemen in there. And while I was in the Black Muslim movement, over the Black Muslim movement, many of the police who were sent to infiltrate us—they’re Black—would tell me, "Look, I’m a cop, but I have to come." They would tell me. I knew the Muslim movement was full of police. So don’t you think anything is going down that they don’t know about. The only thing that goes down is what they want to go down, and what they don’t want to go down they don’t let it go down.
Question: I have one last question.
Malcolm X: One last question, yes sir.
Question: The Muslims claim that you bombed your own house.
Malcolm X: Yes, that’s what I said. The Muslims claim I bombed my house.
Question: Of course, they say, while you were there.
Malcolm X: Yeah. No, well, you can think what you want. The arson squad, the fire marshal, all of them are expert in this kind of thing And if anybody can find where I’ve bombed my house, they can put a rifle bullet through my head. It was my children and my own life and my wife’s life that was at stake. Hey, let me tell you something, sir. I stood Sunday morning, you know what the degree—what the temperature was? It was about fifteen or twenty. I stood in my underwear, barefoot in the middle of my driveway with a gun in my hands for forty-five minutes waiting for the police or waiting for the fire department to come. If I’d wanted to put on a show I could find a better way than that to put it on. That’s all.
Malcolm X: There’s a—brothers and sisters, there’s a—here’s the Saturday Evening Post dated February 27, 1965, and in it there’s an article titled, “An ex-official tells - why the Black Muslims are a fraud.” This is one of the brothers in Boston and who was formerly the secretary up there and who is the cousin of Ronald Stokes, the brother who was killed out in California in April of 1962. And I would like to say this before anything else, and that is, don’t think that I don’t know how bad I make myself look by attacking an organization that I was once so inseparably a part of. Well, I’m not particularly concerned it with how bad it makes me look. My prime concern is to expose it to the fullest of my ability, let the chips fall where they may. And if the Black Muslim movement says that I’m wrong in what I say, then I say since they’re so well qualified and equipped, let them attack the Klan. Let them go find out who—let them get the persons who bombed that it church in Birmingham. Because I’ll go get them. I’ll go attack the Klan. And attack Rockwell and any of the others. And I defy them to do so. They can’t do it. Because they both have the same paymaster. So now our question period.. And you have to stand up because I can’t see beyond this man’s light. Yes sir.
Malcolm X: Don’t I think that we should become involved in some direct action, demonstrations? We are going to unveil our program on that next Sunday at two o’clock. Brother, I’m for anything you’re for as long as it’s going to get some results. I’m for anything you’re for. As long as it’s intelligent, as long as it’s disciplined, as long as it’s aimed in the right direction—I’m for it. And what determines what we should do, or shouldn’t do, will in no way be influenced by what the man downtown thinks.
We don’t need anybody on the outside laying the ground rules by which we are going to fight our battles. We'll study the battle, study the enemy, study what we’re up against, and then outline or map our own battle strategy. And we’ll get some results. But as long as you have someone coming in from the outside telling you how you should do it and how you shouldn’t do it—and always what they tell you is nonviolence, peaceful, love everybody, forgive them Lord, they know not what they do. As long as you get into that kind of bag, why you’ll never get anywhere. What we want is to let them know that our aims are just. Our aims are within the realm of justice. And since they are, we’re justified in going after those aims. Don’t you know it’s a disgrace for the United States of America to let—to have Martin Luther King, my good friend, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin, in Alabama, using school children to do what the federal government should do. Think of this. Those school children shouldn’t have to march. Why Lyndon Johnson is supposed to have troops down there marching.
Your children aren’t supposed to have to get out there and demonstrate just to vote. Is it that bad? It shows our so-called leaders have been outmaneuvered. Every day, you look on the television, you listen to the radio, you read the newspaper, and see where Black it people are going to jail by the hundreds, by the thousands. You don’t do this in a civilized country. In any other country, the government would do its job. But this exists only because the government is not doing its job.
They’ve got Martin Luther King down there with crocodile tears crying his way into jail and still coming out and haven’t got the ballot yet. We can get the ballot. Didn’t they pass the civil rights bill? Just a minute, didn’t they pass the civil rights bill and have made it legal. Don’t you know that anywhere our people want to register and vote they’re within their legal rights? All you and I have to do is show that we’re men. And when we, and when they go to vote, we go with them. With them. With them. Prepared! Not prepared to make trouble. Not prepared to cause trouble. But prepared to protect ourselves in case trouble comes our way. And no one can find fault with that. Yes ma’am?
Question: My nephew is in Vietnam and--
Malcolm X: Your nephew is where?
Question: In South Vietnam--
Malcolm X: In Vietnam? You should have him in Alabama.
Malcolm X: You told him right. Sister, you’re talking my kind of talk. Yeah.
Malcolm X: I know you would. I know you would. Who else? Yes ma’am? . . .
Question: Brother Malcolm [Unintelligible] have fallen out of a hospital window. We buried him Saturday. [Unintelligible] refuse to speak to anyone. They have not spoken to his mother or anyone else. We have sent delegations there and each time they tell us that there’s no one available to speak to. I had a picket line there Saturday. Now can’t something be done about this? A thirteen-year-old child?
Malcolm X: Fell out of the hospital window?
Question: So they say. But this child had lived on the top floor all of his life. What can we do and what must we do to avoid something else like this?
Malcolm X: This is what I meant earlier when I said concerning the importance of our controlling Harlem. As long as we have outsiders running our hospitals and our schools and our everything else, they will run us right on out of existence. I would suggest that you come over to the office and see what we can get our heads together on. And see what we can do. Anything I can do, I certainly will and I know all the brothers and sisters will. We have time for two more questions. Yes ma’am. Right in front.
Malcolm X: No, they’re not. They’re marching for their parents. Let me tell you. You know, I was in Selma, and when I got to Selma I talked to these children. I talked to them. And you know I have to say this. I have to expose the man. King’s man did not want me to talk to them. They told me they didn’t mind me coming in and all of that but they preferred that I didn’t talk to the children. Because they knew what I was going to say. But the children insisted that I be heard. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gotten a hearing at all. And some of the, many of the students from SNCC also insisted that I be heard. This is the only way I got a chance to talk to them. And I might point out that one little girl who was only thirteen years old told me that she had been in jail the night before. She had just gotten out that morning. And she told of how they were using cattle prods, sticking it up against the heads of some of these little children and giving them headaches and things of that sort. Oh, yes. The most brutal form of punishment imaginable takes place down there and nothing is done about it. Old Lyndon is all tied up in South Vietnam and the Congo and other places, but he’s not minding his business in Mississippi, in Alabama. But you see, I don’t blame them. I blame us. Really, I blame us. Once we organize, we can straighten it out.
The government is not going to straighten it out. It’s getting too corrupt. It has too many racists in it. Too many segregationists running the government. So how is somebody from Texas going to stop the Klan? From Texas! Texas is a Klan state itself No. You and I have to do it. And I promised the brothers and sisters in Alabama when I was there that we’d be back. I’ll be back, you’ll be back, we’ll be back. Well ease on in, brothers and sisters. Those people down there aren’t afraid. They aren’t afraid, they’re just waiting for somebody to tell them what to do. That’s all. And they don’t go for that old turn-the-other-cheek stuff. No. That’s why they got children doing it. And even those children don’t go for turning the other cheek. And there’s nothing wrong with my saying this. Any time you live in a government, a government in 1965, that will permit conditions to exist that force a Negro leader to take children—babies—and march them down the street to get the right to register and vote, why that government should come under question. Should come under examination. We should stop and take a second look at it. And if it’s not the government, then it’s the men in the government. But the blame has got to be put somewhere. But you know where I put it? On us. We’re too easy. We’re too forgiving. We’re too loving. We’re too forgetful. We’re too compromising. And we’re too peaceful. Time for one more question. Yes sir.... Yes, yes ma’am.
Malcolm X: Yes, Yes. Akbar Muhammad along with Wallace Muhammad. But Akbar Muhammad gave a press conference in Cairo completely disassociating himself from his father and pointing out that what Elijah Muhammad is teaching in this country is absolutely and diametrically opposed to the true teachings of Islam. This was in Cairo. And actually what Elijah Muhammad is teaching is an insult to the entire Muslim world, because Islam as the religion, as a religion, has nothing to do with color. There is no religion that has anything to do with color and Islam—as a religion, it doesn’t use the color of a man’s skin to measure him or as a yardstick. Islam, as a religion, judges a man by his intention, by his behavior, by his deeds. Now I can judge these crackers not ‘cause they’re white. I’m not talking about them ‘cause they’re white. I’m talking about them because what they do. Do you understand? Anything you hear me say here about whitey, or the white man, is not because he’s white—no, I’ll shake his hand if he’s all right. But first he got to get all right.
The standard of judgment from a Muslim is behavior, intention, and deed. Do you understand? What Elijah Muhammad teaches is not that. Yes sir.
Question: Getting back to the action.
Malcolm X: The action, yes.
Question: You know, having power, wouldn’t it be better if we were—I mean speaking of the Black man—to form a Black Ku Klux Klan7
Malcolm X: No. No. No. Don’t let them maneuver you into forming anything that can be compared with the Klan. See, it is true we’re the target of brutal, criminal treatment from the Klan. Now, we don’t need a Black Ku Klux Klan. All we need is Black people who believe in the brotherhood of man and who will fight anyone who threatens the brotherhood of man. Now, the Klan is a threat to this brotherhood and we are legally within our rights to defend ourselves from this Klan. But if we call ourselves the Klan, what will happen— the press will pick up what you do and make what you do look wrong. Because they will make it look wrong anyway. So if you call yourself that, you help them. You help them hurt you. No we don’t want anything to do with the Klan or anything like the Klan. We want to destroy the Klan. Disband it, destroy it, erase it from this earth. And we can do it.
You’ve been in the army. They taught you all those tricks. Well, use them. I got to say this; then we’re going to close. You need to study guerrilla warfare. Get every book you can find on guerrilla warfare. There’s nothing wrong with saying that. Yes, it’s good to know everything. There’s nothing wrong with knowing that. Why, the government teaches you that. They draft you to teach you that, don’t they? Sure, they it taught it to your son. Well, go on and teach it to your son. But then tell your son how to use it. No, you study. We’re going to have classes. The OAAU is going to have classes in all of the various sciences that you and I need to know—karate, judo. We’ve got some experts. This brother here is an expert judo man, expert karate man. He’d break that board right here like it wasn’t even a board.
You come on in the OAAU and we’ll train you. Show you how to protect yourself. Not so that you can go out and attack someone. You should never attack anybody. But at the same time whenever you, yourself, are attacked you are not supposed to turn the other cheek. Never turn the other cheek until you see the white man turn his cheek. The day that the white man turns the cheek, then you turn the cheek. If Martin Luther King was teaching white people to turn the other cheek, then I would say he was justified in teaching Black people to turn the other cheek. That’s all I’m against. Make it a two-way street. Make it even-steven. If I’m going to be nonviolent, then let them be nonviolent. But as long as they’re not nonviolent, don’t you let anybody tell you anything about nonviolence. No. Be intelligent. Brothers and sisters, we’re going to have our program on Sunday at two o’clock. I hope that every one of you will be here. It will be one of the last programs that we have—please don’t move; please don’t move; please don’t move. It’s going to be one of the last programs we have, next Sunday, at two o’clock. It will be designed to unfold to you completely, what our program is, and as I said earlier—some of you came late—the only reason that I didn’t do it tonight, I wanted to give you a complete clarification on what happened at my house Sunday morning, so that you would know.
And once you know, then you can stay way away from me or come on in, we’ll get you, one of the two. But I don’t want to get you into anything that you don’t know what you’re getting into. I’m not trying to get you in any trouble, but I am trying to get something organized that will enable us to take a direct action against the forces that have been holding us back. Thank you.