Part 1
Part 1
Part 2
Part 2

Image: Original caption: Malcolm X addresses a crowd at street rally on a rainy day in central Harlem. June 29, 1963.  Copyright: Bob Adelman/Corbis.

Audio courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

Malcolm X

Date: 
June 2, 1964
Related Documents: 
Malcolm X
Malcolm X Bio

Malcolm X (1925-1965), formerly Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, converted to the Nation of Islam (Black Muslims) while he was in prison.  After his release in 1952 he became a minister and spokesman of the Nation of Islam, second in prominence only to Elijah Muhammad. As a Black Muslim, he preached the racial superiority of blacks and black nationalism.  Malcolm X was a critic of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s strategy of nonviolence. He is considered a forefather of the Black Power movement. Tensions within the Nation of Islam led to his departure in 1964. He converted to mainstream Islam and made a pilgrimage to Mecca.  His experience there with Muslims of all colors convinced him that different races could coexist. He founded the Muslim Mosque, Inc., and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. On February 21, 1965, at the Organization of Afro-American Unity meeting in Manhattan, three men who were members of the Nation of Islam assassinated him.

Image: Original caption: Malcolm X addresses a crowd at street rally on a rainy day in central Harlem. June 29, 1963.  Copyright: Bob Adelman/Corbis.

Abstract

Malcolm X recalls his conversion to Islam while he was in prison. He states that he feels that the Muslim religion is the best religion for the black man. Malcolm X provides his opinions on the civil rights movement and the oppression and racism imposed on blacks by the white race. He explains why nonviolence is not the correct tactic against segregation and racism--he feels that nonviolence makes men defenseless. He goes on to say that the entire U.S. economic and political system is inadequate and incapable of producing justice and equality. He provides his opinions of prominent black politicians including Adam Clayton Powell and Congressman William Dawson, but says he feels that the approach of passing laws to end segregation is not working. In his opinion, it would take a police state to enforce the civil rights legislation. Malcolm X explains the change in his views after his visit to Mecca and provides his opinions on American leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. He feels that both of these men were deceitful. He also believes that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt could have done more for American blacks while they were in power. He mentions Rev. Milton Galamison, who he feels is fighting a difficult battle against oppression in the New York City public schools.

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