In Depth

Malcolm X quotes: in his own words

The Black Nationalist leader Malcolm X was assassinated 50 years ago this weekend

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Malcolm X remains a controversial and divisive figure, but there is little doubt that he was an effective and inspirational public speaker.

Malcolm X quotations

A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.

Early in life I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.

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

To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace.

On freedom

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it.

Our objective is complete freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary.

If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary.

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

On Islam

America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white, but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all together, irrespective of their color.

True Islam taught me that it takes all of the religious, political, economic, psychological, and racial ingredients, or characteristics, to make the Human Family and the Human Society complete.

On education

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

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

On equality

I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don't believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn't want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment.

I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.

If you have a dog, I must have a dog. If you have a rifle, I must have a rifle. If you have a club, I must have a club. This is equality.

How can you thank a man for giving you what's already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what is yours?

On violence

I don't favor violence. If we could bring about recognition and respect of our people by peaceful means, well and good. Everybody would like to reach his objectives peacefully. But I'm also a realist. The only people in this country who are asked to be nonviolent are black people.

On Martin Luther King, Jr

He got the peace prize, we got the problem.... If I'm following a general, and he's leading me into a battle, and the enemy tends to give him rewards, or awards, I get suspicious of him. Especially if he gets a peace award before the war is over.

On death

For the freedom of my 22 million black brothers and sisters here in America, I do believe that I have fought the best that I know how, and the best that I could, with the shortcomings that I have had...I know that societies often have killed people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America then, all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.

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