Articles and Features

Malcolm X

Birthday May 19, 1925

Week of May 17, 1998

A couple of years ago, Spike Lee released his movie about Malcolm X. There was a lot of hype surrounding that movie, and not much said about the man it concerned. There were many news clips showing a man with a strong voice talking angrily into a microphone. There was a lot of talk about his leanings toward violence and the detrimental effect his speeches had on the equal rights movement.

I really don't know what to think about Malcolm X. The media has portrayed him as a violent man, yet all the quotations that I could find from him were things I agree with completely. If I were to judge this man, solely on the quotations that I was able to find for him (striking completely his strong and angry voice from my memory), I would laud him. Here is a selection of quotations from Malcolm X.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

"Power never takes a back step - only in the face of more power."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
"A jungle is only a place that's heavily vegetated - the soil is so rich and the climate is so good that everything grows, and it doesn't grow in season - it grows all the time."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"If you're born in America with a black skin, you're born in prison."
Interview, June 1963
"Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born here in America doesn't make you an American."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"You show me a capitalist, I'll show you a bloodsucker."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for...human rights."
Speech, Black Revolution, New York, 1964
"It's easy to become a satellite today without even being aware of it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of dollarism."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"Uncle Sam has no conscience. They don't know what morals are. They don't try and eliminate an evil because it's evil, or because it's illegal, or because it's immoral; they eliminate it only when it threatens their existence."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"The day that the black man takes an uncompromising step and realizes that he's within his rights, when his own freedom is being jeopardized, to use any means necessary to bring about his freedom or put a halt to that injustice, I don't think he'll be by himself."
Oxford Union Society debate, December 3, 1964
"If being a communist or being a capitalist or being a socialist is a crime, first you have to study which of those systems is the most criminal. And then you'll be slow to say which one should be in jail."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
[On the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:] "It was, as I saw it, a case of 'the chickens coming home to roost.' I said that the hate in white men had not stopped with the killing of defenseless black people, but that hate, allowed to spread unchecked, had finally struck down this country's Chief Magistrate."
Autobiography (as told to Alex Haley), Chapter 16, 1964
"A segregated school system produces children who, when they graduate, graduate with crippled minds."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. You don't need anything else."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
Featured Books
The following books and tapes are available through
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X Paperback by Alex Haley - Read about the life of Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little, later changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) written by the man who wrote Roots.
  • Soul on Ice Paperback by Eldridge Cleaver - This book is a collection of the memoirs of Black Panther activist, Eldridge Cleaver, another man of the era that drastically affected the civil rights movement.
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X Audio Cassette by Alex Haley - Listen to the life of Malcolm while driving in your car, and you will gather the wisdom that is still useful today, regardless of your skin color.
  • The Death and Life of Malcolm X Paperback by Peter Louis Goldman - Another biography of the life of Malcolm X from a senior editor of Newsweek. This book includes information regarding his assasination and the accomplices.
For more information about Malcolm X, try these links:
  • The Malcolm X Interview - Playboy interview of Malcolm X by Alex Haley. Read his words for yourself here.
  • The Malcolm X Page - A loving site devoted to Malcolm X. Contains tons of links, pictures and info. Check out all the quotes available at this site.
  • Malcolm X - A pretty site with lots of pictures and a Malcolm X background. Lots to see here, but still, just links back to the same Playboy Interview.
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