Malcolm X Speech
MALCOM X: We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary. We don’t feel that in 1964, living in a country that is supposedly based upon freedom, and supposedly the leader of the free world, we don’t think that we should have to sit around and wait for some segregationist congressmen and senators, and a president from Texas in Washington, D.C., to make up their mind, that our people are due now some degree of civil rights. No, we want it now, or we don’t think anybody should have it.
INTERVIEWER: How will passage of the bill affect job opportunities?
MALCOM X: I don’t see where job opportunities will affect, I don’t see how passage of the bill will affect job opportunities for black people, when there’s no law now that can create opportunities in employment even for white people. The whole system in this country, the economic system, is such that jobs are scarce. Automation is limiting jobs, it’s decreasing jobs, and if, as automation eliminates the job opportunities, legislation will not create job opportunities. All it will do is bring about friction and hostility between the two races.
INTERVIEWER: How will passage of the Civil Rights Bill affect voter registration?
MALCOM X: Any time you have to pass a civil rights bill to make voter registration, or voting opportunities increase for black people in this country, that in itself is a slap at the entire system of democracy. The only thing that will affect voter registration, is when our own leaders form some kind of political education program that makes our people become more politically mature, politically alert, and aware of what their involvement and participation in politics will bring them. So, it’s not so much, voter registration without voter education is a waste of time. Legislation will do neither.
Synopsis: Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. A prominent black nationalist leader, he served as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and 1960s. Due largely to his efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from a mere 400 members in 1952, to 40,000 members by 1960. Malcolm X was an expressive, passionate and naturally gifted and inspirational speaker. He urged blacks to cast off the shackles of racism "by any means necessary," including violence. The fiery civil rights leader broke with the group shortly before his assassination on February 21, 1965. He was killed at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, where he had been preparing to deliver a speech.