Twenty million Black people in a political, economic, and mental prison

This speech by Malcolm X touches on several topics he later went into with more detail. Most significant is the analysis of the House Negro and Field Negro.

Malcolm X speaks at Michigan State University.

By 1963, the differences between Malcolm and Elijah Muhammad had come to a head. But Malcolm chose, for a variety of personal and political reasons, not to leave the Nation of Islam. In January, he spoke at Michigan State University. Throughout his speech, which attested to his unique ability to captivate the very whites he pilloried, he repeatedly stressed that the views he was presenting were Mr. Muhammad’s. He said: “Now, in … professing to speak for Black people by representing the Honorable Elijah Muhammad…”

Twenty million Black people in a political, economic, and mental prison

IT SHOULD be pointed out at the outset that I represent The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, whose followers are known as the Muslims here in America and actually are the fastest growing group — fastest growing religious group — among Black people anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. And it is our intention to try and spell out what the philosophy and aims and motivations of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad happen to be and his solution to this very serious problem that America finds herself confronted with.

And I might point out, too, that if you don’t think that the problem is serious, then you need only to listen to the attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy. In almost every speech he’s been involved in, especially during the past few months and even today, he has pointed out that the race problem is America’s most serious domestic problem. And since the problem is so serious, it’s time to take some serious steps to get to the factors that create this problem.

The unity of Africans abroad and the unity of Africans here in this country

And again I want to thank the African Students Association and the campus NAACP for displaying the unity necessary to bring a very controversial issue before the students here on campus. The unity of Africans abroad and the unity of Africans here in this country can bring about practically any kind of achievement or accomplishment that Black people want today.

When I say the Africans abroad and the Africans here in this country — the man that you call Negro is nothing but an African himself. But some of them have been brainwashed into thinking that Africa is a place with no culture, no history, no contribution to civilization or science. So, many of these Negroes, they take offense when they’re identified with their homeland. But today we want to point out the different types of Negroes that you have to deal with. Then once you know there’s more than one type, then you won’t come up with just one type solution.

And to point out how timely the invitation is or was — I don’t want to read newspapers to you, but in the Detroit News dated Thursday, January 17, it told about the Interfaith Council of Religion that was held in Chicago last week. And the topic of their conversation was the race problem here in America. And it pointed out that all of the time that they spent and money that they spent, actually they didn’t get to the meat of the issue. And in this particular copy of the paper, on page three, the chaplain at Wayne State University actually criticized the efforts of these Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in Chicago last week for failing to bring spokesmen to that conference who really would speak for Black people and spell out issues that were not being spelled out by the others.

And I just want to read a recommendation that he made. Mr. [Malcolm] Boyd believes that the conference might have accomplished much good if the speakers had included a white supremacist and a Negro race leader, preferably a top man in the American Black Muslim movement. He said that a debate between them would undoubtedly be bitter, but it would accomplish one thing. It would get some of the real issues out into the open. And I think that the man is right. Most of the so-called Negroes that you listen to on the race problem usually don’t represent any following of Black people. Usually they are Negroes who have been put in that position by the white man himself. And when they speak they’re not speaking for Black people, they’re saying exactly what they know the white man who put them in that position wants to hear them say.

So again, I think that it was very progressive and objective on the part of these two sponsoring groups to give us an opportunity to tell you how Black people really think and how Black people really feel and how dissatisfied Black people have become — increasingly so — with the conditions that our people find ourselves in here in this country.

Who does the Honorable Elijah Muhammad Speak for?

Now in speaking as a — professing to speak for Black people by representing the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; you want to know who does he represent. Who does he speak for? There are two types of Negroes in this country. There’s the bourgeois type who blinds himself to the condition of his people, and who is satisfied with token solutions. He’s in the minority. He’s a handful. He’s usually the handpicked Negro who benefits from token integration. But the masses of Black people who really suffer the brunt of brutality and the conditions that exist in this country are represented by the leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. So when I come in here to speak to you, I’m not coming in here speaking as a Baptist or a Methodist or a Democrat or a Republican or a Christian or a Jew or — not even as an American. Because if I stand up here — if I could stand up here and speak to you as an American we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. The problem would be solved. So we don’t even profess to speak as an American. We are speaking as — I am speaking as a Black man. And I’m letting you know how a Black man thinks, how a Black man feels, and how dissatisfied Black men should have been 400 years ago.

So…and if I raise my voice, you’ll forgive me or excuse me, I’m not doing it out of disrespect. I’m speaking from my heart, and you get it exactly as the feeling brings it out.

When I pointed out that there are two kinds of Negroes — some Negroes don’t want a Black man to speak for them. That type of Negro doesn’t even want to be Black. He’s ashamed of being Black. And you’ll never hear him refer to himself as Black. Now that type we don’t pretend to speak for. You can speak for him. In fact, you can have him. [Laughter]

But the ones that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad speaks for are those whose pattern of thinking, pattern of thought, pattern of behavior, pattern of action is being changed by what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is teaching throughout America. These are that mass element, and usually when you hear the press refer to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, they refer to him as a teacher of hate or an advocator of violence or — what’s this other thing? — Black supremacist.

Actually, this is the type of propaganda put together by the press, thinking that this will alienate the masses of Black people from what he’s saying. But actually the only one whom that type of propaganda alienates is this Negro who’s always up in your face begging you for what you have or begging you for a chance to live in your neighborhood or work on your job or marry one of your women. Well, that type of Negro naturally doesn’t want to hear what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is talking about. But the type that wants to hear what he’s saying is the type who feels that he’ll get farther by standing on his own feet and doing something for himself towards solving his own problem, instead of accusing you of creating the problem and then, at the same time, depending upon you to do something to solve the problem.

The House Negro and the Field Negro

So you have two types of Negro. The old type and the new type. Most of you know the old type. When you read about him in history during slavery, he was called “Uncle Tom.” He was the house Negro. And during slavery you had two Negroes. You had the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negro usually lived close to his master. He dressed like his master. He wore his master’s secondhand clothes. He ate food that his master left on the table. And he lived in his master’s house — probably in the basement or the attic — but he still lived in the master’s house. So whenever that house Negro identified himself, he always identified himself in the same sense that his master identified himself.

When his master said, “We have good food,” the house Negro would say, “Yes, we have plenty of good food.” “We” have plenty of good food. When the master said that “we have a fine home here,” the house Negro said, “Yes, we have a fine home here.” When the master would be sick, the house Negro identified himself so much with his master he’d say, “What’s the matter boss, we sick?” His master’s pain was his pain. And it hurt him more for his master to be sick than for him to be sick himself. When the house started burning down, that type of Negro would fight harder to put the master’s house out than the master himself would.

But then you had another Negro out in the field. The house Negro was in the minority. The masses — the field Negroes — were the masses. They were in the majority. When the master got sick, they prayed that he’d die. [Laughter] If his house caught on fire, they’d pray for a wind to come along and fan the breeze.

If someone came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s go, let’s separate,” naturally that Uncle Tom would say, “Go where? What could I do without boss? Where would I live? How would I dress? Who would look out for me?” That’s the house Negro. But if you went to the field Negro and said, “Let’s go, let’s separate,” he wouldn’t even ask you where or how. He’d say, “Yes, let’s go.” And that one ended right there.

A Twentieth Century Uncle Tom

So today you have a twentieth-century-type of house Negro. A twentieth-century Uncle Tom. He’s just as much an Uncle Tom today as Uncle Tom was 100 or 200 years ago. Only he’s a modern Uncle Tom. That Uncle Tom wore a handkerchief around his head. This Uncle Tom wears a top hat. He’s sharp. He dresses just like you do. He speaks the same phraseology, the same language. He tries to speak it better than you do. He speaks with the same accents, same diction. And when you say, “your army,” he says, “our army.” He hasn’t got anybody to defend him, but anytime you say “we” he says “we.” “Our president,” “our government,” “our Senate,” “our congressmen,” “our this and our that.” And he hasn’t even got a seat in that “our” even at the end of the line. So this is the twentieth-century Negro. Whenever you say “you,” the personal pronoun in the singular or in the plural, he uses it right along with you. When you say you’re in trouble, he says, “Yes, we’re in trouble.”

But there’s another kind of Black man on the scene. If you say you’re in trouble, he says, “Yes, you’re in trouble.” [Laughter] He doesn’t identify himself with your plight whatsoever.

And this is the thing that the white people in America have got to come to realize. That there are two types of Black people in this country. One who identifies with you so much so he will let you brutalize him and still beg you for a chance to sit next to you. And then there’s one who’s not interested in sitting next to you. He’s not interested in being around you. He’s not interested in what you have. He wants something of his own. He wants to sit some place where he can call his own. He doesn’t want a seat in your restaurant where you can give him some old bad coffee or bad food. He wants his own restaurant. And he wants some land where he can build that restaurant on, in a city that it can go in. He wants something of his own.

Phony token Integration (today’s Inclusion)

And when you realize that this type of thinking is existing and developing fastly or swiftly behind the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad among the so-called Negroes, then I think that you’ll also realize that this whole phony effort at integration (today’s inclusion– ed.) is no solution. Because the most you can do with this phony effort toward integration is to put out some token integration. And whereas this Uncle Tom will accept your token effort, the masses of Black people in this country are no more interested in token integration than they would be if you offered them a chance to sit inside a furnace somewhere. The only one who’ll do that is this twentieth-century Uncle Tom. And you can always tell him because he wants to be next to you.

He wants to eat with you. He wants to sleep with you. He wants to marry your woman, marry your mother, marry your sister, marry your daughter. And if you watch him close enough, he’s even after your wife. [Laughter]

This type has blind faith — in your religion. He’s not interested in any religion of his own. He believes in a white Jesus, white Mary, white angels, and he’s trying to get to a white heaven. When you listen to him in his church singing, he sings a song, I think they call it, “Wash me white as snow.” He wants to be — he wants to be turned white so he can go to heaven with a white man. It’s not his fault; it’s actually not his fault. But this is the state of his mind. This is the result of 400 years of brainwashing here in America. You have taken a man who is black on the outside and made him white on the inside. His brain is white as snow. His heart is white as snow. And therefore, whenever you say, this is ours, he thinks he’s white the same as you, so what’s yours he thinks is also his. Even right on down to your woman.

“You have taken a man who is black on the outside and made him white on the inside.”

Now many of them will take offense at my implying that he wants your woman. They’ll say, “No, this is what Bilbo, Talmadge, and all of the White Citizens’ Councils say.” They say that to fool you. If this is not what they want, watch them. And if you find evidence to the contrary, then I’ll take back my words. But all you have to do is give him the chance to get near you, and you’ll find that he is not satisfied until he is sitting next to your woman, or closer to her than that.

The Sickness of the House Negro

And this type of Negro, usually he hates Black and loves whites. He doesn’t want to be Black; he wants to be white. And he’ll get on his bended knees and beg you for integration, which means he would rather live — rather than live with his own kind who love him, he’ll force himself to live in neighborhoods around white people whom he knows don’t mean him any good. And again I say, this is not his fault. He is sick. And as long as America listens to this sick Negro, who is begging to be integrated into American society despite the fact that the attitude and actions of whites are sufficient proof that he is not wanted, why then you are actually allowing him to force you into a position where you look just as sick as he looks.

If someone holds a gun on a white man and makes him embrace me — put his hand, arm, around me — this isn’t love nor is it brotherhood. What they are doing is forcing the white man to be a hypocrite, to practice hypocrisy. But if that white man will put his arm around me willingly, voluntarily, of his own volition, then that’s love, that’s brotherhood, that’s a solution to the problem.

Likewise, as long as the government has to get out here and legislate to force Negroes into a white neighborhood or force Negroes into a white school or force Negroes into white industry — and make white people pretend that they go for this — all the government is doing is making white people be hypocrites. And rather than be classified as a bigot, by putting a block, the average white person actually would rather put up a hypocritical face, the face of a hypocrite, than to tell the Black man, “No, you stay over there and let me stay over here.” So that’s no solution.

Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the child”

As long as you force people to act in a hypocritical way, you will never solve their problem. It has to be — the Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us — that a solution has to be devised that will be satisfactory, completely satisfactory to the Black man and completely satisfactory to the white man. And the only thing that makes white people completely satisfied and Black people completely satisfied, (when they’re in their right mind) is when the Black man has his own and the white man has his own. You have what you need; we have what we need. Then both of us have something, and even the Bible says, “God bless the child that has his own.” And the poor so-called Negro doesn’t have his own name, doesn’t have his own language, doesn’t have his own culture, doesn’t have his own history. He doesn’t have his own country. He doesn’t even have his own mind. And he thinks that he’s Black ’cause God cursed him. He’s not Black ’cause God cursed him. He’s Black because — rather he’s cursed because he’s out of his mind. He has lost his mind. He has a white mind instead of the type of mind that he should have.

So, when these so-called Negroes who want integration try and force themselves into the white society, which doesn’t solve the problem — the Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that that type of Negro is the one that creates the problem. And the type of white person who perpetuates the problem is the one who poses as a liberal and pretends that the Negro should be integrated, as long as he integrates someone else’s neighborhood. But all these whites that you see running around here talking about how liberal they are, and we believe everybody should have what they want and go where they want and do what they want, as soon as a Negro moves into that white liberal’s neighborhood, that white liberal is — well he moves out faster than the white bigot from Mississippi, Alabama, and from someplace else.

So we won’t solve the problem listening to that Uncle Tom Negro, and the problem won’t be solved listening to the so-called white liberal. The only time the problem is going to be solved is when a Black man can sit down like a Black man and a white man can sit down like a white man. And make no excuses whatsoever with each other in discussing the problem. No offense will stem from factors that are brought up. But both of them have to sit down like men, on one side and on the other side, and look at it in terms of Black and white. And then take some kind of solution based upon the factors that we see, rather than upon that which we would like to believe.

And when I said that this Negro wants to force his way into the white man’s family, this integrationist-minded Negro wants to force his way into the white man’s family, some don’t believe that. Some take issue with that. But you take all of the integrationists, all of those who are used to finance the program of the integrationists, the average so-called Negro celebrity, put all of them in one pile. And as fast as you name them off, you’ll find that every one of them is married either to a white woman or a white man. From Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Sammy Davis, and you could name ’em all night long, they — although they say that this is not what we want — that’s what they’ve done. That’s what they have. And we don’t — the Black masses don’t want what Lena Horne wants or what Sammy Davis wants or what who’s-his-name, the rest of them want.

Usually you’ll find that before Sammy Davis and Lena Horne and Eartha Kitt and Harry Belafonte become involved in a mixed marriage you could go into the Negro community, any one across the country, and find those stars with records on the jukeboxes in the Negro community. You can’t walk into a Negro community today and find anybody that the Negro community knows is involved in a mixed marriage with their records being popular in the Negro community. Subconsciously a Negro doesn’t have any respect or regard or confidence, nor can he be moved by, another Black man, a Black man who marries a white woman or a Black woman who marries a white man.

And when they put out that picture to you that all of us want your woman, no, just that twentieth-century Uncle Tom. He wants her. But, then when you fulfill — think you’re going to solve your problem by pleasing him, you’re only making the problem worse. You have to go back and listen to the problem as it is presented by the masses of Black people, not by these handpicked, handful of Uncle Toms who benefit from token integration.

Also, this type of so-called Negro, by being intoxicated over the white man, he never sees beyond the white man. He never sees beyond America. He never looks at himself or where he fits into things on the world stage. He only can see himself here in America, on the American stage or the white stage, where the white man is in the majority, where the white man is the boss. So this type of Negro always feels like he’s outnumbered or he’s the underdog or he’s the minority. And it puts him in the role of a beggar — a cowardly, humble, Uncle Tomming beggar on anything that he says is — that should be his by right. [Commotion]

Whereas there is — he wants to be an American rather than to be Black. He wants to be something other than what he is. And knowing that America is a white country, he knows he can’t be Black and be an American too. So he never calls himself Black. He calls himself an American Negro — a Negro in America. And usually he’ll deny his own race, his own color, just to be a second-class American. He’ll deny his own history, his own culture. He’ll deny all of his brothers and sisters in Africa, in Asia, in the East, just to be a second-class American. He denies everything that he represents or everything that was in his past, just to be accepted into a country and into a government that has rejected him ever since he was brought here.

For this Negro is sick. He has to be sick to try and force himself amongst some people who don’t want him, or to be accepted into a government that has used its entire political system and educational system to keep him relegated to the role of a second-class citizen. Therefore, he spends a lifetime begging for acceptance into the same government that made slaves of his people. He gives his life for a country that made his people slaves and still confines them to the role of second-class citizens. And we feel that he wastes his time begging white politicians, political hypocrites, for civil rights or for some kind of first-class citizenship.

He is like a watchdog or a hound dog. You may run into a dog — no matter how vicious a dog is, you find him out in the street, he won’t bite you. But when you get him up on the porch, he will growl, he’ll take your leg. Now that dog, when he’s out in the street, only his own life is threatened, and he’s never been trained to protect himself. He’s only been trained by his master to think in terms of what’s good for his master. So when you catch him in the street and you threaten him, he’ll go around you. But when you come up on the — through the gate when he’s sitting on the master’s porch, then he’ll bare his fangs and get ready to bite you. Not because you’re threatening him, but because you threaten his master who has trained him not to protect himself but to protect the property of the master.

The Miseducated Negro

And this type of twentieth-century Uncle Tom is the same way. He’ll never attack you, but he’ll attack me. I can run into him out on the street and blast him; he won’t say a word. But if I look like I’m about to blast you in here, he’ll open up his mouth and put up a better defense for you than you can put up for yourself. Because he hasn’t been trained to defend himself. He has only been trained to open up his mouth in defense of his master.

He hasn’t been educated, he’s been trained. When a man is educated, he can think for himself and defend himself and speak for himself. But this twentieth-century Uncle Tom Negro never opens up his mouth in defense of a Black man. He opens up his mouth in defense of the white man, in defense of America, in defense of the American government. He doesn’t even know where his government is, because he doesn’t know that he ever had one. He doesn’t know where his country is, because he doesn’t know that he ever had one.

He believes in exactly what he was taught in school. That when he was kidnapped by the white man, he was a savage in the jungle some place eating people and throwing spears and with a bone in his nose. And the average American Negro has that concept of the African continent. It is not his fault. This is what has been given to him by the American educational system.

He doesn’t realize that there were civilizations and cultures on the African continent at a time when the people in Europe were crawling around in the caves, going naked. He doesn’t realize that the Black man in Africa was wearing silk, was wearing slippers — that he was able to spin himself, make himself at a time when the people up in Europe were going naked.

He doesn’t realize that he was living in palaces on the African continent when the people in Europe were living in caves. He doesn’t realize that he was living in a civilization in Africa where science had been so far advanced, especially even the astronomical sciences, to a point where Africans could plot the course of the stars in the universe when the people up in Europe still thought the earth was round, the planet was round — or flat.

He doesn’t realize the advancement and the high state of his own culture that he was living in before he was kidnapped and brought to this country by the white man. He knows nothing about that. He knows nothing about the ancient Egyptian civilization on the African continent. Or the ancient Carthaginian civilization on the African continent. Or the ancient civilizations of Mali on the African continent. Civilizations that were highly developed and produced scientists. Timbuktu, the center of the Mali Empire, was the center of learning at a time when the people up in Europe didn’t even know what a book was. He doesn’t know this, because he hasn’t been taught. And because he doesn’t know this, when you mention Africa to him, why he thinks you’re talking about a jungle.

And I went to Africa in 1959 and didn’t see any jungle. And I didn’t see any mud huts until I got back to Harlem in New York City. [Laughter and applause]

So you’re familiar with that type of Negro. And the Black man that you’re not familiar with is the one that we would like to point out now.

The New Type of Black Man

He is the new — he is the new type. He is the type that the white man seldom ever comes in contact with. And when you do come in contact with him, you’re shocked, because you didn’t know that this type of Black man existed. And immediately you think, well here’s one of those Black supremacists or racists or extremists who believe in violence and all of that kind of — well that’s what they call it. [Laughter]

This new type of Black man, he doesn’t want integration; he wants separation. Not segregation, separation. To him, segregation, as we’re taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, means that which is forced upon inferiors by superiors. A segregated community is a Negro community. But the white community, though it’s all white, is never called a segregated community. It’s a separate community. In the white community, the white man controls the economy, his own economy, his own politics, his own everything. That’s his community. But at the same time while the Negro lives in a separate community, it’s a segregated community. Which means it’s regulated from the outside by outsiders. The white man has all of the businesses in the Negro community. He runs the politics of the Negro community. He controls all the civic organizations in the Negro community. This is a segregated community.

We don’t go for segregation. We go for separation. Separation is when you have your own. You control your own economy; you control your own politics; you control your own society; you control your own everything. You have yours and you control yours; we have ours and we control ours.

They don’t call Chinatown in New York City or on the West Coast a segregated community, yet it’s all Chinese. But the Chinese control it. Chinese voluntarily live there, they control it. They run it. They have their own schools. They control their own politics, control their own industry. And they don’t feel like they’re being made inferior because they have to live to themselves. They choose to live to themselves. They live there voluntarily. And they are doing for themselves in their community the same thing you’d do for yourself in your community. This makes them equal because they have what you have. But if they didn’t have what you have, then they’d be controlled from your side; even though they would be on their side, they’d be controlled from your side by you.

So when we who follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad say that we’re for separation, it should be emphasized we’re not for segregation; we’re for separation. We want the same for ourselves as you have for yourself. And when we get it, then it’s possible to think more intelligently and to think in terms that are along peaceful lines. But a man who doesn’t have what is his, he can never think always in terms that are along peaceful lines.

This new type rejects the white man’s Christian religion. He recognizes the real enemy. That Uncle Tom can’t see his enemy. He thinks his friend is his enemy and his enemy is his friend. And he usually ends up loving his enemy, turning his other cheek to his enemy. But this new type, he doesn’t turn the other cheek to anybody. He doesn’t believe in any kind of peaceful suffering. He believes in obeying the law. He believes in respecting people. He believes in doing unto others as he would have done to himself. But at the same time, if anybody attacks him, he believes in retaliating if it costs him his life. And it is good for white people to know this. Because if white people get the impression that Negroes all endorse this old turn-the-other-cheek cowardly philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, then whites are going to make the mistake of putting their hands on some Black man, thinking that he’s going to turn the other cheek, and he’ll end up losing his hand and losing his life in the try. [Commotion and laughter]

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X meeting at the U.S. Capitol in July 1965.

So it is always better to let someone know where you stand. And there are a large number of Black people in this country who don’t endorse any phase of what Dr. Martin Luther King and these other twentieth-century religious Uncle Toms are putting in front of the public eye to make it look like this is the way, this is the behavior, or this is the thought pattern of most of our people.

Also this new type, you’ll find, he doesn’t look upon it as being any honor to be in America. He knows he didn’t come here on the Mayflower. He knows he was brought here in a slave ship. But this twentieth-century Uncle Tom, he’ll stand up in your face and tell you about when his fathers landed on Plymouth Rock. His father never landed on Plymouth Rock; the rock was dropped on him [Laughter] but he wasn’t dropped on it. [Applause]

So this type doesn’t make any apology for being in America, nor does he make any apology for the problem his presence in America presents for Uncle Sam. He knows he was brought here in chains, and he knows he was brought here against his will. He knows that the problem itself was created by the white man and that it was created because the white man brought us here in chains against our will. It was a crime. And the one who committed that crime is the criminal today who should pay for the crime that was committed. You don’t put the crime in jail; you put the criminal in jail. And kidnapping is a crime. Slavery is a crime. Lynching is a crime. And the presence of 20 million Black people in America against their will is a living witness, a living testimony of the crime that Uncle Sam committed, your forefathers committed, when our people were brought here in chains.

And the reason the problem can’t be solved today is you try and dress it up and doctor it up and make it look like a favor was done to the Black man by having brought the Black man here. But when you realize that it was a crime that was committed, then you approach the solution to that problem in a different light and then you can probably solve it. And as long as you think Negroes are running around here of the opinion that you’re doing them a favor by letting them have some of this and letting them have some of that, why naturally every time you give a little bit more justice or freedom to the Black man, you stick out your chest and say, “See, we’re solving the problem.”

You’re not doing the Black man any favor. If you stick a knife in my back, if you put it in nine inches and pull it out six inches, you haven’t done me any favor. If you pull it all the way out, you haven’t done me any favor. And this is what you have to realize. If you put a man in jail against his will — illegally, he’s not guilty — you frame him up, and then because he resents what you’ve done to him, you put him in solitary confinement to break his spirit, then after his spirit is broken, you let him out a little bit and give him the general run of the prison; you haven’t done him any favor. If you let him out of prison completely, you haven’t done him any favor, because you put him in there unjustly and illegally in the first place.

Twenty million Black people in a political, economic, and mental prison

Now you have 20 million Black people in this country who were brought here and put in a political, economic, and mental prison. This was done by Uncle Sam. And today you don’t realize what a crime your forefathers have committed. And you think that when you open the door a few cracks, and give this little integration-intoxicated Negro a chance to run around in the prison yard — that’s all he’s doing — that you’re doing him a favor. But as long as he has to look up to someone who doesn’t represent him and doesn’t speak for him, that person only represents the warden, he doesn’t represent some kind of president or mayor or governor or senator or congressman or anything else.

So this new type — the fact has to be faced that he exists. Especially since he’s in the house. And he didn’t come here because it was his will. So you have to take the blame for his being here. And once you take the blame, then it’s more easy. It’s easier for you to approach the problem more sensibly and try and get a solution. And the solution can never be based upon hypocrisy. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that this solution has to be based upon reality. Tokenism is hypocrisy. One little student in the University of Mississippi, that’s hypocrisy. A handful of students in Little Rock, Arkansas, is hypocrisy. A couple of students going to school in Georgia is hypocrisy. Integration in America is hypocrisy in the rawest form. And the whole world can see it. All this little tokenism that is dangled in front of the Negro and then he’s told, “See what we’re doing for you, Tom.” Why the whole world can see that this is nothing but hypocrisy. All you do is make your image worse; you don’t make it better.

So again, this new type, as I say, he rejects the white man’s Christian religion. You find in large numbers they’re turning toward the religion of Islam. They are becoming Muslims, believing in one God, whose proper name is Allah, in Muhammad as his apostle, in turning toward Mecca, praying five times a day, fasting during Ramadan, and all the other principles that are laid out by the religion of Islam. He’s becoming a Muslim and just as — I think it was Dr. Billy Graham who made a crusade through Africa and came back and said that Islam is sweeping through Africa, outnumbering Christianity in converts eleven to one, which means every time one African becomes a Christian, eleven of them become a Muslim. And then that one who became a Christian, he forgets it and goes on and be a Muslim, too. [Laughter]

So that — and Bishop Pike pointed out the same thing in Look magazine in December 1960 and then Time magazine, heaven forbid that I should mention that magazine, [Laughter and applause] but Time magazine mentioned it, two weeks ago, that Islam is sweeping throughout Africa. And just as it is sweeping throughout the Black people of Africa, it is sweeping throughout the Black people right here in America. Only the one who’s teaching it here in America is the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He is the religious leader, the religious teacher. He is the one that is spreading the religion of Islam among the slaves, ex-slaves, here in America.

You have Muslims who have come to this country from the Muslim world. There are probably 200,000 Muslims in this country from the Muslim world, who were born in the Muslim world. And all of them combined have never been able to convert a hundred Americans to the religion of Islam. Yet it is the nature of Islam to propagate the faith, to spread the faith, to make everyone bear witness that there’s no God but Allah and Muhammad is his apostle.

And if you find all of the Muslims of the Muslim world who come here, unable or incapable of turning the American people toward Allah and toward Mecca and toward Islam, and then this little Black man from the cotton fields of Georgia is able to stand up and get Black people by the hundreds of thousands to turn toward Mecca five times a day and give praise to Allah and come together in unity and harmony, why you’d have to be out of your mind to think the people of the Muslim world don’t recognize the wonderful religious and spiritual accomplishment that’s being achieved here among the so-called Negroes by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

And I take time to mention that because the propagandists try and convey the picture that we’re not Muslims, we’re not religiously motivated, and that we are in no way identified or recognized or connected with our people of the Muslim world. Well, if they didn’t recognize us, we wouldn’t care. We’re not particularly looking for recognition. We’re looking for recognition from Allah, from God, and if Allah accepts you as a Muslim, you’re accepted. It’s not left up to somebody walking around here on this earth. But those people over there would be out of their minds, when they find themselves unable to spread the religion of Islam and then they see this little Black man here in America spreading it, why they’d be out of their mind to reject him. And you’ll find if you take the time to look, that you don’t find any Muslim today who rejects another Muslim.

You might find some who come over here, who operate stores or some kind of little business in the white neighborhood, the Christian neighborhood, and they want to get along with all the white people, with all the Christians. They might say some words to please you. But they’re only trying to get your money.

So the followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad look to him and what he teaches, his program and his message, as our only solution. And they see separation as our only salvation.

We don’t think as Americans anymore, but as a Black man. With the mind of a Black man, we look beyond America. And we look beyond the interests of the white man. The thinking of this new type of Negro is broad. It’s more international. This integrationist always thinks in terms of an American. But you find the masses of Black people today think in terms of Black. And this Black thinking enables them to see beyond the confines of America. And they look all over the world. They look at the happenings in the international context.

By this little integrationist Negro thinking locally, by his thinking and desires being confined to America, he’s limited. He’s the underdog. He’s a minority. But the masses of Black people who have been exposed to the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, their thinking is more international. They look on this earth and they see that the majority of the people on this earth are dark. And by seeing that the majority of the people on this earth are dark, they don’t regard themselves as a minority in America, but rather they regard themselves as part of that vast, dark majority.

So therefore, when you run into that type of Black man, he doesn’t speak as an underdog. He doesn’t speak like you outnumber him, or he doesn’t speak like there’s any harm that you can do to him. He speaks as one who outnumbers you. He sees that the dark world outnumbers the white world. That the odds have turned today and are in his favor, are on his side. He sees that the people of this earth are on his side. That time is on his side. That history is on his side. And most important of all, he sees that God is on his side toward getting him some kind of solution that’s immediate, and that’s lasting, and that is no way connected or concerned or stems from the goodwill or good conscience, shape, ‘soever of the man who created — who committed the crime and created the problem in the first place.

I would like to point out, quickly and briefly no I won’t, I think my time is up.
Voice: Just about.
Well, Dr. here says my time is up, and I’m telling him his time is short. [Laughter] So I think what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

By Nnamdi Azikiwe

The Mhotep Corporation uses its Keyamsha The Awakening brand to heighten perceptions and expand awareness. By producing content that engages, entertains and educates we create value for value relationships with our audience for mutual benefit. Mhotep is derived from the name of the architect and builder of the first pyramid in Kemet, so-called ancient Egypt. I formed the Mhotep Corporation in 2003 to produce and distribute 3D animation videos based on traditional African stories. Since then it has evolved to being a media production company including books. In a previous life I worked as a systems analyst developing solutions for government and multinational organizations. Born and educated in Washington, D.C. I have traveled to several places including Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria (several times), Ethiopia (several times), Benin, Togo, and South Africa. I am married with three children.


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