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The Black Revolution: Speech by Malcolm X (1963)

The Black Revolution
Malcolm X

Dr. Powell, distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, friends, and even our enemies. As a follower and minister of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who is the Messenger of Allah to the American so-called Negro, I am very happy to accept Dr. Powell’s invitation to be here this evening at the Abyssinian Baptist Church and to express or at least to try to represent The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s views on this most timely topic, the black revolution.

First, however, there are some questions we have to put to you. Since the black masses here in America are now in open revolt against the American system of segregation, will these same black masses turn toward integration or will they turn toward complete separation? Will these awakened black masses demand integration into the white society that enslaved them or will they demand complete separation from that cruel white society that has enslaved them? Will the exploited and oppressed black masses seek integration with their white exploiters and white oppressors or will these awakened black masses truly revolt and separate themselves completely from this wicked race that has enslaved us?

These are just some quick questions that I think will provoke some thoughts in your minds and my mind. How can the so-called Negroes who call themselves enlightened leaders expect the poor black sheep to integrate into a society of bloodthirsty white wolves, white wolves who have already been sucking on our blood for over four hundred years here in America? Or will these black sheep also revolt against the false shepherd, the handpicked Uncle tom Negro leader, and seek complete separation so that w e can escape from the den of the wolves rather than be integrated with wolves in this wolves’ den? And since we are in church and most of us here profess to believe in God, there is another question: When the good shepherd comes will he integrate his long-lost sheep with white wolves? According to the Bible when God comes he won’t even let his sheep integrate with goats. And if his sheep can’t be safely integrated with goats they certainly aren’t safe integrated with wolves.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that no people on earth fit the Bible’s symbolic picture about the Lost Sheep more so than America’s twenty million so-called Negroes and there has never in history been a more vicious and blood-thirsty wolf than the American white man. He teaches us that for four hundred years America has been nothing but a wolves den for twenty million so-called Negroes, twenty million second-class citizens, and this black revolution that is developing against the white wolf today is developing because The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, a godsent shepherd, has opened the eyes of our people. And the black masses can now see that we have all been here in this white doghouse long, too long. The black masses don’t want segregation nor de we want integration . What we want is complete separation. In short, we don’t want to be integrated with the white man, we want to be separated from the white man. And now our religious leader and teacher, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, teaches us that this is the only intelligent and lasting solution to the present race problem. In order to fully understand why the Muslim followers of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad actually reject hypocritical promises of integration lit must first be understood by every one that we are a religious group, and as a religious group we can in no way be equated or compared to the nonreligious civil rights groups. We are Muslims because we believe in Allah. We are Muslims because we practice the religion of Islam.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that there is but on God, the creator and sustainer of the entire universe, the all-wise, all-powerful Supreme Being. The great God whose proper name is Allah. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad also teaches us that Islam is an Arabic word t hat means complete submission to the will of Allah or obedience to the God of truth, God of peace, the God of righteousness, the God whose proper name is Allah. And he teaches us that the word Muslim is used to describe on who submits to God, one who obeys God. In other words a Muslim is one who strives to live a life of righteousness. You may ask what does the religion of Islam have to do with American so-called Negro’s changing attitude toward himself, toward the white man, toward segregation, toward integration, and toward separation, and what part will this religion of Islam play in the current black revolution that is sweeping the American continent today?

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that Islam is the religion of naked truth, undressed truth, truth that is not dressed up, and he says that truth is the only thing that will truly set our people free. Truth will open our eyes and enable us to see the white wolf as he really is. Truth will stand us on our own feet. Truth will make u s walk for ourselves instead of leaning on others who mean our people no good. Truth not only shows us who our real enemy is, truth also gives us the strength and the know-how to separate ourselves from that enemy. Only a blind man will walk into the op en embrace of his enemy, and only a blind people, a people who are blind to the truth about their enemies, will seek to embrace or integrate with that enemy. Why, Jesus himself prophesied. You shall know the truth and it shall make you free. Beloved brothers and sisters, Jesus never said that Abraham Lincoln would make us free. He never said that the Congress would make us free. He never said that the Senate or Supreme Court or John Kennedy would make us free. Jesus two thousand years ago looked down the wheel of time and saw your and my plight here today and he knew the tricky high court, Supreme Court, desegregation decisions would only lull you into a deeper sleep, and the tricky promises of the hypocritical politicians on civil rights legislation would only be designed to advance you and me from ancient slavery to modern slavery. But Jesus did prophesy that when Elijah comes in the spirit and power of truth he said that Elijah would teach you the truth. Elijah would guide you with truth and Elijah would protect you with truth and make you free indeed. And brothers and sister, that Elijah, the one whom Jesus has said was to come, has come and is in America today in the person of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
This Elijah, the one whom they said was to come and who has come, teaches those of who are Muslims that our white slave masters have always known the truth and they have always known that truth alone would set us free. Therefore this same American white man kept the truth hidden from our people. He kept us in the darkness of ignorance. He made us spiritually blind by depriving us of the light of truth. During the four hundred years that we have spent confined to the darkness of ignorance here in this land of bondage, our American enslavers have given us an overdose of their own white-controlled Christian religion, but have kept all other religions hidden from us, especially the religion of Islam. And for this reason, Almighty God Allah, the God of our forefathers, has raised The Honorable Elijah Muhammad from the midst of our downtrodden people here in America. And this same God has missioned The Honorable Elijah Muhammad to spread the naked truth to America’s twenty million so-called Negroes, and the truth alone will make you and me free.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that there is but one God whose proper name is Allah, and one religion, the religion of Islam, and that this one God will not rest until he has used his religion to establish one world-a universal, one-world brotherhood. But in order to set up his righteous world God must first bring down this wicked white world. The black revolution against the injustices of the white world is all part of God’s divine plan. God must destroy the world of slavery and evil in order to establish a world based upon freedom, justice, and equality. The followers of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad religiously believe that we are living at the end of this wicked world, the world of colonialism, the world of slavery, the end of the Western world, the white world or the Christian world, or the end of the wicked white man’s Western world of Christianity.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that the symbolic stories in all religious scriptures paint a prophetic picture of today. He says that the Egyptian House of Bondage was only a prophetic picture of America. Mighty Babylon was only a prophetic picture of America. the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah painted only a prophetic picture of America. No one here in this church tonight can deny that America is the mightiest government on earth today, the mightiest, the richest, and the wickedest. And no one in this church tonight dare deny that America’s wealth and power stemmed form 310 years of slave labor contributed from the American so-called Negro.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that these same so-called American Negroes are God’s long-lost people who are symbolically described in the Bible as the Lost Sheep or the Lost Tribe of Israel. We who are Muslims believe in God, we believe in his scriptures, we believe in prophecy. Nowhere in the scriptures did god ever integrate his enslaved people with their slave masters. God always separates his oppressed people form their oppressor and then destroys the oppressor. God has never deviated from his divine pattern in the past and The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that God will not deviate from that divine pattern today. Just as God destroyed the enslavers in the past, God is going to destroy this wicked white enslaver of our people here in America.

God wants us to separate ourselves from this wicked white race here in America because this American House of Bondage is number one on God’s list for divine destruction today. I repeat: This American House of Bondage is number one on God’s list for divine destruction today. He warns us to remember Noah never taught integration, Noah taught separation; Moses never taught integration, Moses taught separation. The innocent must always be given a chance to separate themselves form the guilty before the guilty are executed. No one is more innocent that the poor, blind American so-called Negro who has been led astray by blind Negro leaders, and no one on earth is more guilty that the blue-eyed white man who has used his control and influence over the Negro leader to lead the rest of our people astray.

Beloved brothers and sisters here, a beautiful here at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, because of America’s evil deeds against the so-called Negroes, like Egypt and Babylon before her, America herself now stands before the bar of justice. America herself is now facing her day of judgment, and she can’t escape because God Himself is the judge. If America can’t atone for the crimes she has committed against the twenty million so-called Negroes, if she can’t undo the evils that she has brutally and mercilessly heaped upon our people these past four hundred years, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that America has signed her own doom. And you, our people, would be foolish to accept her deceitful offers of integration at this late date into her doomed society.
Can America escape? Can America atone? And if so how can she atone for these crimes? In my conclusion I must point out that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says a desegregated theater, a desegregated lunch counter won’t solve our problem. Better jobs won’t even solve our problems. An integrated cup of coffee isn’t sufficient pay for four hundred years of slave labor. He also says that a better job, a better job in the white man’s factory, or a better job in the white man’s business, or a better job i n the white man’s industry or economy is, at best, only a temporary solution. He says that they only lasting and permanent solution is complete separation on some land that we can call our own.

Therefore, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that this problem can be solved and solved forever just by sending our people back to our own homeland or back to our own people, but that this government should provide the transportation plus everything else we need to get started again in our own country. This government should give us everything we need in the form of machinery, material, and finance-enough to last for twenty to twenty-five years until we can become an independent people and an independent nation in our own land. He says that if the American government is afraid to send us back to our own country and to our own people, then America should set aside some separated territory right here in the Western hemisphere where the two races can live apart from each other, since we certainly don’t get along peacefully while we are together.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that the size of the territory can be judged according to our population. If a seventh of the population of this country is black, then give us a seventh of the territory, a seventh part of the county. And that is not asking too much because we already worked for the man for four hundred years.
He says it must not be in the desert, but where there is plenty of rain and much mineral wealth. We want fertile, productive land on which we can farm and provide our own people with food, clothing, and shelter. He says that this government should supply us on that territory with the machinery and other tools needed to dig into the earth. Give us everything we need for twenty to twenty-five years until we can produce and supply our own needs.

And in my conclusion I repeat: We want no part of integration with this wicked race of devils. But he also says we should not be expected to leave America empty-handed. After four hundred years of slave labor, we have some back pay coming. A bill t hat is owed to us and must be collected. If the government of America truly repents of its sins against our people and atones by giving us our true share of the land and the wealth, then America can save herself. But if America waits for God to step in and force her to make a just settlement, God will take this entire continent away from the white man. And the Bible says that God can then give the kingdom to whomsoever he pleases. I thank you.

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