Quotes

Quotes by Malcolm X

"A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything."
— Malcolm X

"We are nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us."
— Malcolm X

"Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today."
— Malcolm X

"My alma mater was books, a good library... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity."
— Malcolm X

"Stumbling is not falling."
— Malcolm X

"There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time."
— Malcolm X

"They put your mind right in a bag, and take it wherever they want."
— Malcolm X

"We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us."
— Malcolm X

"Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks."
— Malcolm X

"A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself."
— Malcolm X

"I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they'll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action."
— Malcolm X

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

"I feel like a man who has been asleep somewhat and under someone else's control. I feel that what I'm thinking and saying is now for myself. Before it was for and by the guidance of Elijah Muhammad. Now I think with my own mind, sir!"
— Malcolm X

"The thing that you have to understand about those of us in the Black Muslim movement was that all of us believed 100 percent in the divinity of Elijah Muhammad. We believed in him. We actually believed that God, in Detroit by the way, that God had taught him and all of that. I always believed that he believed in himself. And I was shocked when I found out that he himself didn't believe it."
— Malcolm X

"I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation."
— Malcolm X

"It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That's the only thing that can save this country."
— February 19, 1965 (2 days before he was murdered by Nation of Islam followers)
— Malcolm X

"Without education, you're not going anywhere in this world."
— Malcolm X

"...I shall never rest until I have undone the harm I did to so many well-meaning, innocent Negroes who through my own evangelistic zeal now believe in him even more fanatically and more blindly than I did."
— on those he encouraged to follow Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad
— Malcolm X

"When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won't do to get it, or what he doesn't believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn't believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom."
— Malcolm X

"You don't have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being."
— Malcolm X

"Dr. King wants the same thing I want. Freedom."
— Malcolm X

"I want Dr. King to know that I didn't come to Selma to make his job difficult. I really did come thinking I could make it easier. If the white people realize what the alternative is, perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King."
— in a conversation with Mrs. Coretta Scott King.
— Malcolm X

"I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color."
— Malcolm X

Quotes from Articles and Speeches

"The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is respect as human beings, the God-given right to be a human being. Our common goal is to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans."
— "Racism: the Cancer that is Destroying America," in Egyptian Gazette (Aug. 25 1964).

"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."
— "Prospects for Freedom in 1965," speech, Jan. 7 1965, New York City (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 12, 1965).

"The Negro revolution is controlled by foxy white liberals, by the Government itself. But the Black Revolution is controlled only by God."
— Speech, Dec. 1, 1963, New York City.

"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."
— Speech, Dec. 12 1964, New York City.

"There is nothing in our book, the Koran, that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That's a good religion."
— "Message to the Grass Roots," speech, Nov. 1963, Detroit (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 1, 1965).

"It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, which means it's too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won't even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep."
— "Message to the Grass Roots," speech, Nov. 1963, Detroit (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 1, 1965).

"Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner. You must be eating 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."
— "The Ballot or the Bullet," speech, April 3 1964, Cleveland, Ohio (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 3, 1965).

"If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country."
— Speech, Nov. 1963, New York City.

Quotes About Malcolm X

"Have I gotten any threats? All I get is threats. I get at least six or seven a day."
— Betty Shabazz, in an interview shortly before Malcolm's murder

"...I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and the root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems we face as a race."
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a telegram to Betty Shabazz after the murder of Malcolm X

"The black student group I was in wrote him a letter saying we'd heard he'd suspended security provisions - people weren't being searched fully like before. We told him we thought that was not wise, in fact more security should be in place. He wrote back, and after thanking us, said, 'Brothers, our people are patted down and knocked down every day of their lives. We want them to come in here and know that they are among their brothers and sisters.'"
— James Turner, founding director of Africana Studies at Cornell University

"I had just moved to Harlem. It was the first night I was there, and I went for a walk and there was a rally going on. Of course, I had heard about Malcolm before that, but it was mostly the kind of negative things they were running about him in the press then. I felt as if I was hearing the truth. I had never heard anyone speak with such clarity and forcefulness. And he just stimulated me. I found if he mentioned a book or a magazine article, I would try to find it. You hear people use that clich about the University of the Streets. It really was that."
— A. Peter Bailey, journalist

"Here - at this final hour, Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its brightest hopes - extinguished now, and gone from us forever.. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain - and we will smile. .We will answer and say unto them, 'Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever really listen to him? .For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him.'"
— Ossie Davis, actor, in his eulogy at Malcolm X's funeral

"This was a brother you could believe. There was the sense that he was not in it for something. That was the extraordinary thing about him. He was in it because of his commitment to our liberation."
— James Turner, founding director of Africana Studies at Cornell University