Malcolm X holds up money collected at a “Freedom Rally” June 25, 1961 sponsored by the Nation of Islam at Washington, D.C.’s Uline Arena at the 1100 block of 3rd Street NE
Photo by Richard Saunders/Getty Images
Malcolm X on the Power of Black Collectivism
The following is an excerpt from El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)’s speech “The Ballot or The Bullet” delivered on April 12, 1964 at King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan.
In this speech, the minister and human rights activist submits a charge to the ‘Black’ people of the United States of America with his blueprint on their future political and economic survival. While his lecture on Black Nationalism is most relevant to the time he spoke these words, much of his theory on how to achieve and maintain a successful community remains applicable in a 21st century world that is still not conducive to 'Black’ collective progress.
Give Me Liberty
Part I: False Greatness
Part II: Cast Down Your Soul
Part III: The Carternick Compromise
Man vs. Nature
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I. False Greatness
MYLo, forbear to call him bless'd
That only boasts a large estate,
Should all the treasures of the west
Meet, and conspire to make him great:
I know thy better thoughts, I know
Thy reason can't descend so low:
Let a broad stream, with golden sands,
Through all his meadows roll,
He's but a wretch, with all his lands,
That wears a narrow soul.
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