Malcolm X (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. Detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy, and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.
Malcolm X’s father died—killed by white supremacists, it was rumored—when he was young, and at least one of his uncles was lynched. When he was thirteen, his mother was placed in a mental hospital, and he was placed in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age 20, he went to prison for breaking and entering.
1. BE PEACEFUL, BE COURTEOUS, OBEY THE LAW, RESPECT EVERYONE; BUT IF SOMEONE PUTS HIS HAND ON YOU, SEND HIM TO THE CEMETERY.
2. THE ABILITY TO READ AWOKE INSIDE OF ME SOME LONG DORMANT CRAVING TO BE MENTALLY ALIVE.
3. IF YOU’RE NOT CAREFUL, THE NEWSPAPERS WILL HAVE YOU HATING THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING OPPRESSED, AND LOVING THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING THE OPPRESSING.
4. TO HAVE ONCE BEEN A CRIMINAL IS NO DISGRACE. TO REMAIN A CRIMINAL IS THE DISGRACE.
5. HENCE I HAVE NO MERCY OR COMPASSION IN ME FOR A SOCIETY THAT WILL CRUSH PEOPLE, AND THEN PENALIZE THEM FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO STAND UP UNDER THE WEIGHT.
6. HOW CAN YOU THANK A MAN FOR GIVING YOU WHAT’S ALREADY YOURS? HOW THEN CAN YOU THANK HIM FOR GIVING YOU ONLY PART OF WHAT IS YOURS?
7. A WISE MAN CAN PLAY THE PART OF A CLOWN, BUT A CLOWN CAN’T PLAY THE PART OF A WISE MAN.
8. IF YOU’RE NOT READY TO DIE FOR IT, TAKE THE WORD ‘FREEDOM’ OUT OF YOUR VOCABULARY.
9. THE MEDIA’S THE MOST POWERFUL ENTITY ON EARTH. THEY HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THE INNOCENT GUILTY AND TO MAKE THE GUILTY INNOCENT, AND THAT’S POWER. BECAUSE THEY CONTROL THE MINDS OF THE MASSES.
10. WE NEED MORE LIGHT ABOUT EACH OTHER. LIGHT CREATES UNDERSTANDING, UNDERSTANDING CREATES LOVE, LOVE CREATES PATIENCE, AND PATIENCE CREATES UNITY.
11. TRUTH IS ON THE SIDE OF THE OPPRESSED.
12. YOU SHOW ME A CAPITALIST, AND I’LL SHOW YOU A BLOODSUCKER.
13. IF YOU HAVE NO CRITICS YOU’LL LIKELY HAVE NO SUCCESS.
14. USUALLY WHEN PEOPLE ARE SAD, THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING. THEY JUST CRY OVER THEIR CONDITION. BUT WHEN THEY GET ANGRY, THEY BRING ABOUT A CHANGE.
15. SO EARLY IN MY LIFE, I HAD LEARNED THAT IF YOU WANT SOMETHING, YOU HAD BETTER MAKE SOME NOISE.
16. TO ME, THE THING THAT IS WORSE THAN DEATH IS BETRAYAL. YOU SEE, I COULD CONCEIVE DEATH, BUT I COULD NOT CONCEIVE BETRAYAL.
17. WE CANNOT THINK OF BEING ACCEPTABLE TO OTHERS UNTIL WE HAVE FIRST PROVEN ACCEPTABLE TO OURSELVES.
18. PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE HOW A MAN’S WHOLE LIFE CAN BE CHANGED BY ONE BOOK.
19. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO PICK THE GUN UP TO PUT THE GUN DOWN.
20. IF SOMEONE PUTS THEIR HANDS ON YOU MAKE SURE THEY NEVER PUT THEIR HANDS ON ANYBODY ELSE AGAIN.
21. EDUCATION IS OUR PASSPORT TO THE FUTURE, FOR TOMORROW BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE WHO PREPARE FOR IT TODAY.
22. I’M FOR TRUTH, NO MATTER WHO TELLS IT. I’M FOR JUSTICE, NO MATTER WHO IT IS FOR OR AGAINST. I’M A HUMAN BEING, FIRST AND FOREMOST, AND AS SUCH I’M FOR WHOEVER AND WHATEVER BENEFITS HUMANITY AS A WHOLE.
23. MY ALMA MATER WAS BOOKS, A GOOD LIBRARY…. I COULD SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE READING, JUST SATISFYING MY CURIOSITY.
24. YOU’RE NOT TO BE SO BLIND WITH PATRIOTISM THAT YOU CAN’T FACE REALITY. WRONG IS WRONG, NO MATTER WHO DOES IT OR SAYS IT.
25. IF YOU DON’T STAND FOR SOMETHING YOU WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING.