Malcolm X at Harlem Freedom Rally (1960)

Ensuring Socio-economic Justice

Malcolm X (Malik el-Shabazz)

Shawwal 22, 1389 1970-01-01

by Malcolm X (Malik el-Shabazz)

As-Salaam-Alaikum beloved brothers and sisters, welcome to our Harlem Freedom Rally.

When we say “our” we do not mean Muslim nor Christian, Catholic nor Protestant, Baptist nor Methodist, Democrat nor Republican, Mason nor Elk. By “our” Harlem Freedom, we mean the black people of Harlem, the black people of America, and the black people all over this earth.

The largest concentration of black people on earth is right here in Harlem, so we are gathered here today in Harlem Square to a Freedom Rally, of black people, by black people, and for the benefit of black people.

We are not here at this Rally because we have already gained freedom. No! We are gathered here rallying for the freedom which we have long been promised, but have as yet not received. This Rally is for that perfect freedom which up until now this government has not granted us. There would be no need to protest to the government if we were already free.

Freedom is essential to life itself. Freedom is essential to the development of the human being. If we don’t have freedom we can never expect justice and equality. Only after we have freedom do justice and equality become a reality. Today we are gathered at this Rally to hear from our leaders who have been acting as our spokesmen, and representing us to the white man downtown. We want to know how our leaders really think, how they talk, how they feel...and most important of all, we want them to know how we feel.

Many of these leaders have suddenly become “experts on Harlem” and as such are often regarded by the white man as the “voice of Harlem.” If this must be the case, then we want the voice of these leaders to ring sometimes in Harlem too.

Leaders have differences, and these differences ofttimes cause serious division among the masses. But the hour is too short today for black people to afford the luxury of “differences.”

Again I repeat, we are not gathered here today because we are Muslims or Christians, Protestants or Catholics, Baptists or Methodists, Democrats or Republicans, Masons or Elks...but because as a collective mass of black people we have been colonized, enslaved, lynched, exploited, deceived and abused.

As a collective mass of black people we have been deprived, not only of civil rights, but even our human rights, the right to human dignity...the right to be a human being!

This Freedom Rally is to be a united effort by all our leaders. We have set aside any petty differences, and in the Spirit of Bandung we have come together on this same platform, wherein each one can voice his personal feelings and his personal solution to this grave crisis we face.

The Western World today faces a great catastrophe. It stands on the brink of disaster. Mr. Muhammad says the only way our people can avoid the fiery destruction that God Himself will soon unleash upon this wicked world is for our people to come together among themselves in unity and practice true brotherhood. Mr. Muhammad says God is with us to unite our people into one brotherhood, and to aid those that are oppressed, and to uplift those who are downtrodden.

The Western World, filled with evil and wickedness, is groping and stumbling blindly through spiritual darkness toward its inevitable doom. Mr. Muhammad says we must qualify ourselves so that God’s spiritual light will guide us past the pitfalls of destruction. The Western World is filled with drunkenness, dope addiction, lying, stealing, gambling, adultery, fornication, prostitution and hosts of other evils. These evils must be removed if the world is to have peace. These evils are the primary cause of troubles all over the earth. These evils promote greed and lust, increase wickedness and unrest, and destroy all hopes for peace.

You want peace. I want peace. Everyone craves for a world of peace. Mr. Muhammad says anyone who will submit to the God of Peace will have peace. Even the white man himself can prolong his time today if he will submit to the God of Peace, and give freedom, justice, and equality to the “people of God”...the so-called Negroes here in America.

The city of Nineveh in the bible to whom Jonah was sent to warn is a good prophetic example of today. They were actually spared because they repented when the warning came to them from God. God will spare our slave master today too if he will repent.

The whole dark world wants peace. When I was in Africa last year I was deeply impressed by the desire of our African Brothers for peace, but even they agree that there can be no peace without freedom from colonialism, foreign domination, oppression and exploitation.

The God of Peace and Righteousness is about to set up His kingdom of peace and righteousness here on this earth. Knowing that God is about to establish His righteous government, Mr. Muhammad is trying to clean up our morals and qualify us to enter into this new righteous nation of God.

The American so-called Negroes must recognize each other as brothers and sisters...stop carrying guns and knives to harm each other, stop drinking whiskey, taking dope, reefers, and even cigarettes. No more gambling! Save your money. Stop fornication, adultery and prostitution. Elevate the black woman; respect her and protect her. Let us rid ourselves of immoral habits and God will be with us to protect and guide us.

Then, we must form a platform that will be good for all of our own people, as well as for others. As black people we must unite. We must recognize and give intelligent active support to our political leaders who fight for us unselfishly, sincerely, and fearlessly.

But, to prove their sincerity and their right for the support of the black masses, these leaders must first display fearlessness, intelligence, and unity among themselves. They must stop their public bickering with each other. They must stop attacking each other in front of the white man, and for the benefit of the white man. If the black leaders must have differences of opinion, learn to go into the closet with each other, but when you come from behind closed doors, show a united front in the face of the one who is a common enemy to all of us.

Mr. Muhammad has invited all of the leaders here today for that purpose. He wants our people united, but unity will never exist among the black masses as long as our leaders are not united.

We want to get behind leaders who will fight for us...leaders who are not afraid to demand freedom, justice, and equality. We do not want leaders who are hand picked for us by the white man. We don’t want any more Uncle Toms.

We don’t want any more leaders who are puppets or parrots for the white man. We want brave leaders as our spokesmen, who are not afraid to state our case, who can intelligently demand what we need, what we want, and what is rightfully ours. We don’t want leaders who are beggars, who feel they must compromise with the enemy. And we don’t want leaders who are selfish or greedy...who will sell us out for a few pieces of silver.

A big election is coming up this year. What kind of leaders do we want in office? Which ones will the black masses get behind? Mr. Muhammad has thousands of followers, and millions of sympathizers. He will place his weight behind any fearless black leaders who will stand up and help the so-called American Negroes get complete and immediate freedom.

If these black leaders are afraid that to be identified with us they will irk the white man, or lose the white man’s favor or his support, then they can no longer expect the support of the black masses.

They call us racial extremists. They call Jomo Kenyatta also a racial extremist and Tom Mboya a moderate. It is only the white man’s fear of men like Kenyatta that makes him listen to men like Mboya. If it were not for the extremists, the white man would ignore the moderates. To be called a "moderate" in this awakening dark world today, that is crying for freedom, is to receive the "kiss of death" as spokesmen or leaders of the masses...for the masses are ready to burst the shackles of slavery whether the "moderates" will stand up or not. We have many black leaders who are unafraid, especially when they know the black masses stand behind them. Many of them are qualified to represent us not only in this United States government, but could also represent us in this government if we are given 100 per cent citizenship and the opportunity for FIRST-CLASS participation... or else we can get behind these same leaders in setting up an independent government of our own.

We, the black masses, don’t want these leaders who seek our support coming to us representing a certain political party. They must come to us today as black leaders representing the welfare of black people.

We won’t follow any leader today who comes on the basis of political party. Both parties, Democrat and Republican, are controlled by the same people who have abused our rights, and who have deceived us with false promises every time an election rolls around.

Mr. Muhammad grieves over the disunity that exists even among the intellectuals and professional so-called Negroes. It is these “educated” so-called Negroes who should be leading us out of this maze of misery and want. They possess the academic know-how, great amounts of technical skills...but they can’t use it for the benefit of their own kind simply because they themselves are also disunited. If these intellectuals and professional so-called Negroes would unite, not only Harlem would benefit, but it will benefit our people all over the world.

Mr. Muhammad says disunity is our number one stumbling block, and this disunity exists only because we lack knowledge of SELF, our own kind. So-called Negro “intellectuals” seem to think integration is the answer. But, is it? “Integrate” means to become as one unit. How can these “intellectuals” expect the white man to accept us into his social unit, political unit, or economic unit when we are not yet in unity, as a unit, among our own kind?

We, the Muslims, are for brotherhood, but not for integration! What is the difference? Brotherhood is based on love, which automatically produces voluntary acts of sincere benevolence. But integration produces hypocrisy, It forces the white man to pose as a “liberal,” to be pretensive and false. Thus, “benevolent” acts which are “forced by integration laws” are producing white hypocrites, and reducing chances of creating a “mutual working agreement” between the two races.

Your thirst for integration makes the white man think you want only to marry his daughter. We Muslims who follow Mr. Muhammad don’t think God ever intended for black men to marry white women. Mr. Muhammad and his followers are violently opposed to intermarriage.

This is conveniently and purposely misinterpreted by our enemies to mean that we are anti-white, anti-Christian, and anti-American simply because we refuse to chase after the white man’s women! Let the white man keep his women, and let us keep ours.

Some Negroes who love race-mixing, and want white women, are angry at Mr. Muhammad because he teaches against they slip around and make the white man think we are anti-white. I’m surprised that the white man is dumb enough to believe these Uncle Toms, who stoop so low, like JUDAS, to be stool pigeons against their own kind.

We have oceans of dark people on this earth: in Africa, Asia, and even here in America. Our women are the most beautiful, like a bouquet of flowers. Why should we chase white women?

In this “changing” world today, what would we do, married to a white woman? Her people don’t want you in their neighborhood around them, and our fast awakening people don’t want you to bring her back into our neighborhood any more to live around us. Thus, you both become a “misfit”, unwelcomed and unwanted in either society...where can you go? Because we Muslims look at this as it is and face reality does not mean we are anti-white. We don’t want his white mother, his white sister, nor his white daughter. We want only an equal chance on this earth, but to have an equal chance we must have the same thing the white man himself needed before he could get this nation started...WE MUST HAVE SOME LAND OF OUR OWN!

Why do we want some land of our own? Because land is essential to freedom. How else can 20 million black people who now constitute a nation in our own right, a NATION WITHIN A NATION, expect to survive forever in a land where we are the last ones hired and the first ones fired...simply because we have no land of our own?

For over 400 years we have been very faithful to our American slave masters. Now God is warning them through Mr. Muhammad that they should be nice enough to give us some land so we can separate ourselves from them and get started for ourselves.

This is no more than what the white man should do. It is in complete accord with the Christian religion. Their bible says that when a slave is set free, his slave master should give him something to help him get started on his own...never send him away empty-handed.

If the Hebrews in the bible numbered only 600,000 in the land of their bondage, and God was concerned with giving them freedom in a land of their own, a land "flowing with milk and honey"...then what about 20 million so-called Negroes here in America, who have the "freedom" only to look for a job? Can you not see that our former "leaders" have been fighting for the wrong thing...the wrong kind of freedom? Mr. Muhammad says we must have some land where we can work hard for ourselves, make ourselves equal, and live in dignity. Then and only then we won’t have to beg the white man for the crumbs that fall occasionally from his table. No one respects or appreciates a beggar.

Since we say Lincoln freed us, let us avail ourselves of that freedom by uniting together and doing something for our own kind. But, we must have some of this earth. We have been in America over 400 years. We have been called "free" 100 years, and yet he still calls us "the white man’s burden."

We Muslims don’t want to be a burden on America any longer. God has given Mr. Muhammad a divine message, program, and solution. WE MUST HAVE SOME LAND! The white man should be glad to give his loyal "slaves" some land so we can get out of his way and go for ourselves.

We will then set up our own farms, factories, businesses, and schools...and show him how much we appreciate the education he has given us, by using it to become self-sustaining...economically and otherwise.

We want some land where we can create unity, harmony and brotherhood...and live together in peace. Since America now sees that this false show of integration and intermarriage will not work, she should make immediate steps to set aside a few of these states for us, and put us there for ourselves.

If America will repent and do this, God will overlook some of our wicked deeds (as in the days of Nineveh)... but if America refuses to give Mr. Muhammad what God instructed him to ask for...then, like the biblical houses of Egypt and Babylon...slave empires of the bible...God will erase the American government and the entire race that it favors and represents, from this planet...and God will then give the whole earth back to the original owners, the black man!

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