I was approached, I think we were at the United Nations, and I met Mrs. Walker, about two or three weeks ago, and she said that a group of students were coming up from McComb, Mississippi, and wanted to know if I would meet with you and speak with you. I told her frankly that it would be the greatest honor that I ever had experienced. Because I have never been in the state of Mississippi, number one — not through any fault of my own, I don't think — but it's been my great desire to either go there or meet someone from there.
To not take too much of your time, I would like to point out a little incident that I was involved in a short while ago that will give you somewhat of an idea of why I am going to say what I am. I was flying on a plane from Algiers to Geneva about four weeks ago, with two other Americans. Both of them were white — one was a male, the other was a female. And after we had flown together for about forty minutes, the lady turned to me and asked me — she had looked at my briefcase and saw the initials M and X — and she said, "I would like to ask you a question. What kind of last name could you have that begins with X?" So I told her, "That's it: X." She was quiet for a little while. For about ten minutes she was quiet. She hadn't been quiet at all up to then, you know. And then finally she turned and she said, "Well, what's your first name?" I said, "Malcolm." She was quiet for about ten more minutes. Then she turned and she said, "Well, you're not Malcolm X?" [laughter] But the reason she asked that question was, she had gotten from the press, and from things that she had heard and read, she was looking for something different, or for someone different.
"Young people ... should learn how to ... see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself. Then you can come to an intelligent decision for yourself."
The reason I take time to tell you this is, one of the first things, I think, young people, especially nowadays, should learn how to do is: see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself. Then you can come to an intelligent decision for yourself. But if you form the habit of going by what you hear others say about someone, or going by what others think about someone, instead of going and searching that thing out for yourself and seeing for yourself, you'll be walking west when you think you're going east, and you'll be walking east when you think you're going west. So this generation, especially of our people, have a burden upon themselves, more so than at any other time in history. The most important thing we can learn how to do today is think for ourselves. It's good to keep wide-open ears and listen to what everybody else has to say, but when you come to make a decision, you have to weigh all of what you've heard on its own, and place it where it belongs, and then come to a decision for yourself; and you'll never regret it. But if you form the habit of taking what someone else says about a thing without checking it out for yourself, you'll find that other people will have you hating your own friends and loving
your enemies. This is one of the things that our people are beginning to learn today, that it is very important to think out a situation for yourself. If you don't do it, then you'll always be maneuvered into actually — you'll never fight your enemies, but you will find yourself fighting your own self.
I think our people in this country are the best examples of that. Because many of us want to be nonviolent. We talk very loudly, you know, about being nonviolent. Here in Harlem, where there are probably more Black people concentrated than any place else in the world, some talk that nonviolent talk too. And when they stop talking about how nonviolent they are, we find that they aren't nonviolent with each other. At Harlem Hospital, you can go out here on Friday night, which — today is what, Friday? Yes. You can go out here to Harlem Hospital, where there are more Black patients in one hospital than any hospital in the world, because there's a concentration of our people here — and find Black people who claim they're nonviolent. But you see them going in there all cut up and shot up and busted up where they got violent with each other.
So my experience has been that in many instances where you find Negroes always talking about being nonviolent, they're not nonviolent with each other, and they're not loving with each other, or patient with each other, or forgiving with each other. Usually, when they say they're nonviolent, they mean they're nonviolent with somebody else. I think you understand what I mean. They are nonviolent with the enemy. A person can come to your home, and if he's white and he wants to heap some kind of brutality upon you, you're nonviolent. Or he can come put a rope around your neck, you're nonviolent. Or he can come to take your father out and put a rope around his neck, you're nonviolent. But now if another Negro just stomps his foot, you'll rumble with him in a minute. Which shows you there's an inconsistency there.
"If they make the Ku Klux Klan nonviolent, I'll be nonviolent. ... But as long as you've got somebody else not being nonviolent, I don't want anybody coming to me talking any kind of nonviolent talk."
So I myself would go for nonviolence if it was consistent, if it was intelligent, if everybody was going to be nonviolent, and if we were going to be nonviolent all the time. I'd say, okay, let's get with it, we'll all be nonviolent. But I don't go along — and I'm just telling you how I think — I don't go along with any kind of nonviolence unless everybody's going to be nonviolent. If they make the Ku Klux Klan nonviolent, I'll be nonviolent. If they make the White Citizens' Council nonviolent, I'll be nonviolent. But as long as you've got somebody else not being nonviolent, I don't want anybody coming to me talking any kind of nonviolent talk. I don't think it is fair to tell our people to be nonviolent unless someone is out there making the Klan and the Citizens' Council and these other groups also be nonviolent.
Now I'm not criticizing those here who are nonviolent. I think everybody should do it the way they feel is best, and I congratulate anybody who can be nonviolent in the face of all that kind of action that I read about in that part of the world. But I don't think that in 1965 you will find the upcoming generation of our people, especially those who have been doing some thinking, who will go along with any form of nonviolence unless nonviolence is going to be practiced all the way around.
If the leaders of the nonviolent movement can go into the white community and teach nonviolence, good. I'd go along with that. But as long as I see them teaching nonviolence only in the Black community, then we can't go along with that. We believe in equality, and equality means you have to put the same thing over here that you put over there. And if just Black people alone are going to be the ones who are nonviolent, then it's not fair. We throw ourselves off guard. In fact, we disarm ourselves and make ourselves defenseless.
Now to try and give you a better understanding of our own position, I guess you have to know something about the Black Muslim movement, which is supposed to be a religious movement in this country, which was extremely militant, vocally militant, or militantly vocal. The Black
Muslim movement was supposed to be a religious group. And because it was supposed to be a religious group, it never involved itself in civic matters, so it claimed. And by not getting involved in civic matters, what it did, being militant, it attracted the most militant Negroes, or Afro-Americans, in this country, which it actually did. The Black Muslim movement attracted the most dissatisfied, impatient, and militant Black people in this country.
But when it attracted them, the movement itself, by never involving itself in the real struggle that's confronting Black people in this country, in a sense has gotten maneuvered into a sort of a political and civic vacuum. It was militant, it was vocal, but it never got into the battle itself.
And though it professed to be a religious group, the people from the part of the world whose religion it had adopted didn't recognize them or accept them as a religious group. So it was also in a religious vacuum. It was in a vacuum religiously, by claiming to be a religious group and by having adopted a religion which actually rejected them or wouldn't accept them. So religiously it was in a vacuum.
The federal government tried to classify it as a political group, in order to maneuver it into a position where they could label it as seditious, so that they could crush it because they were afraid of its uncompromising, militant characteristics. So for that reason, though it was labeled a political group and never took part in politics, it was in a political vacuum. So the group, the Black Muslim movement itself, actually developed into a sort of a hybrid, a religious hybrid, a political hybrid, a hybrid-type organization.
Getting all of these very militant Black people into it, and then not having a program that would enable them to take an active part in the struggle, it created a lot of dissatisfaction among its members. It polarized into two different factions — one faction that was militantly vocal, and another faction that wanted some action, militant action, uncompromising action. Finally the dissatisfaction
developed into a division, the division developed into a split, and many of its members left. Those who left formed what was known as the Muslim Mosque, Inc., which is authentically a religious organization that is affiliated with and recognized by all of the official religious heads in the Muslim world. This was called the Muslim Mosque, Inc., whose offices are here.
But this group, being Afro-American or being Black American, realized that although we were practicing the religion of Islam, still there was a problem confronting our people in this country that had nothing to do with religion and went above and beyond religion. A religious organization couldn't attack that problem according to the magnitude of the problem, the complexity of the problem itself. So those in that group, after analyzing the problem, saw the need, or the necessity, of forming another group that had nothing to do with religion whatsoever. And that group is what's named and is today known as the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
The Organization of Afro-American Unity is a nonreligious group of Black people in this country who believe that the problems confronting our people in this country need to be reanalyzed and a new approach devised toward trying to get a solution. Studying the problem, we recall that prior to 1939 in this country, all of our people — in the North, South, East, and West, no matter how much education we had — were segregated. We were segregated in the North just as much as we were segregated in the South. And even right now, today, there's as much segregation in the North as there is in the South. There's some worse segregation right here in New York City than there is in McComb, Mississippi; but up here they're subtle and tricky and deceitful, and they make you think that you've got it made when you haven't even begun to make it yet.
Prior to 1939 our people were in a very menial position or condition. Most of us were waiters and porters and bellhops and janitors and waitresses and things of that sort. It was not until war was declared in Germany by
Hitler, and America became involved in a manpower shortage in regards to her factories plus her army — it was only then that the Black man in this country was permitted to make a few strides forward. It was never out of some kind of moral enlightenment or moral awareness on the part of Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam only let the Black man take a step forward when he himself had his back to the wall.
In Michigan, where I was brought up at that time, I recall that the best jobs in the city for Blacks were waiters out at the country club. And in those days if you had a job waiting table in the country club, you had it made. Or if you had a job at the State House. Having a job at the State House didn't mean that you were a clerk or something of that sort — you had the shoeshine stand in the State House. Just by being in there where you could be around all these big politicians, that made you a big-shot Negro. You were shining shoes, but you were a big-shot Negro because you were around big-shot white people and you could bend their ear and get up next to them. And ofttimes in those days, you were chosen to be the voice of the Negro community.
Also right at this time, 1939 or '40, '41, they weren't drafting Negroes in the army or the navy. A Negro couldn't join the navy in 1940 or '41 in this country. He couldn't join. They wouldn't take a Black man in the navy. They would take him if they wanted and make him a cook. But he couldn't just go and join the navy. And he couldn't just go — I don't think he could just go and join the army. They weren't drafting him when the war first started.
This is what they thought of you and me in those days. For one thing, they didn't trust us. They feared that if they put us in the army and trained us on how to use rifles and other things, that we might shoot at some targets that they hadn't picked out. And we would have. Any thinking man knows what target to shoot at. And if a man doesn't, if he has to have someone else to choose his
target, then he's not thinking for himself — they're doing the thinking for him.
So it was only when the Negro leaders — they had the same type of Negro leaders in those days that we have today — when the Negro leaders saw all the white fellows being drafted and taken into the army and dying on the battlefield, and no Negroes were dying because they weren't being drafted, the Negro leaders came up and said, "We've got to die too. We want to be drafted too, and we demand that you take us in there and let us die for our country too." This is what the Negro leaders said, back in 1940, I remember.
A. Philip Randolph was one of the leading Negroes in those days who said it, and he's one of the Big Six right now; and this is why he's one of the Big Six right now.
They started drafting Negro soldiers then, and then they started letting Negroes get into the navy — but not until Hitler and Tojo and the foreign powers were strong enough to bring pressure upon this country, so that it had its back to the wall and it needed us. At that same time, they let us work in factories. Up until that time we couldn't work in the factories. I'm talking about the North as well as the South. And when they let us work in the factories we began — at first when they let us in we could only be janitors. Then, after a year or so passed by, they let us work on machines. We became machinists, got a little skill. And as we got a little more skill, we made a little more money, which enabled us to live in a little better neighborhood. When we lived in a little better neighborhood, we went to a little better school, got a little better education, and could come out and get a little better job. So the cycle was broken somewhat.
But the cycle was not broken because of some kind of sense of moral responsibility on the part of the government. No, the only time that cycle was broken even to a degree was when world pressure was brought to bear upon the United States government and they were forced to look at the Negro — and then they didn't even look at us
as human beings, they just put us into their system and let us advance a little bit farther because it served their interests. But they never let us advance a little bit farther because they were interested in our interests, or interested in us as human beings. Any of you who have a knowledge of history, sociology, political science, or the economic development of this country and its race relations, all you have to do is take what I'm telling you and go back and do some research on it and you'll have to admit that this is true.
It was during the time that Hitler and Tojo were able to make war with this country and put pressure upon them that Negroes in this country advanced a little bit. At the end of the war with Germany and Japan, then Joe Stalin and Communist Russia were a threat. And during that period we made a little bit more advances.
"Never at any time in the history of our people ... have we made ... progress in any way just based upon the internal good will of this country. ... We have only made advancement in this country when this country was under pressure from forces above and beyond its control. Because the internal moral consciousness of this country is bankrupt."
Now the point that I'm making is this: Never at any time in the history of our people in this country have we made advances or advancement, or made progress in any way just based upon the internal good will of this country, or based upon the internal activity of this country. We have only made advancement in this country when this country was under pressure from forces above and beyond its control. Because the internal moral consciousness of this country is bankrupt. It hasn't existed since they first brought us over here and made slaves out of us. They trick up on the confirmation and make it appear that they have our good interests at heart. But when you study it, every time, no matter how many steps they take us forward, it's like we're standing on a — what do you call that thing? — a treadmill. The treadmill is moving backwards faster than we're able to go forward in this direction. We're not even standing still — we're walking forward, at the same time we're going backward.
I say that because the Organization of Afro-American Unity, in studying the process of this so-called progress during the past twenty years, realized that the only time the Black man in this country is given any kind of recognition,
or shown any kind of favor at all, or even his voice is listened to, is when America is afraid of outside pressure, or when she's afraid of her image abroad. We could see that as long as we sat around and carried on our struggle at a level or in a manner that involved only the good will of the internal forces of this country, we would continue to go backward, there would be no real meaningful changes made. So the Organization of Afro-American Unity saw that it was necessary to expand the problem and the struggle of the Black man in this country until it went above and beyond the jurisdiction of the United States.
For the past fifteen years the struggle of the Black man in this country was labeled as a civil rights struggle, and as such it remained completely within the jurisdiction of the United States. You and I could get no kind of benefits whatsoever other than that which would be forthcoming from Washington, D.C. Which meant, in order for it to be forthcoming from Washington, D.C., all of the congressmen and the senators would have to agree to it.
But the most powerful congressmen and the most powerful senators were from the South. And they were from the South because they had seniority in Washington, D.C. And they had seniority because our people in the South, where they came from, couldn't vote. They didn't have the right to vote.
So when we saw that we were up against a hopeless battle internally, we saw the necessity of getting allies at the world level or from abroad, from all over the world. And so immediately we realized that as long as the struggle was a civil rights struggle, was under the jurisdiction of the United States, we would have no real allies or real support.
We decided that the only way to make the problem rise to the level where we could get world support was to take it away from the civil rights label, and put in the human rights label.
It is not an accident that the struggle of the Black man in this country for the past ten or fifteen years has been
called a struggle for civil rights. Because as long as you're struggling for civil rights, what you are doing is asking these racist segregationists who control Washington, D.C. — and they control Washington, D.C., they control the federal government through these committees — as long as this thing is a civil rights struggle, you are asking it at a level where your so-called benefactor is actually someone from the worst part of this country. You can only go forward to the degree that they let you.
But when you get involved in a struggle for human rights, it's completely out of the jurisdiction of the United States government. You take it to the United Nations. And any problem that is taken to the United Nations, the United States has no say on it whatsoever. Because in the UN she only has one vote, and in the UN the largest bloc of votes is African; the continent of Africa has the largest bloc of votes of any continent on this earth. And the continent of Africa, coupled with the Asian bloc and the Arab bloc, comprises over two-thirds of the UN forces, and they're the dark nations. That's the only court that you can go to today and get your own people, the people who look like you, on your side — the United Nations.
This could have been done fifteen years ago. It could have been done nineteen years ago. But they tricked us. They got ahold of our leaders and used our leaders to lead us right back to their courts, knowing that they control their courts. So the leaders look like they're leading us against an enemy, but when you analyze the struggle that we've been involved in for the past fifteen years, the good or the progress that we've made is actually disgraceful. We should be ashamed to even use the word "progress" in the context of our struggle.
So there has been a move on — and I will conclude in a moment — there has been a move on to keep the Negro thinking in this country that he was making strides in the civil rights field, only for the purpose of distracting him and not letting him know that were he to acquaint himself with the structure of the United Nations and the
politics of the United Nations, the aim and the purpose of the United Nations, he could lift his problem into that world body. And he'd have the strongest stick in the world that he could use against the racists in Mississippi.
But one of the arguments against getting you and me to do this has always been that our problem is a domestic problem of the United States. And as such, we should not think to put it at a level where somebody else can come and mess with United States domestic affairs. But you're giving Uncle Sam a break. Uncle Sam's got his hands in the Congo, in Cuba, in South America, in Saigon. Uncle Sam has got his bloody hands in every continent and in everybody else's business on this earth. But at the same time, when it comes to taking forceful action in this country where our rights are concerned, he's always going to tell you and me, "Well, these are states' rights." Or he'll make some kind of off-the-wall alibi that's not a bona fide alibi — not because it's an alibi, but to justify his inactivity where your and my rights are concerned.
We were successful when we realized that we had to bring this to the United Nations. We knew that we had to get support, we had to get world support, and that the most logical part of the world to look in for support is among people who look just like you and me.
Ghana, May 1964
I was fortunate to be able to take a tour of the African continent during the summer — the Middle East and Africa. I went to Egypt, then to Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, and then to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Algeria. I found while I was traveling on the African continent — I had already detected it in May — that someone has very shrewdly planted the seeds of division on this continent to make the Africans not show genuine concern with our problem, just as they plant seeds in your and my minds so that we won't show concern with the African problem. They try and make you and me think that we're separate, and the two problems are separate.
When I went back this time and traveled to those different
countries, I was fortunate enough to spend an hour and a half with Nasser in Egypt, which is a North African country; and three hours with President Nyerere in Tanganyika, which has now become Tanzania, which is an East African country; and with Prime Minister Obote, Milton Obote, in Uganda, which is also an East African country; and with Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya, which is another East African country; and with President Azikiwe in Nigeria, President Nkrumah in Ghana, and President Sékou Touré in Guinea.
I found that in every one of these African countries, the head of state is genuinely concerned with the problem of the Black man in this country, but many of them thought that if they opened their mouths and voiced concern, that they would be insulted by the American Negro leaders. Because one head of state in Asia voiced his support of the civil rights struggle and a couple of the Big Six had the audacity to slap his face and say they weren't interested in that kind of help — which in my opinion is asinine. So that the African leaders only had to be convinced that if they took an open stand at the governmental level and showed interest in the problem of Black people in this country, that they wouldn't be rebuffed.
And today you'll find in the United Nations — and it's not an accident — that every time the Congo question or anything on the African continent is being debated in the Security Council, they couple it with what's going on, or what is happening to you and me, in Mississippi and Alabama and these other places.
"In my opinion, the greatest accomplishment that was made in the struggle of the Black man in America in 1964 toward some kind of real progress was the successful linking together of our problem with the African problem, or making our problem a world problem."
In my opinion, the greatest accomplishment that was made in the struggle of the Black man in America in 1964 toward some kind of real progress was the successful linking together of our problem with the African problem, or making our problem a world problem. Because now, whenever anything happens to you in Mississippi, it's not a case of just somebody in Alabama getting indignant, or somebody in New York getting indignant. Whatever happens in Mississippi today, with the attention of the African nations drawn
toward Mississippi at a governmental level, then the same repercussions that you see all over the world when an imperialist or foreign power interferes in some section of Africa, you see repercussions, you see the embassies being bombed and burned and overturned. Nowadays, when something happens to Black people in Mississippi, you will see the same repercussions all over the world.
I wanted to point this out to you, because it is important for you to know that when you're in Mississippi you're not alone. But as long as you think you're alone, then you take a stand as if you're a minority or as if you're out-numbered, and that kind of stand will never enable you to win a battle. You've got to know that you've got as much power on your side as that Ku Klux Klan has on its side. And when you know that you've got just as much power on your side as the Klan has on its side, you'll talk the same kind of language with that Klan as that Klan is talking with you.
I'll say one more thing, and then I'll conclude.
When I say the same kind of language, I should explain what I mean. See, you can never get good relations with anybody that you can't communicate with. You can never have good relations with anybody that doesn't understand you. There has to be an understanding. Understanding is brought about through dialogue. Dialogue is communication of ideas. This can only be done in a language, a common language. You can never talk French to somebody who speaks only German and think you're communicating. Neither of them — they don't get the point. You have to be able to speak a man's language in order to make him get the point.
Now, you've lived in Mississippi long enough to know what the language of the Ku Klux Klan is. They only know one language. If you come up with another language, you don't communicate. You've got to be able to speak the same language they speak, whether you're in Mississippi, New York City, or Alabama, or California, or anywhere else. When you develop or mature to the point
where you can speak another man's language on his level, that man gets the point. That's the only time he gets the point. You can't talk peace to a person who doesn't know what peace means. You can't talk love to a person who doesn't know what love means. And you can't talk any form of nonviolence to a person who doesn't believe in nonviolence. Why, you're wasting your time.
So I think in 1965 — whether you like it, or I like it, or we like it, or they like it, or not — you will see that there is a generation of Black people born in this country who become mature to the point where they feel that they have no more business being asked to take a peaceful approach than anybody else takes, unless everybody's going to take a peaceful approach. So we here in the Organization of Afro-American Unity, we're with the struggle in Mississippi 1,000 percent. We're with the efforts to register our people in Mississippi to vote 1,000 percent. But we do not go along with anybody telling us to help nonviolently. We think if the government says that Negroes have a right to vote, and then when Negroes go out to vote some kind of Ku Klux Klan is going to put them in the river, and the government doesn't do anything about it, it's time for us to organize and band together and equip ourselves and qualify ourselves to protect ourselves [applause]. And once you can protect yourself, you don't have to worry about being hurt. That's it [applause].
So we're going to have a few minutes now for you to ask questions on all that that has been said, and all that that hasn't been said.
Could you please say something on the Freedom Democratic Party?
Yes. We support the Freedom Democratic
Party. We have a statement that we're making in support. We had a rally last Sunday night — no, a week ago Sunday night, to which we invited Mrs. Hamer. She spoke and explained the position of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and we support it. To give you an example of why we support this, it has as much effect on New York City as it does in Mississippi.
But by the same token, I must point out that those who are depriving you of your rights in Mississippi aren't all in Mississippi. You got these New York Democrats [who] are just as much responsible. The mayor of this city is a Democrat. The senator, you've heard of him, Robert Kennedy, he's a Democrat. The president of the country is a Democrat. The vice president is a Democrat. Now don't you tell me anything about a Democrat in Mississippi who is depriving you of your rights, when the power of the Democratic Party is in Washington, D.C., and in New York City, and in Chicago, and some of these northern cities.
When you put the power or the pressure upon these people who walk around here posing as liberals —
In New York City Negroes can already vote.
When you make known in the city of New York the position of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and why it was necessary to form that party, and what that party is trying to do toward ousting these illegal representatives from Mississippi, then the Negroes in New York City know what it's all about. We want to know, where does [Mayor Robert] Wagner stand, since he's one of the most powerful and influential leaders of the Democratic Party in the United States. And we want to know where the senator, Robert Kennedy, stands, since he's also one of the most powerful and influential leaders of the Democratic Party in the United States. And we've got a Negro [J. Raymond Jones] who's the assistant to the mayor in this city. We want to know where he stands. Plus you got Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, who professes
to drool at the mouth over Negroes, to let you know where they stand before January 4.
When you get that kind of action off some of these northern Democrats, then you'll get some action in Mississippi. You don't have to worry about that man in Mississippi. The power of the Democratic Party are these people up here who hold all the power in the North.
"If you were born in this country, nobody's doing you any favor when they let you vote... They're only recognizing you as a human being and recognizing your right as a human being to exercise your right as a citizen. So they're not doing you any favors."
So we're with you, but we want to go all the way.
See, as a Muslim, I don't get my religion involved in my politics, because they clash. They don't clash, but when you go into something as a Muslim, you've got a whole lot of Negroes who are Christians, who aren't broad-minded enough, so you get into a religious argument, and it doesn't pay.
So I don't enter into this struggle as a Muslim, inasmuch as I enter into it as a member of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. And the stand that the Organization of Afro-American Unity takes is that we get into it without compromising.
You compromise when you're wrong. You don't have to compromise when you're right. Why, you're right. They're not giving you something. This is yours. If you were born in this country, nobody's doing you any favor when they let you vote or when they let you register. They're only recognizing you as a human being and recognizing your right as a human being to exercise your right as a citizen. So they're not doing you any favors.
As long as you approach this thing like somebody has done you a favor, or that you're dealing with a friend, you never can fight that fight. Because when they deal with you, they're not dealing with you like they're dealing with a friend. They look at you like you're an enemy. Now you have to look at them just as if they're an enemy. And once you know what it is you're dealing with, you can deal with that thing. But you can't deal with them with love. Why, man, if there was any love with them, if there was any love in them, you wouldn't have any fight in Mississippi. There's no love there. You have to realize that there's no
love there, and then you don't be looking for it, and go ahead and fight them.
When you go to vote or register and someone gets in your way, you're supposed to answer them in the same way that they answer you. When you answer them that way, you get a little dialogue. And if you don't have enough of them down there to do it, we'll come down there and help you do it. Because we are tired of this old runaround that our people have been given in this country.
For a long time they accused me of not getting involved in politics. They should've been glad I didn't get involved in politics, because anything I get in, I'm in it all the way. Now if they say that we don't take part in the Mississippi struggle, we will organize brothers here in New York who know how to handle these kinds of affairs, and they'll slip into Mississippi like Jesus slipped into Jerusalem [laughter and applause].
This doesn't mean that we're against white people, but we sure are against the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens' Councils. Anything that looks like it's against us, we're against it.
Excuse me for raising my voice, but this thing, you know, it gets me upset. Even being involved in a discussion in a country that's supposed to be a democracy. Imagine that, in a country that's supposed to be a democracy, supposed to be for freedom and all of that kind of stuff that they tell you when they want to draft you and put you in the army and send you to Saigon to fight for them. And then you've got to turn around and all night long discuss how you're going to just get a right to register and vote without being murdered. Why, that's the most hypocritical governmental half-truth that has ever been invented since the world was the world.
The question I have is what does the Afro-American Unity do?
First, Afro-American means us.
I know what it means, I just want to know: What does it do?
How do you mean?
What kind of struggles, what does it do?
Well, first, it was patterned after the OAU. The OAU is the Organization of African Unity. And the reason we patterned our organization after theirs was they had trouble on the African continent similar to ours. Meaning that there were many independent countries that were so divided against each other that they couldn't come together in a united effort and resolve any of their problems. So some of the more mature African politicians were able to work behind the scenes and get a common understanding, out of which materialized the Organization of African Unity, the purpose of which was to get all African leaders to see the necessity of de-emphasizing their areas of disagreement and emphasizing their areas of agreement, where they had common interests.
This led to the Organization of African Unity being formed, and today they work together in unity and harmony, although there are diverse philosophies, diverse personalities. All of these differences exist; still they can unite together for a common objective.
So studying their problems, and seeing that their problems were similar to ours, we formed ours after the letter and spirit of that OAU, only with an OAAU.
Our first objective is — our first step was to find an area of agreement among Afro-Americans. We found that you have the nationalists, you have the civil rights groups, you have all these diverse elements in the Black community. Some want separation, some want integration; some want this, some want that. So how are you going to find something that they all agree upon? You won't find the nationalists agree on civil rights, because they think it's a farce. You won't find the nationalists agree on integration, because they think it's a farce. They haven't seen anyplace where it has ever materialized. It's only a word, something that's played around, kicked around.
So we had to find something that both the nationalists and the integrationists would agree upon. And we found that all of them would agree on the necessity of our people in this country being respected and recognized as human beings. So instead of launching our struggle at the civil rights level that would cause a whole lot of argument, we launched it at the human rights level. And we know that anybody that's for civil rights has got to be for human rights, whether you're an integrationist or a separationist or what you are; you still have to be for human rights.
"God makes you a human being, and God is the one who gives you your human rights, not a government... We are human beings, and our fight is to see that every Black man, woman, and child in this country is respected and recognized as a human being."
So our first platform was that we recognized the right of the Black man in the Western Hemisphere to exercise his right as a human being. Rights that he was born with, rights that no government has the power to give him. God makes you a human being, and God is the one who gives you your human rights, not a government, or some senators, or a judge, or some representatives. And so this is our stand. We are human beings, and our fight is to see that every Black man, woman, and child in this country is respected and recognized as a human being.
Our method is: any means necessary. That's our motto. We're not restricted to this, or confined to that. We reserve the right to use any means necessary to protect our humanity, or to make the world see that they respect us as human beings. Any means necessary.
When I say that, I don't mean anything illegal. The government — You're being treated criminally. The criminal is the one who's illegal. The one who's responsible for these criminal conditions, he's a criminal, he's illegal. And whatever you've got to do to stop this crime from being committed against you, as far as I'm concerned you're not illegal.
So that's our first step at the international level. And politically, we devise and support any program that's designed to give the Black man in this country an opportunity to participate as a citizen, a free citizen, in this political system and in this society. We will involve ourselves in programs of our own, or in anyone else's programs,
as long as it doesn't involve any kind of compromise in its approach to getting our people in this country the rights to register and to vote in whichever direction they desire to.
The voter registration?
How important is it?
We ourselves have our own voter registration drive in the areas where we are, plus we work with other civil rights groups who also have voter registration drives.
No. Not as yet. . . . [Inaudible] keep it, what's the word, keep it to ourselves, we would keep it confidential. We will never let you know how many members we have.
I'm not asking that.
I learned that. I'm giving you some light without you asking. That's one thing I learned in the Black Muslim movement that I found most important: never let anybody know what they're dealing with — its size, its strength, its nothing. The reason for that is, I found, if you're in the jungle or in the woods and you hear something rustling in the bush, you don't know what kind of gun to reach for until you know what's making that noise. Because you might pull out a rabbit gun for an elephant, or you might pull out an elephant gun for a rabbit, and you look foolish either way. It's not good to ever let too much of what you are come out above the ground. The most important part of the tree is the roots, and the roots always remain beneath the ground. That's where the tree gets its life. And the tree dies only when you put those roots up where the light is and it dries up.
So our membership — its nature, its caliber, its content, all of that — we keep it to ourselves. But you see here and there, wherever you find dissatisfied Negroes, if they're not our blood brothers, they're at least some relatives,
some relation. If we're not blood brothers, we're at least related.
We obviously can't say —
You from Mississippi too?
No, I'm not.
I didn't think so [laughter]. Keep on asking.
Obviously you can't say what you do. I just was wondering what kind of —
It's not a case of I can't say what we do. I told you that we involve ourselves in our own programs to get our people registered, as registered voters in this area and wherever else we are. And we work with any other group that's trying to get our people registered so that they can vote. This is in this political area or in the area of politics. Now what else did you want to know, since you don't seem to be satisfied?
Well, maybe. Do you think —
No, if that's not clear, ask me. I mean, if I didn't clarify your question, go ahead and dig into it a little deeper.
No, I think that man from the other . . . [Inaudible] don't vote either, which makes it look like —
This is true, which shows you that the reluctance on the part of the Negro to vote isn't always because they don't have the right to. The political history of our people in this country has been that usually you have political machines in most states and in most cities. And they select, as a rule, not Black people to run in the Black community who are intellectually capable to deal with politics as it is, but puppets that serve as their mouthpiece to control the politics of the community. The Black people in Harlem have witnessed this thing year in and year out and have seen how the politics of Harlem and other Negro communities have been pretty much controlled from outside.
So it's not that they're politically lethargic or dead, but they purposely have abstained. But when you give them
something to point toward, or vote for, you'll find that they'll be just as active as they've been inactive.
Malcolm X being interviewed by
Tuskegee Institute Campus
Digest in Tuskegee, Alabama,
on 3 February 1965.
It's the purpose of the OAAU to work among that element of inactive Black people, who have been politically inactive in this area. We intend to charge them and get them active out here, so that we can get a little action. Because those are the real activists. Those who haven't been involved in politics actively are the ones who get involved in physical action. They have not seen anything that's good be made to materialize through politics in the past, so they didn't resort to politics. They resorted to things physical, to methods physical, if you understand what I mean.
What we intend to do is try and harness their energy by giving them an understanding of politics, first. Because we don't think that anybody should get us registered as voters and not at the same time give us some education in regards to politics. We don't think that a voter registration program on its own is sufficient. But in line with any voter registration program among Negroes, there must be a voter education program to make our people enlightened in regards to the science of politics, so that they will know what politics is supposed to produce and what the politician is supposed to produce, what his responsibilities are. And then we can't be exploited.
But if you just get Negroes out here and register them, then what you're going to have are more Negroes whose political energy can be exploited by the big city political machines. We don't think that that will ever solve our problems. There has to be voter education as well as voter registration. Most of the Negro politicians don't want this, because those who have been politicians haven't really been trying to solve our problems, inasmuch as they've been getting the handouts from the machine for keeping us in check. When the people realize that, the people wake up.
One of the reasons, if I may add, that Negroes haven't been actively involved in politics is, when the Negro —
leader — when Negroes go out to try and make other Negroes get registered to vote, they have the wrong motives, usually — especially the politicians. The young students who are doing it today are a little different. But the politician, when he tries to get you registered to vote, he's not interested in making you enlightened so you can vote. He wants you to stay in the dark but register. Then maybe you'll vote for him, or vote for his party, or vote for what he's got going for him. He's not even interested in your condition. And this is why you find Negroes in Harlem haven't gotten involved.
But don't think that they can't get involved. You can get as many Negroes interested politically in Harlem overnight, but you've got to give him something, give him something that he will see will materialize. And I think that our people in this area are ready.
Well, there wouldn't have to be necessarily any particular party to make them have something to look forward to, especially up around here. It takes something else to make these people in Harlem feel that they have something to look forward to.
[Inaudible, asks about "political pressure" in Harlem]
No, not particularly. Although, the only real power in this government is politics — and money. The only thing that people recognize is power and money. Power — that's all they recognize. That's why I say, in Mississippi you can love all you want. They don't recognize love, they recognize power. Power. You can love, look how long you've been loving, that's proof of it. You've been loving them like a blind —
It's not love —
Yeah, I understand, but — [laughter]
Don't let love . . . [Inaudible]
Brother, I will read the breakdown. You know, in various counties [in Mississippi] now, you got more Negroes than you got whites. Negroes outnumber
the whites. And you see, freedom comes only two ways. There's only two ways that a person gets freedom: either by the ballot or by bullets.
[Inaudible, asks about "the riot you had here"]
It wasn't a riot. That was a pogrom. You know what a pogrom is? How do you say that? Pogrom. Pogrom is what it was. Pogrom. That wasn't any riot, that was a pogrom. That was the police heaping brutality upon the people of the area. It was a set-up.
[Inaudible] . . . Could I ask you, what was actually accomplished by this so-called riot?
It wasn't a riot. There was a rumor passed on to us in May that the police in New York during the summer were going to try and provoke trouble, so that they could step in and crush the organizing and growth of militant groups that they were afraid, if they were allowed to grow, would get to the size that they could never be controlled.
If you study the characteristics of that so-called riot, every action on the part of the police in Harlem was designed to draw out groups that they felt were equipped and ready to do this thing. The tactics that the police used were designed to draw fire back. They were firing guns at people who didn't have guns. But they were firing to get somebody to fight, to shoot back. The police know you got just as many guns in Harlem as there are in Saigon right now. But none of the groups in Harlem that were equipped and qualified to strike back got involved. None of them got involved.
But the whole thing was set up to try and get them involved, so that they could be crushed while they were still in their embryonic, so-called embryonic stage. As you said, it goes beyond the Mississippi situation. But all of our problems are the same: wrong color.
Whether it was the COFO?
Any program that's designed to get our people registered is good, especially in Mississippi. Because our people in Mississippi outnumber — there's a greater percentage of our people in the state of Mississippi than there is, probably, in any other state. If the people in Mississippi did have voting rights, what's his name — [Sen. James] Eastland — wouldn't be in Washington, D.C. None of those powerful senators and congressmen who control the committees in Washington, D.C., would be there.
So any effort on the part of any group that gets our people in the state of Mississippi registered, that's good. But my only criticism is sending people on the front lines against well-armed enemies and telling them, "Don't fight." Why, that's insane. I can't go along with that. No.
When those three brothers were murdered down there, it was a drag, it's been a drag on the part of the civil rights groups, the way they've just taken that thing so easy. Hardly nothing has happened. They're telling everybody to be patient, be loving and long-suffering when the whole world is on your side. If you went on the rampage in Mississippi, wouldn't nobody hold it against you. Because the whole world knows that the people down there are the worst things on this earth.
So we go for the operation, but we don't go for sending anybody to a front line and telling them, don't protect themselves. No. Then, after one of your soldiers gets killed, everybody says, well, you're supposed to keep on loving anyway? No, I can't go along with that.
That's what split the Muslim movement. That's what caused the Black Muslim movement to be split. Some of our brothers got hurt and nothing was done about it. Those of us who wanted to do something about it were kept from doing something about it. So we split.
No, I don't go along with any kind of action that ties up my hands and then put me in the ring with Sonny Liston
or Cassius Clay [laughter]. No, don't tie my hands, unless you're going to tie up their hands too. Then it's fair.
You don't see the white man sending his people to war somewhere and tying up their hands. No, and if those two hadn't been white, you wouldn't even have known that that happened in Mississippi, because they kill Negroes in Mississippi every day. Ever since we've been here.
I was over in Africa, brother, while all that was going on. And I read about it and I know that it tore the Africans up. Tore 'em up. Why, if you had thrown bombs right and left in Mississippi, you'd have had the world on your side.
I'm not telling you to throw bombs. I'm just telling you what would happen [laughter]. If I told you that, if somebody started throwing bombs around here tomorrow, they'd blame me, put the blame on me. They would never give me credit, but they'd put the blame on me.
Only from Mississippi.
"You tell me why a Black man in this society has to wait on the Supreme Court and a white man doesn't have to wait on the Supreme Court. Yet both of them are men. ... You tell why you need a presidential proclamation to get respect and recognition, and a white man doesn't need it, if we're both men. I'll tell you why: we're not both men."
Questions. Are you from Mississippi? Are there any other questions?
I hope that you don't think that I'm trying to incite you. But look here, just look at yourselves. Some of you all are teenagers, students. Now how do you think I feel — and I belong to a generation ahead of you — how do you think I feel having to tell you, "We, my generation, sat around like a knot on the wall while the whole world was actually fighting for what were its human rights" — and you've got to be born into a society where you still have that same fight. What did we do, who preceded you? I'll tell what we did: nothing. And don't you make the same mistake we made.
You tell me why a Black man in this society has to wait on the Supreme Court and a white man doesn't have to wait on the Supreme Court. Yet both of them are men.
You tell me why the Congress and the Senate have got to make a Black man a human being, and the same Congress and Senate don't have to make a white man a human being, if they're both men. You tell me why you need a presidential proclamation to get respect and recognition, and a white man doesn't need it, if we're both men. I'll tell you why: we're not both men. A man will die and fight for what is his right. And if he doesn't, if he's not ready to fight and die for what is his right, he's not a man. That's the only way you can look at it. And when you begin to look like you're going to . . . [Inaudible] you get what belongs to a man.
But as long as you sit around here waiting on some court that is headed by a Ku Klux Klan judge, or waiting on a Senate that's controlled by a Ku Klux Klan senator, or a Congress that's controlled by a White Citizens' Council congressman, or a White House that's got just as much Klan influence in it as any other part of the country, why, no, you'll never be respected as a human being.
I must say this: I was in Africa, I was in Kenya. Five years ago, one of the men in Africa who had the worst image was Kenyatta. They tried to make you and me think that Kenyatta, Jomo Kenyatta, was a monster. I met Kenyatta. I flew from Tanganyika to Zanzibar to Kenya with Kenyatta, and everybody respects him. He's known there as the father of the country. The white man respects him and the Black man respects him. Five years ago they said he was a leader of the Mau Mau. And they tried to make him appear to be a monster. As long as he didn't have his own independence, he was a monster.
But today Kenyatta is so highly respected it's not an accident that when the brothers in Stanleyville had all these hostages in the Congo, and they wanted to try and save them, who did they choose to moderate the conference that took place between Ambassador Atwood and Tom Kanza in Nairobi? Jomo Kenyatta. The same man that this government and this society was labeling as a monster five years ago, now they turn to him when statesmanship is needed. He had a negative image five years ago because he wouldn't compromise. He was bringing freedom to his people by any means necessary. Now that his people have gotten their freedom, he's respected. And this is the only way you'll get it. You get freedom by not being confined. You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you'll do anything to get your freedom. You'll get it. It's the only way you'll get it. Then, when you get that kind of attitude, they'll label you as a "crazy Negro," or they'll call you a "crazy nigger" — they don't say Negro. They say, "That nigger's crazy." Or they'll call you an extremist or they'll call you a subversive, or seditious, or a Red, or a radical. But when you stay radical long enough, and get enough people to be just like you, you'll get your freedom. Then, after you get your freedom, they'll talk about what a great person you are, just like they do with Kenyatta. So if Lumumba had lived long enough and consolidated the Congo, they'd talk about him like a great person, because he'd be free and independent.
So don't you run around here trying to make friends with somebody who's depriving you of your rights. They're not your friends. No, they're your enemies. Treat them like that and fight them, and you'll get your freedom. And after you get your freedom, your enemy will respect you [applause]. He will respect you.
I say that with no hate. I have no hate in me. I have no hate at all. I don't have any hate. But I've got some sense [laughter]. I think I've got some sense. I'm not going to let somebody who hates me tell me to love him. I'm not that way-out. And you, young as you are, and because you start thinking, you're not going to do it either. The only time you're going to get in that kind of bag is if somebody puts you in there, somebody else, who doesn't have your welfare at heart.
[Inaudible comment from audience]
Ah yes, I'm going to explain it. I'm just going to take five more minutes, because Sharon Jackson reminded me of something which I think is very important. It's why at the beginning I mentioned, when I was on this plane, how I rode right next to this man and woman for an hour, and they didn't have the slightest idea who I was, because they were looking for somebody with horns. Usually white people think anybody who is not going to be cool and calm under their extreme brutality has got horns. So this is done by image making. People who make images use images to make you hate their enemies and love your own. No: hate their friends and love their enemies. They use images to do this.
One place they've done it is in the Congo. The Congo is where they told me and you we came from. All my life, when I was a little boy, they said we came out of Africa, and they made believe we came out of the Congo, because that was supposed to be the most savage part of Africa. So you know, we're probably more closely related to the brothers in the Congo than anybody else. And when you hear them talking about cannibals, they're talking about our cousins, about our brothers, you know. If you really want to believe it. But they aren't any more cannibalistic in the Congo than they are in the downtown, there in the Village. There's some real cannibals down there in the Village [laughter]. They'll be eating up anything, you know [laughter].
In this country what they try and make it appear is that the people in the Congo are savages. And they do this very skillfully in order to justify their being over there.
"How can you justify dropping a bomb on a village...? You don't need to drop a bomb on a village that doesn't even have rifles in it. But it shows you their complete lack of concern for life when that life is clothed in a black skin. "
Now when I was in Tanganyika, Dar es Salaam — I think it was in October — some American Negroes, Afro-Americans who live in Dar es Salaam, came to me and told me about this Congolese who was cussing them out. And I asked them, why . . . [Gap in tape]
. . . African village. Now you know a village has no air force. A village has no defense against bombs that are being dropped on it. And the pilot in the plane can't tell who the bomb is being dropped upon. It's just being dropped on a village.
So here you have American airplanes being flown by what they call "anti-Castro Cuban, American-trained pilots." Now you see how slick they are. The reason they say "American-trained pilots" is to make you automatically
side with them, because they are American-trained. The reason they say they are anti-Castro Cuban pilots is because Castro's already a monster, and if somebody links these people, that they're against Castro, then whoever else they're against, it's all right. It's what you call a journalistic, psychological trick on your mind. So now you have airplanes that are dropping bombs on Black women, Black children, and Black babies, blowing them to bits in the Congo. They justify it by making it appear to be a humanitarian project. And they get big Negroes in this country to talk to you and tell you that America is justified in doing it. You show me a big Negro and usually he's their big Negro. And his job is to make you and me think that no matter how much atrocity they are committing, that they are right. And they do it with these tricks.
How can you justify dropping a bomb on a village — not a civilization that has all the weapons of warfare, but a village? You don't need to drop a bomb on a village that doesn't even have rifles in it. But it shows you their complete lack of concern for life when that life is clothed in a black skin.
To show you again how merciless they are. They take Tshombe. Tshombe is a Black man, but he's a murderer. He murdered this man called Patrice Lumumba, in cold blood. And this government took Tshombe away from Spain. And this government did do it, because I know people who can tell you how certain high members of this country's State Department got on board a plane with a certain African leader and flew all the way almost to his country, trying to get this African leader to use his influence on other African leaders to make Tshombe acceptable to the people of the African continent. And this happened almost a year before they brought Tshombe back down — to show you what a plot, what a conspiracy that they're involved in.
And here Tshombe is a killer, a murderer — of Patrice Lumumba. They put him over the government in
Léopoldville, and then they used the press to give him an image of acceptability by saying he's the only one that can restore peace to the Congo. Imagine this, he's a murderer. It's like saying Jesse James is the only one can run the bank. Therefore you should let Jesse James run the bank; and the only reason the bank is in trouble is because Jesse James already was in the bank [laughter].
So just to go one step farther. They take Tshombe and give him enough money to go to South Africa and bring white mercenaries, hired killers, in to fight for him. A mercenary is someone who kills for pay. He doesn't kill because he's patriotic. He doesn't kill because he's loyal. He kills anything in sight for pay, and this is what America is using your tax dollars to support: a Black murderer who hires white murderers to shoot down his own people. Because America knows if she went in and did it, the world wouldn't go along with her.
And then, when these white murderers are heaping so much butchery upon the people in the Oriental province of the Congo, the brothers in the Oriental province are forced to start using some of the methods to keep these white mercenaries and white hired killers from wiping them out. So they shoot hostages. The only reason they held hostages was to keep America's mercenaries from dropping bombs on them. It's the only thing they could do. They held the hostages not because they were cannibals. And they didn't eat people like they're trying to say in the newspapers. Why would they wait to this late date to eat some white meat, when they been over there all those years? And they went in there at a time when they were probably more tasty than they are in times like this. [Malcolm laughs]
At the time the hostages were being held, the American government — rather the Congolese government from Stanleyville — sent an emissary, Tom Kanza, their foreign minister, to Kenya, and he was negotiating with Atwood, the ambassador to Kenya from America, at a meeting which Kenyatta was mediating. And at the time that this
was going on, it was then that America dropped the paratroopers in Stanleyville. At no time did the Africans or the Congolese in any way harm any white hostages until those paratroopers were dropped. And I think it's America that harmed more than one. If they were savages, there wouldn't have been a white hostage seen. How are you going to come out of the sky and save some hostages that are already in my hands, when I've got some machine guns? No. If you save some, it means that I'm human and I treated them in a humane way, because I didn't wipe them all out when I see your airplane coming.
So this old stuff you hear about the government trying to make you think that their being in the Congo is something humanitarian — it's the most criminal operation that has ever been carried on by a so-called civilized government since history was recorded!
The United States was the one responsible there. And you will find that she will suffer over there, because the only way she can hold Tshombe in power is to send in more white troops. The Black troops don't fight for Tshombe. He needs white troops. And there are too many Black troops fighting against those white troops for them to win, for the white ones to win, which means more whites will have to be added to it and added to it and added to it.
And first thing you know they'll be hung up in the same kind of situation that they got themselves bogged down in in South Vietnam right now. Because all the African nations combined will fight there in the Congo.
Speaking to young mili-
tants in Brown Chapel AME
Church, Selma, Alabama,
4 Feb. 1965, during voter
You don't need a whole lot of heavy war machinery to fight a war nowadays. All you need is some darkness and a little lighting equipment [laughter]. That equalizes things.
We got about three more minutes. Three more minutes.
Well, I want to thank all of you for taking the time to come to Harlem and especially here. I hope that you have gotten a better understanding of us. I put it to you just as plain as I know how to put it; there's no interpretation necessary. And I want you to know that we're not in any
way trying to advocate any kind of indiscriminate, unintelligent action. But we will go along with you in any kind of intelligent action that you are involved in to protect the lives and property of our people in this country. Any kind of action that you're ever involved in that's designed to protect the lives and the property of our mistreated people in this country, we're with you 1,000 percent. And if you don't feel that you are qualified to do it, we have some brothers who will slip in, as I said earlier, and help train you and show you how to equip yourself in such a manner to deal with these people who need to be dealt with.
And before you dismiss, let me see one of those. . . . [Inaudible] I would like to read you this — it's brief — before you leave. It says:
"We applaud the efforts of James Farmer and the other civil rights groups to block the seating of the five illegal representatives from Mississippi when Congress convenes on January 4. We are pleased to see that Mr. Farmer and his civil rights colleagues are so dead earnest in backing the election challenges that have been initiated by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. As chairman of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, I want to state emphatically that we support all uncompromising efforts made by all well-meaning people to unseat the illegal representatives from the state of Mississippi and any other area where our people are denied the right to vote simply because they have been born with dark skin.
We also insist that since over 97 percent of the Black Americans supported Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Robert Kennedy, and the Democratic Party in the recent elections, which is the most overwhelming support given by any minority group to one party and its candidates, I am challenging Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Robert Kennedy, to declare exactly where they stand on the seating of these illegal representatives from Mississippi before January 4.
And they should state their case.
We applaud the lead that has been taken by New York representative William Fitts Ryan in blocking the seating of these Mississippi congressmen, and the firm stand taken at his side by Adam Clayton Powell. Since Mayor Wagner will be in Harlem later this year to obtain the political support of our people in order to remain in City Hall, I challenge Mayor Wagner and his chief assistant, J. Jones, also to let nearly one and a half million Black Americans in New York City know where they stand on the plan to seat illegal representatives before January 4.
I, for one, along with some friends, plan to be in Washington on January 4 as an observer. We wish to witness and record the stand taken by the so-called liberals, who are seekers of our people's political support at poll time, for we plan to be 100 percent active in all political areas from 1965 onward." [applause]
So I thank you and I hope to see you in Mississippi myself in January.
Thank you. [applause]