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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February 2005, 18:46 GMT
Malcolm X: Key quotes
The following are some of Malcolm X's most famous quotes:

Malcolm X
"Our motto is by any means necessary...

"I just don't believe that when people are being unjustly oppressed that they should let someone else set rules for them by which they can come out from under that oppression.

"So we reserve the right to do anything necessary to bring a halt to this unjust condition from which our people are suffering in that country - anything - any means..."

"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."

"Message to the Grass Roots" November 1963, Detroit

"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" November 1963, Detroit

"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, 3 April 1964, Cleveland, Ohio

"It was, as I saw it, a case of 'the chickens coming home to roost.' I said that the hate in white men had not stopped with the killing of defenseless black people, but that hate, allowed to spread unchecked, had finally struck down this country's Chief Magistrate."

On the assassination of John F Kennedy

"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."

Malcolm X in a letter to a friend, in October 1964, voicing regret at having urged people to follow Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Some months before, Malcolm X had been suspended from the Nation of Islam; he had then announced that he was leaving the organisation and setting up two different groups, the Muslim Mosque, Inc., and the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

"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, 12 December 1964, New York City.

"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, 7 January 1965, New York City

"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."

Words spoken on 19 February 1965, two days before he was murdered

Misunderstanding Malcolm X
18 Feb 05 |  Americas
How Malcolm X's letters were saved
08 Feb 05 |  Americas
Farrakhan in Malcolm X 'apology'
15 May 00 |  Americas


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