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  1. Members of the faculty and members of the student body of this great institution of learning; ladies and gentlemen. Now there are several things that one could talk about before such a large, concerned, and enlightened audience. There are so many problems facing our nation and our world, that one could just take off anywhere. But today I would like to talk mainly about the race problems since I'll have to rush right out and go to New York to talk about Vietnam tomorrow. and I've been talking about it a great deal this week and weeks before that. But I'd like to use a subject from which to speak this afternoon, the Other America. And I use this subject because there are literally two Americas. One America is beautiful for situation. And, in a sense, this America is overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of opportunity. This America is the habitat of millions of people who have food and material necessities for their bodies; and culture and education for their minds; and freedom and human dignity for their spirits. In this America, millions of people experience every day the opportunity of having life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in all of their dimensions. And in this America millions of young people grow up in the sunlight of opportunity. But tragically and unfortunately, there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that constantly transforms the ebulliency of hope into the fatigue of despair. In this America millions of work-starved men walk the streets daily in search for jobs that do not exist. In this America millions of people find themselves living in rat-infested, vermin-filled slums. In this America people are poor by the millions. They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. In a sense, the greatest tragedy of this other America is what it does to little children. Little children in this other America are forced to grow up with clouds of inferiority forming every day in their little mental skies. As we look at this other America, we see it as an arena of blasted hopes and shattered dreams. Many people of various backgrounds live in this other America. Some are Mexican Americans, some are Puerto Ricans, some are Indians, some happen to be from other groups. Millions of them are Appalachian whites. But probably the largest group in this other America in proportion to its size in the Population is the American Negro. The American Negro finds himself living in a triple ghetto. A ghetto of race, a ghetto of poverty, a ghetto of human misery. So what we are seeking to do in the Civil Rights Movement is to deal with this problem. To deal with this problem of the two Americas. We are seeking to make America one nation, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Now let me say that the struggle for Civil Rights and the struggle to make these two Americas one America, is much more difficult today than it was five or ten years ago. For about a decade or maybe twelve years, we've struggled all across the South in glorious struggles to get rid of legal, overt segregation and all of the humiliation that surrounded that system of segregation. In a sense this was a struggle for decency; we could not go to a lunch counter in so many instances and get a hamburger or a cup of coffee. We could not make use of public accommodations. Public transportation was segregated, and often we had to sit in the back and within transportation — transportation within cities — we often had to stand over empty seats because sections were reserved for whites only. We did not have the right to vote in so many areas of the South. And the struggle was to deal with these problems. And certainly they were difficult problems, they were humiliating conditions. By the thousands we protested these conditions. We made it clear that it was ultimately more honorable to accept jail cell experiences than to accept segregation and humiliation. By the thousands students and adults decided to sit in at segregated lunch counters to protest conditions there. When they were sitting at those lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream and seeking to take the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Many things were gained as a result of these years of struggle. In 1964 the Civil Rights Bill came into being after the Birmingham movement which did a great deal to subpoena the conscience of a large segment of the nation to appear before the judgment seat of morality on the whole question of Civil Rights. After the Selma movement in 1965 we were able to get a Voting Rights Bill. And all of these things represented strides. But we must see that the struggle today is much more difficult. It's more difficult today because we are struggling now for genuine equality. It's much easier to integrate a lunch counter than it is to guarantee a livable income and a good solid job. It's much easier to guarantee the right to vote than it is to guarantee the right to live in sanitary, decent housing conditions. It is much easier to integrate a public park than it is to make genuine, quality, integrated education a reality. And so today we are struggling for something which says we demand genuine equality. It's not merely a struggle against extremist behavior toward Negroes. And I'm convinced that many of the very people who supported us in the struggle in the South are not willing to go all the way now. I came to see this in a very difficult and painful way. In Chicago the last year where I've lived and worked. Some of the people who came quickly to march with us in Selma and Birmingham weren't active around Chicago. And I came to see that so many people who supported morally and even financially what we were doing in Birmingham and Selma, were really outraged against the extremist behavior of Bull Connor and Jim Clark toward Negroes, rather than believing in genuine equality for Negroes. And I think this is what we've gotta see now, and this is what makes the struggle much more difficult. So as a result of all of this, we see many problems existing today that are growing more difficult. It's something that is often overlooked, but Negroes generally live in worse slums today than 20 or 25 years ago. In the North schools are more segregated today than they were in 1954 when the Supreme Court's decision on desegregation was rendered. Economically the Negro Is worse off today than he was 15 and 20 years ago. And so the unemployment rate among Whites at one time was about the same as the unemployment rate among Negroes. But today the unemployment rate among Negroes is twice that of Whites. And the average income of the Negro is today 50% less than Whites. As we look at these problems we see them growing and developing every day. We see the fact that the Negro economically is facing a depression in his everyday life that is more staggering than the depression of the 30's. The unemployment rate of the nation as a whole is about 4%. Statistics would say from the Labor Department that among Negroes it's about 8.4%. But these are the persons who are in the labor market, who still go to employment agencies to seek jobs, and so they can be calculated. The statistics can be gotten because they are still somehow in the labor market. But there are hundreds of thousands of Negroes who have given up. They've lost hope. They've come to feel that life is a long and desolate corridor for them with no Exit sign, and so they no longer go to look for a job. There are those who would estimate that these persons, who are called the Discouraged Persons, these 6 or 7% in the Negro community, that means that unemployment among Negroes may well be 16%. Among Negro youth in some of our larger urban areas it goes to 30 and 40%. So you can see what I mean when I say that, in the Negro community, there is a major, tragic and staggering depression that we face in our everyday lives. Now the other thing that we've gotta come to see now that many of us didn't see too well during the last ten years — that is that racism is still alive in American society. And much more wide-spread than we realized. And we must see racism for what it is. It is a myth of the superior and the inferior race. It is the false and tragic notion that one particular group, one particular race is responsible for all of the progress, all of the insights in the total flow of history. And the theory that another group or another race is totally depraved, innately impure, and innately inferior. In the final analysis, racism is evil because its ultimate logic is genocide. Hitler was a sick and tragic man who carried racism to its logical conclusion. He ended up leading a nation to the point of killing about 6 million Jews. This is the tragedy of racism because its ultimate logic is genocide. If one says that I am not good enough to live next door to him; if one says that I am not good enough to eat at a lunch counter, or to have a good, decent job, or to go to school with him merely because of my race, he is saying consciously or unconsciously that I do not deserve to exist. To use a philosophical analogy here, racism is not based on some empirical generalization; it is based rather on an ontological affirmation. It is not the assertion that certain people are behind culturally or otherwise because of environmental conditions. It is the affirmation that the very being of a people is inferior. And this is the great tragedy of it. I submit that however unpleasant it is we must honestly see and admit that racism is still deeply rooted all over America. It is still deeply rooted in the North, and it's still deeply rooted in the South. And this leads me to say something about another discussion that we hear a great deal, and that is the so-called "white backlash". I would like to honestly say to you that the white backlash is merely a new name for an old phenomenon. It's not something that just came into being because of shouts of Black Power, or because Negroes engaged in riots in Watts, for instance. The fact is that the state of California voted a Fair Housing bill out of existence before anybody shouted Black Power, or before anybody rioted in Watts. It may well be that shouts of Black Power and riots in Watts and the Harlems and the other areas, are the consequences of the white backlash rather than the cause of them. What it is necessary to see is that there has never been a single solid monistic determined commitment on the part of the vast majority of white Americans on the whole question of Civil Rights and on the whole question of racial equality. This is something that truth impels all men of good will to admit. It is said on the Statue of Liberty that America is a home of exiles. It doesn't take us long to realize that America has been the home of its white exiles from Europe. But it has not evinced the same kind of maternal care and concern for its black exiles from Africa. It is no wonder that in one of his sorrow songs, the Negro could sing out, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child." What great estrangement, what great sense of rejection caused a people to emerge with such a metaphor as they looked over their lives. What I'm trying to get across is that our nation has constantly taken a positive step forward on the question of racial justice and racial equality. But over and over again at the same time, it made certain backward steps. And this has been the persistence of the so called white backlash. In 1863 the Negro was freed from the bondage of physical slavery. But at the same time, the nation refused to give him land to make that freedom meaningful. And at that same period America was giving millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant that America was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor that would make it possible to grow and develop, and refused to give that economic floor to its black peasants, so to speak. This is why Frederick Douglas could say that emancipation for the Negro was freedom to hunger, freedom to the winds and rains of heaven, freedom without roofs to cover their heads. He went on to say that it was freedom without bread to eat, freedom without land to cultivate. It was freedom and famine at the same time. But it does not stop there. In 1875 the nation passed a Civil Rights Bill and refused to enforce it. In 1964 the nation passed a weaker Civil Rights Bill and even to this day, that bill has not been totally enforced in all of its dimensions. The nation heralded a new day of concern for the poor, for the poverty stricken, for the disadvantaged. And brought into being a Poverty Bill and at the same time it put such little money into the program that it was hardly, and still remains hardly, a good skirmish against poverty. White politicians in suburbs talk eloquently against open housing, and in the same breath contend that they are not racist. And all of this, and all of these things tell us that America has been backlashing on the whole question of basic constitutional and God-given rights for Negroes and other disadvantaged groups for more than 300 years. So these conditions, existence of widespread poverty, slums, and of tragic conniptions in schools and other areas of life, all of these things have brought about a great deal of despair, and a great deal of desperation. A great deal of disappointment and even bitterness in the Negro communities. And today all of our cities confront huge problems. All of our cities are potentially powder kegs as a result of the continued existence of these conditions. Many in moments of anger, many in moments of deep bitterness engage in riots. Let me say as I've always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I'm still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impracticable for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way. But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation's summers of riots are caused by our nation's winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention. Now let me go on to say that if we are to deal with all of the problems that I've talked about, and if we are to bring America to the point that we have one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, there are certain things that we must do. The job ahead must be massive and positive. We must develop massive action programs all over the United States of America in order to deal with the problems that I have mentioned. Now in order to develop these massive action programs we've got to get rid of one or two false notions that continue to exist in our society. One is the notion that only time can solve the problem of racial injustice. I'm sure you've heard this idea. It is the notion almost that there is something in the very flow of time that will miraculously cure all evils. And I've heard this over and over again. There are those, and they are often sincere people, who say to Negroes and their allies In the white community, that we should slow up and just be nice and patient and continue to pray, and in a hundred or two hundred years the problem will work itself out because only time can solve the problem. I think there is an answer to that myth. And it is that time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I'm absolutely convinced that the forces of ill-will in our nation, the extreme rightists in our nation, have often used time much more effectively than the forces of good will. And it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words of the bad people and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say wait on time. Somewhere we must come to see that social progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated Individuals. And without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. And so we must help time, and we must realize that the time is always right to do right. Now there's another notion that gets out, it's around everywhere. It's in the South, it's in the North, it's In California, and all over our nation. It's the notion that legislation can't solve the problem, it can't do anything in this area. And those who project this argument contend that you've got to change the heart and that you can't change the heart through legislation. Now I would be the first one to say that there is real need for a lot of heart changing in our country, and I believe in changing the heart. I preach about it. I believe in the need for conversion in many instances, and regeneration, to use theological terms. And I would be the first to say that if the race problem In America is to be solved, the white person must treat the Negro right, not merely because the law says it, but because it's natural, because It's right, and because the Negro is his brother. And so I realize that if we are to have a truly integrated society, men and women will have to rise to the majestic heights of being obedient to the unenforceable. But after saying this, let me say another thing which gives the other side, and that is that although it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. Even though it may be true that the law cannot change the heart, it can restrain the heartless. Even though it may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, it can restrain him from lynching me. And I think that's pretty important also. And so while the law may not change the hearts of men, it can and it does change the habits of men. And when you begin to change the habits of men, pretty soon the attitudes will be changed; pretty soon the hearts will be changed. And I'm convinced that we still need strong civil rights legislation. And there is a bill before Congress right now to have a national or federal Open Housing Bill. A federal law declaring discrimination in housing unconstitutional. And also a bill to make the administration of justice real all over our country. Now nobody can doubt the need for this. Nobody can doubt the need if he thinks about the fact that since 1963 some 50 Negroes and white Civil Rights workers have been brutally murdered in the state of Mississippi alone, and not a single person has been convicted for these dastardly crimes. There have been some indictments but no one has been convicted. And so there is a need for a federal law dealing with the whole question of the administration of justice. There is a need for fair housing laws all over our country. And it is tragic indeed that Congress last year allowed this bill to die. And when that bill died in Congress, a bit of democracy died, a bit of our commitment to justice died. If it happens again in this session of Congress, a greater degree of our commitment to democratic principles will die. And I can see no more dangerous trend in our country than the constant developing of predominantly Negro central cities ringed by white suburbs. This is only inviting social disaster. And the only way this problem will be solved is by the nation taking a strong stand, and by state governments taking a strong stand against housing segregation and against discrimination in all of these areas. Now there's another thing that I'd like to mention as I talk about the massive action program and time will not permit me to go into specific programmatic action to any great degree. But it must be realized now that the Negro cannot solve the problems by himself. There again, there are those who always say to Negroes, "Why don't you do something for yourself? Why don't you lift yourselves by your own bootstraps?" And we hear this over and over again. Now certainly there are many things that we must do for ourselves and that only we can do for ourselves. Certainly we must develop within a sense of dignity and self-respect that nobody else can give us. A sense of manhood, a sense of personhood, a sense of not being ashamed of our heritage, not being ashamed of our color. It was wrong and tragic of the Negro ever to allow himself to be ashamed of the fact that he was black, or ashamed of the fact that his ancestral home was Africa. And so there is a great deal that the Negro can do to develop self respect. There is a great deal that the Negro must do and can do to amass political and economic power within his own community and by using his own resources. And so we must do certain things for ourselves but this must not negate the fact, and cause the nation to overlook the fact, that the Negro cannot solve the problem himself. A man was on the plane with me some weeks ago and he came up to me and said, "The problem, Dr. King, that I see with what you all are doing is that every time I see you and other Negroes, you're protesting and you aren't doing anything for yourselves." And he went on to tell me that he was very poor at one time, and he was able to make by doing something for himself. "Why don't you teach your people," he said, "to lift themselves by their own bootstraps?" And then he went on to say other groups faced disadvantages, the Irish, the Italian, and he went down the line. And I said to him that it does not help the Negro, it only deepens his frustration, upon feeling insensitive people to say to him that other ethnic groups who migrated or were immigrants to this country less than a hundred years or so ago, have gotten beyond him and he came here some 344 years ago. And I went on to remind him that the Negro came to this country involuntarily in chains, while others came voluntarily. I went on to remind him that no other racial group has been a slave on American soil. I went on to remind him that the other problem we have faced over the years is that this society placed a stigma on the color of the Negro, on the color of his skin because he was black. Doors were closed to him that were not closed to other groups. And I finally said to him that it's a nice thing to say to people that you oughta lift yourself by your own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he oughta lift himself by his own bootstraps. And the fact is that millions of Negroes, as a result of centuries of denial and neglect, have been left bootless. They find themselves impoverished aliens in this affluent society. And there is a great deal that the society can and must do if the Negro is to gain the economic security that he needs. Now one of the answers it seems to me, is a guaranteed annual income, a guaranteed minimum income for all people, and for our families of our country. It seems to me that the Civil Rights movement must now begin to organize for the guaranteed annual income. Begin to organize people all over our country, and mobilize forces so that we can bring to the attention of our nation this need, and this is something which I believe will go a long long way toward dealing with the Negro's economic problem and the economic problem which many other poor people confront in our nation. Now I said I wasn't going to talk about Vietnam, but I can't make a speech without mentioning some of the problems that we face there because I think this war has diverted attention from civil rights. It has strengthened the forces of reaction in our country and has brought to the forefront the military-industrial complex that even President Eisenhower warned us against at one time. And above all, it is destroying human lives. It's destroying the lives of thousands of the young promising men of our nation. It's destroying the lives of little boys and little girls In Vietnam. But one of the greatest things that this war is doing to us in Civil Rights is that it is allowing the Great Society to be shot down on the battlefields of Vietnam every day. And I submit this afternoon that we can end poverty in the United States. Our nation has the resources to do it. The National Gross Product of America will rise to the astounding figure of some $780 billion this year. We have the resources: The question is, whether our nation has the will, and I submit that if we can spend $35 billion a year to fight an ill-considered war in Vietnam, and $20 billion to put a man on the moon, our nation can spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet right here on earth. Let me say another thing that's more in the realm of the spirit I guess, that is that if we are to go on in the days ahead and make true brotherhood a reality, it is necessary for us to realize more than ever before, that the destinies of the Negro and the white man are tied together. Now there are still a lot of people who don't realize this. The racists still don't realize this. But it is a fact now that Negroes and whites are tied together, and we need each other. The Negro needs the white man to save him from his fear. The white man needs the Negro to save him from his guilt. We are tied together in so many ways, our language, our music, our cultural patterns, our material prosperity, and even our food are an amalgam of black and white. So there can be no separate black path to power and fulfillment that does not intersect white groups. There can be no separate white path to power and fulfillment short of social disaster. It does not recognize the need of sharing that power with black aspirations for freedom and justice. We must come to see now that integration is not merely a romantic or esthetic something where you merely add color to a still predominantly white power structure. Integration must be seen also in political terms where there is shared power, where black men and white men share power together to build a new and a great nation. In a real sense, we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. John Donne placed it years ago in graphic terms, "No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." And he goes on toward the end to say, "Any man's death diminishes me because I'm Involved in mankind. Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee." And so we are all in the same situation: the salvation of the Negro will mean the salvation of the white man. And the destruction of life and of the ongoing progress of the Negro will be the destruction of the ongoing progress of the nation. Now let me say finally that we have difficulties ahead but I haven't despaired. Somehow I maintain hope in spite of hope. And I've talked about the difficulties and how hard the problems will be as we tackle them. But I want to close by saying this afternoon, that I still have faith in the future. And I still believe that these problems can be solved. And so I will not join anyone who will say that we still can't develop a coalition of conscience. I realize and understand the discontent and the agony and the disappointment and even the bitterness of those who feel that whites in America cannot be trusted. And I would be the first to say that there are all too many who are still guided by the racist ethos. And I am still convinced that there are still many white persons of good will. And I'm happy to say that I see them every day in the student generation who cherish democratic principles and justice above principle, and who will stick with the cause of justice and the cause of Civil Rights and the cause of peace throughout the days ahead. And so I refuse to despair. I think we're gonna achieve our freedom because however much America strays away from the ideals of justice, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America. Before the pilgrim fathers landed at Plymouth we were here. Before Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here. Before the beautiful words of the Star Spangled Banner were written, we were here. For more than two centuries, our forebearers labored here without wages. They made cotton king. They built the homes of their masters in the midst of the most humiliating and oppressive conditions. And yet out of a bottomless vitality, they continued to grow and develop. And I say that if the inexpressible cruelties of slavery couldn't stop us, the opposition that we now face, including the so-called white backlash, will surely fail. We're gonna win our freedom because both the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of the Almighty God are embodied in our echoing demands. And so I can still sing "We Shall Overcome." We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward Justice. We shall overcome because Carlyle is right, "No lie can live forever." We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right, "Truth crushed to earth will rise again." We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right, "Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne — Yet that scaffold sways the future." With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discourse of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to speed up the day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and live together as brothers and sisters, all over this great nation. That will be a great day, that will be a great tomorrow. In the words of the Scripture, to speak symbolically, that will be the day when the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy.
  2. On April 27th 1962, two LAPD police officers instructed to closely monitor a mosque’s activities (Muslim Temple 27 in Los Angeles) saw Black men taking clothes out of the back of a car outside the mosque. They approached aggressively and soon got violent, and as Malcolm X puts it, “hell broke loose”. The situation ended with seven unarmed Black Muslims shot outside the mosque. Nation of Islam (NOI) member William X Rogers was shot in the back and paralyzed for life. Temple Secretary Ronald X Stokes, 29, was killed. “They’re going to pay for it”, Malcolm X declared, going to Los Angeles to eulogize Stokes at a funeral attended by 2,000 people. Despite an autopsy that established Stokes was shot at close range and had been stomped, kicked and bludgeoned while dead or dying, an all-White coroner’s jury deliberating the Stokes’ killing, took 23 minutes to conclude it “justifiable homicide.” By contrast, 14 NOI members were indicted for assault in the incident and 11 were found guilty. Elijah Muhammad’s reluctance to aggressively retaliate to Stokes’ death and refusal to work with civil rights organizations, local Black politicians and religious groups, would be the first of a series of events, causing irreparable rifts between The Honorable Malcolm X and the so-called ‘Messenger of Allah’ Elijah Muhammad. And lead to his eventual departure from the Nation of Islam and embrace of traditional, Sunni Islam. Transcript from video: In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful to whom all praise is due, whom we forever thank for giving us the honorable Elijah Mohammad as our leader, teacher, and guide. And I specifically, ladies and gentlemen, and brothers and sisters, open up like that because I am a representative of the honorable Elijah Mohammad. And were it not for him, you and I wouldn’t be here today. In order for you and me to devise some kind of method or strategy to offset some of the events or the repetition of the events that have taken place here in Los Angeles recently, we have to go to the root. We have to go to the cause. Dealing with the condition itself is not enough. We have to get to the cause of it all. (crowd concurs) Or the root of it all. And it is because of our effort toward getting straight to the root that people oft times think we’re dealing in hate. But first I would like to congratulate and give praise to the Negro, so-called negro leaders and so-called negro organizations and, excuse me if I say so-called, it’s hard for me to just outright say Negro when I know what that word Negro really means. (thunderous applause) The person whom you have come to know as Ronald Stokes, we know him as Brother Ron – one of the most religious persons to display the highest form of morals of any Black person anywhere on this Earth. And as one of the previous speakers pointed out, who knew him, everyone who knew him had to give him credit for being a good man. A clean man, an intelligent man, and an innocent man when he was murdered. The Negro, so-called Negro, organizations and leaders should be given great credit for their failure or refusal to let the White man divide them and use them, one against the other, during this crisis. (thunderous applause) As Reverend [Walkard] Wilson pointed out, I think it was eight years ago today that the Supreme Court handed down the desegregation decision. And despite the fact that eight years have gone past, that decision hasn’t been implemented yet. (applause from audience) I don’t have that much faith. I don’t have that much confidence. I don’t have that much patience. And I don’t have that much ignorance to… (thunderous applause) If the Supreme Court, which is the highest lawmaking body in the country, can pass a decision that can’t get even eight percent compliance within eight years, because it’s for Black people, then my patience has run out. (applause) When Black people who are being oppressed become impatient, they say that’s emotional. (murmuring) Please… When Black people who are being deprived of their citizenship… not only of their civil rights, but their human rights, become impatient, become fed up, don’t wanna wait any longer, then they say that’s emotional. (laughter and applause) The Negro, so-called Negro, leaders and organizations should be praised. They should be congratulated. They should be complimented because out of all of them combined, the White man has not yet found one who will play the role of Uncle Tom. (thunderous applause) But yet he has found no Tom, no puppet, no parrot, who is still dumb enough in 1962 to represent the injustices that he is inflicting against our people. (applause) We don’t care what your religion is. We don’t care what organization you belong to. We don’t care how far in school you went or didn’t go. We don’t care what kind of job you have. We have to give you credit for shocking the White man by not letting him divide you and use you one against the other. (applause) In the past, the greatest weapon the White man has had has been his ability to divide and conquer. As Jackie Robinson pointed out beautifully on the television last night, 4/5 of the world isn’t White. Isn’t that what Jackie said? (applause) And if 4/5 of the world is dark, how is it possible for 1/5 to rule, oppress, exploit, dominate, and brutalize the 4/5 who are in the majority? How did they do it? Divide and conquer. If I take my hand and slap you, you don’t even feel it. It might sting you, because these digits are separated. But all I have to do to put you back in your place is bring those digits together. (applause) This is what the White man has done to you and me. He has divided us and used us one against the other. But today, thanks to Allah… You can say thanks to God, or thanks to Jesus, or thanks to Jehovah – whatever you want. (applause) But as a follower of the honorable Elijah Muhammad, we have been taught to say thanks to Allah. And that’s what Jesus said. Jesus called on Allah. He said, “Allah! Allah! Allah [Inaudible]” I believe what’s good for Jesus is good for you. If Allah was good enough for Jesus to call upon, I think He should be good enough for you to call upon. (man: That’s right!) Since the so-called Negro community has shocked the White man by resisting all efforts to divide us, I think that you and I should continue to shock him by singing and working together in unity. Despite religious, political, economic, or educational, or social differences, let us remember that we are not brutalized because we’re Baptists. We’re not brutalized because we’re Methodists. We’re not brutalized because we’re Muslims. We’re not brutalized because we’re Catholics. We’re brutalized because.. because we are Black people in America. (applause) Here your mother is being raped, and you’re not supposed to be emotional. Your women – please – your woman can’t walk the street without some cracker putting his hands on her, and you’re not supposed to be emotional! (applause) If you say that you’re fed up, if you teach the Negro… (film skips) They don’t even know their own name (woman: That’s right!) Why? Because he took took it away from her. Please, please. 20 million Black people don’t even know their own language. Why? Because he took it away from us. 20 million Black people who don’t even know the history of their ancestors. Why? Because he took it away from us! And if you try and tell them how thoroughly and completely they’ve been robbed, he says you’re teaching hate. (applause) That’s something to think about. (murmuring) Today we’re coming out of college, you’re coming out of the leading universities. You’re trying to go in a good direction. But you don’t know which direction to go in. And if somebody tries to take you right to the root of your problem they say that that man’s a hate teacher. If I ask why should the Senators in Washington… and, then again, if we tell you that Negroes are being hung on the tree, or being shot down illegally, unjustly… and those Negroes should do something to protect themselves, you say you’re advocating violence. The White man is tricking you! He’s trapping you. He doesn’t call it violence when he lands troops in South Vietnam. (applause) Please, please, please! He doesn’t call it violence when he lands troops in Berlin. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, he didn’t say get non-violent. He said, “Praise the Lord, but pass the ammunition.” (applause) But when someone attacks you, when someone comes at you with a club, when someone comes you with a rope, when someone comes at you with a gun, despite the fact that you’ve done nothing he tells you, “Suffer peacefully.” (murmuring) “Pray for those who use you to spite me.” “Be long suffering.” And how long can you suffer after suffering for 400 years? (applause) So I just wanna play up that little point right there because he said that we play on your emotions. And when you turn on your television tonight, or your radio, or read the newspaper, they’re gonna tell you in that paper that I was playing on your emotions. Imagine you, a second class citizen. That’s not getting emotional! It’s getting intelligent. And as far as your mayor is concerned, I see… (I) should say their mayor. A man named Yorty, who has been slandering the Muslims, a professional liar… a professional liar. (applause) Who has mastered the art of using half-truths. Put in the paper that they break into our religious place of worship and got records that they can use to prove that most of us have criminal records. You can’t be a Negro in America and not have a criminal record. (thunderous applause) Martin Luther King has been to jail. (applause) Please. James Farmer has been to jail. Why, you can’t name a Black man in this country who was sick and tired of the hell that he’s catching who hasn’t been to jail. Charged him with being seditious. They put Moses in jail! (woman: Yeah!) They put Daniel in jail. (woman: Yeah!) Why, you haven’t got a man of God in the Bible that wasn’t put to jail when they started speaking up against exploitation and oppression. (applause) They charged Jesus with sedition. Didn’t they do that? (crowd concurs) They said he was against Caesar. They said he was discriminating because he told his disciples, “Go not the way of the gentiles, but rather go to the lost sheep.” He discriminated! Don’t go near the gentiles, go to the lost sheep. Go to the oppressed. Go the downtrodden. Go to the exploited. Go the people who don’t know who they are, who are lost from the knowledge of themselves and who are strangers in a land that is not theirs. Go to those people! Go to the slaves. Go the second-class citizens. Go to the ones who are suffering the brunt of Caesar’s brutality. And if Jesus were here in America today, he wouldn’t be going to the White man. The White man is the oppressor! He would be going to the oppressed. He would be going to the humble. He would be going to the lowly. He would be going to the rejected and the despised. He would be going to the so-called American Negro. (applause) To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace. I formally was a criminal. I formally was in prison. I’m not ashamed of that. You never can use that over my head. And he’s using the wrong stick! I don’t feel that stick. (laughter and applause) I went to a prison because I believed in men like Sam Yorty. I went to prison because I trusted men like Sam Yorty. I went to prison following the philosophy of men like Sam Yorty. But since I’ve been following the honorable Elijah Muhammad, I have been reformed and that’s more… Please… That’s more than Sam Yorty and Chief Parker and all these other White politicians that have been able to do with the inmates in the prisons of this State. They should give Mr. Muhammad credit. They should give Mr. Muhammad credit for reforming and rehabilitating men whom they have failed to reform and rehabilitate. (thunderous applause) Mayor Yorty went forward to some press report that Mr. Muhammad had once been found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He failed to explain, purposely, that in 1934, the honorable Elijah Muhammad refused to send his children to White schools in Detroit, Michigan, that were teaching you about Little Black Sambo. That’s the minor that he contributed to the delinquency of. You see this vicious, fork-tongue White man has been able to take lies and make you turn against those who want to help you and make others turn against you. This is the contributing to the delinquency of a minor that this mayor, or a man who calls himself mayor, is talking about. In the same article he said that the Muslims are the same people who rioted in the United Nations. Someone should pull his coat and let him know that at the present moment there’s six million dollars worth of suits [inaudible] levelled against two of New York’s leading newspapers for making a mistake of charging the Muslims as being involved in those United Nations riots. We were not involved! And if this fork-tongued man who calls himself your mayor had taken the time to find that out, he wouldn’t be walking into the trap that he’s letting his ignorance lead him into! (applause) And if you take the time to read the Washington Post that came out the Sunday after that incident took place, the Washington Post pointed out on the front page that the Muslims had nothing to do with the UN riots and they quoted, in saying so, the person who was at that time the Commissioner of Police in New York City. See, it’s lies that the White man has spread about the Muslims to try and make you afraid of the Muslims, or to try and make you think that the Muslims were a criminal element, an uncouth element in things that you have not liked to be associated with. Also, they say that… I’m just clearing these things up and then we’re going to get into what happened. They also say that the honorable Elijah Muhammad was draft dodger. No, he wasn’t. He just refused to go to the army because he was a man of peace. He was a minister of a religion of peace. He was teaching peace. So he outright refused to go to the army. That’s not draft dodging. That’s intelligence. (cheering) Here, before the grand jury, because the coroner’s jury is stacked against Negros. (cheers and applause) The Grand Jury is stacked against Negros. The press, the radio, the television and the newspapers are stacked against negros. (crowd concurs) But, please, the Los Angeles Police department is stacked against all Negroes, all except those he has appointed to high positions. The controlled press, the White press inflames the White public against Negroes. The police are able to use it to paint the Negro community as a criminal element. The police are able to use the press to make the White public think that 90%, or 99%, of the Negroes in the Negro community are criminals. And once the White public is convinced that most of the Negro community is a criminal element, then this automatically paves the way for the police to move into the Negro community, exercising Gestapo tactics stopping any Black man who is in this… on the sidewalk, whether he is guilty or whether he is innocent. Whether he is well dressed or whether he is poorly dressed. Whether he is educated or whether he is dumb. Whether he’s a Christian or whether he’s a Muslim. As long as he is Black and a member of the Negro community, the White public thinks that the White policeman is justified in going in there and trampling on that man’s civil rights and on that man’s human rights. (applause) Once the police have convinced the White public that the so-called Negro community is a criminal element, they can go in and question, brutalize, murder, unarmed innocent Negroes and the White public is gullible enough to back them up. This makes the Negro community a police state. This makes the negro neighborhood a police state. It’s the most heavily patrolled. It has more police in it than any other neighborhood, yet it has more crime in it than any other neighborhood. How can you have more cops and more crime? (laughter) Why? It shows you that the cops must be in cahoots with the criminals. (laughter, applause) (They hate) the texture of the hair that God… Please… That God gave them so much that they put lye on it. (laughter) Do you realize… now, you know brother; lye will eat a hole in steel and you know your head is not that hard. (applause) Who taught you… Please. Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin to such extent that you bleach to get like the White man? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to? So much so that you don’t want to be around each other. You know, before you come asking Mr. Muhammed does he teach hate? You should ask who, yourself, who taught you to hate being what God gave you. (applause) We teach you to love the hair that God gave you. Here you, way out in the middle of the ocean, can’t swim and you worried about someone that’s in the bathtub and can’t swim. (laughter and applause) We don’t steal. We don’t gamble. We don’t lie, and we don’t cheat. And that also deprives the government of revenue (laughter) because you can’t get into a whiskey bottle without getting past the government seal. You can’t open a deck of cards without getting past the government seal. Hell, the White man makes the whiskey then puts you in jail for getting drunk. (cheering) He sells you the cards and the dice and puts you in jail when he catches you using ’em. So, he’s against us because we fix it where he can’t catch you anymore. We take the dice outta your hands and the cards out of your hands and the whiskey out of your head. The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman. And as Muslims, the honorable Elijah Mohammad teaches us to respect our women and to protect our women. And the only time a Muslim really gets real violent is when someone goes to molest his woman. (man: Right!) (applause) We will kill you for our woman. I’m making it plain. Yes. We will kill you for our woman. (applause) We believe that if the White man will do whatever is necessary to see that his woman gets respect and protection then you and I will never be recognized as men until we stand up like men and place the same penalty over the head of anyone who puts his filthy hands in the direction of our women. (thunderous applause) We respect them, but we want them to respect us. We think that the law should respect the Negro community. The law should protect the Negro community. The law should approach the negro community with intelligence if it expects the negro community to react intelligently. So, the honorable Elijah Mohammed teaches us to always avoid anything that smacks of disrespect for the law. And if the police department tells the truth, they will have to admit that they have never had any, uh, experiences with Muslims that have ever been anything other than honorable unless they themselves come at us in a dishonorable way. There’s no case against the Muslims. It has no case against these brothers whom they shot down. And because it has no case, it’s trying to create a case. It’s trying to manufacture a case. And therefore they set up a grand jury hearing of the case so that they could hear it behind closed doors, and after hearing what we have to say then they’ll… their particular strategy or defense against the actions that they committed on that April the 27th. So, at the advice of our attorneys, we purposefully, the victims, those who have been indicted, or rather those who have been arrested and are out on bond, have purposefully refrained and refused from making any statement whatsoever until after the case appears in court. And when you hear their story it will be in a public trial. We have already been… had experience with these private hearings behind closed doors. Anything that the White man has to do to the Muslim, he has to do it in the open. He has to do it in public, or he has to put every single one of us behind bars for the rest our lives. (applause) When Mayor Yorty called for a government investigation of a religious group that have the highest moral standards of any group in the Negro community, Mayor Yorty was giving you an example of what Hitler did in Nazi Germany when he began to go on the rampage. (applause) We feel, we have confidence that the White public and the Black public, if they hear our case, if they hear and have access to the investigation, will never be fooled by this phony set up that’s stacked from the top all the way down. And if you doubt it, when you leave home tonight, when you go home tonight, look for the press. I’d like at this time to call forth these brothers who are under, uh, who were arrested. The brothers who were arrested. Come up here behind these chairs, please. (applause) They were suspects. (laughter) This wouldn’t happen in a White neighborhood. White man can walk down the street with packages on his head, packages under his arm and packages anywhere else and won’t anybody question his right to carry those packages. But a negro is suspect because the press makes you suspect. Yes, the White press makes Negroes suspect. (murmuring) (video skips) … all the information you need, Officer. And the Officer made one stay at the rear of the car and the other go to the front of the car, and while he was taking the one to the front of the car, the polite attitude, the humble if, the submissive, intelligent peaceful spirit that he unexpectedly found in this Negro infuriated him. And he began to… He told the brother; ‘Put down your hands.’ Brother was talking, he’s not a criminal. A man has a right on the sidewalk to talk with his hands. ‘Put down your hands, don’t talk with your hands.’ And when the brother continued to gesture with his hands the Officer grabbed his hand, twisted it around, ’round behind his back flung him up against the car and then that’s when hell broke loose. That was when hell broke loose. A struggle ensued, shots were fired by the police and by a Negro door checker. (laughter) An alarm went out. When the alarm went out, instead of the police going to the place where the incident occurred, the police went one block away to the temple. When they arrived there, they got out of their cars with their guns smokin’. You woulda thought it was Wyatt… What’s his name? Wyatt Earp. I’m telling you, they came out of those cars, and we have enough witnesses to hang ’em. With their guns smokin’. Chief Parker knows this, Mayor Yorty knows this and every police official in the city knows that. They didn’t fire no warning shots in the air they fired warning shots point blank at innocent, unarmed, defenseless Negroes. As I say, two of the brothers were shot in the back. Another was shot in the shoulder. Another was shot, two of them were shot, excuse the expression, through the penis. (murmuring) Another was shot in the hip and the bullet came out the other side. But Arthur here was shot 1/4 of an inch from his heart. Let me tell you something, and I’ll tell you why you say, ‘we hate White people’. We don’t hate anybody. We love our own people so much; they think we hate the ones who are inflicting injustice against them. (applause) (video skips) … who has been shot, the bullet having passed a 1/4 of an inch through his heart. I’m not gonna let him talk, which I think you can understand why. You should listen to the conversation of the police officers while it was going on. Two of the brothers who had been shot, who were lying hand in hand, the officer said they were chanting a death chant. You read that. They were saying ‘Allahu Akbar’. What does that mean? It means that God is the greatest. It means that God is the greatest. (applause) Understand what the White officer called a death chant was a prayer. They were praying when they were shot down. They were saying Allhu Akbar. And it shook the officer up that they haven’t heard Black people talk any kinda talk but what they taught ’em. And two of the brothers who were shot in the back were telling me that as they lay on the sidewalk, they were holding hands. They held hands with each other saying Allahu Akbar. And the blood was seeping out of them where the police bullets had torn into their insides. Still, they said Allahu Akbar and the police came and kicked them in the head. Police kicked them in the head telling them to shut up that noise while they were laying on the sidewalk in front of our temple. Kicked them in the head. Shut up that noise. And one of them, when he was on his way to the police station in the ambulance, one of the ambulance attendants told the White cop, ‘Why don’t you kill the nigger?’ He said, ‘I’ll tell them that he tried to get away. Why don’t you kill the nigger? While you got a chance. I’ll swear that he tried to get away.’ If he didn’t say this, then I need to be put in jail, and I’ll gladly go. (applause) One of them who was being taken to jail in a police car as the ambulance sirens were coming to the place, one of the policemen said to the other: ‘What are the ambulances rushing for? Nothing but some niggers.’ So, he looked then and saw the Muslim brothers sitting beside him and he shut up. But after he got to the jail, the same officer that said this turned to the brother and said; ‘I hope that you didn’t get offended by what I said back there under the heat of emotion, because some of my best friends are colored.’ (roaring) That’s what he said. That’s his password: ‘Some of my best friends are colored.’ And I for one, as a Muslim, believe that the White man is intelligent enough, if he were made to realize how Black people really feel and how fed up we are without that whole compromising sweet talk. Why you’re the one that make it hard for yourself. The White man believes you when you go to him with that old sweet talk ’cause you been sweet talkin’ him ever since he brought you here. Stop sweet talking him. Tell him how you feel. Tell him how or what kinda hell you been catching and let him know that if he’s not ready to clean his house up, if he’s not ready to clean his house up, he shouldn’t have a house. It should catch on fire. And burn down. (applause) As Muslims, we identify ourselves with the dark world. So we’re not any minority. We’re a part of the majority and the White man is the minority. (applause) You have to know this to understand us: we don’t think any odds are against us. We don’t fight a battle like the odds are against us. Why, the whole dark world today is in unity. It’s one. If you don’t think so, look at the United Nations. When the dark world votes, they vote as one. They gettin’ the colonialists out of Africa, and out of Asia. Tellin’ them to get out. They don’t have any nuclear weapons, but they got a solid, united voice and their unity alone is sufficient to drive the oppressor and exploiter of their people out of their own country. You and I need to learn a lesson from that right there. In the UN, the dark world consists of Buddhist’s, Hindu’s, Shinto’s, Taoist’s, Christian’s, Muslims, everything. But they’re together. They forget their religious and political differences. They think as one. They move as one against a common enemy. And [the French occupier] of Algeria, he’s going, don’t think he’s not going, he’s going. (applause) They’re getting him out of Angola, out of Tanganyika, out of Uganda, out of Kenya. He’s going from South Africa, too. He hasn’t got long to be there. All over this earth, dark people who have been oppressed and exploited by those who are not their own kind, strangers, are coming together to get the oppressor off their back. You and I learn a lesson from that. We are oppressed. We are exploited. We are downtrodden. We are denied, not only civil rights, but even human rights. So, the only way we’re going to get some of this oppression and exploitation away from us, or aside from us is come together against the common enemy. (applause) When they sat down at the Bandung conference, everyone there had this in common: a dark skin. Some of those who were sitting there were socialists, some were communists, somewhere capitalists, some were Christian, some were Buddhist. They were everything! But all of ’em was dark skinned. And they looked at that dark skin and agreed that this is one thing they had in common. Forget that you’re a Methodist, forget that you’re a Catholic, forget that you’re a Protestant, forget that you’re a Muslim. Remember that all of us are Black, and we’re catching h… [end of video].
  3. The Three Evils of Society: Racism, Poverty and War. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered this speech at The National Conference for New Politics on August 31, 1967 in Chicago over Labor Day weekend in 1967. "Socialism for the Rich and Capitalism for the Poor" "But our moral lag must be redeemed; when scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men. Mr. Chairman, friends and brothers in this first gathering of the National Conference on New Politics. Ladies and gentlemen. . .can you hear me in the back? (No) I don’t know if the Klan is in here tonight or not with all the troubles we’re having with these microphones. Seldom if ever. . . .has. . . .we’re still working with it. As I was about to say, seldom if ever has such a diverse and truly ecumenical gathering convened under the egis of politics in our nation, and I want to commend the leadership of the National Conference on New Politics for all of the great work that they have done in making this significant convention possible. Indeed by our very nature we affirm that something new is taking place on the American political horizon. We have come here from the dusty plantations of the Deep South and the depressing ghettos of the North. We have come from the great universities and the flourishing suburbs. We have come from Appalachian poverty and from conscious stricken wealth. But we have come. And we have come here because we share a common concern for the moral health of our nation. We have come because our eyes have seen through the superficial glory and glitter of our society and observed the coming of judgment. Like the prophet of old, we have read the handwriting on the wall. We have seen our nation weighed in the balance of history and found wanting. We have come because we see this as a dark hour in the affairs of men. For most of us this is a new mood. We are traditionally the idealists. We are the marchers from Mississippi and Selma and Washington, who staked our lives on the American Dream during the first half of this decade. Many assembled here campaigned lasciviously for Lyndon Johnson in 1964 because we could not stand ideally by and watch our nation contaminated by the 18th century policies of Goldwaterism. We were the hardcore activists who were willing to believe that Southerners could be reconstructed in the constitutional image. We were the dreamers of a dream – that dark yesterdays of mans inhumanity to man would soon be transformed into bright tomorrows of justice. Now it is hard to escape, the disillusionment and betrayal. Our hopes have been blasted and our dreams have been shattered. The promise of a Great Society was shipwrecked off the coast of Asia, on the dreadful peninsula of Vietnam. The poor, black and white, are still perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. What happens to a dream deferred? It leads to bewildering frustration and corroding bitterness. I came to see this in a personal experience here in Chicago last summer. In all the speaking I have done in the United States before varied audiences, including some hostile whites, the only time I have ever been booed was one night in our regular weekly mass meetings by some angry young men of our movement. Now I went home that night with an ugly feeling. Selfishly I thought of my suffering and sacrifices over the last twelve years. Why would they boo one so close to them? But as I lay awake thinking. I finally came to myself. And I could not for the life of me have less impatience and understanding for those young men. For twelve years, I am others like me, have held out radiant promises of progress. I had preached to them about my dream. I had lectured to them about, the not to distant day when they would have freedom, all here, now. I had urged them to have faith in America and in white society. Their hopes had soared. They were now booing me because they felt that we were unable to deliver on our promises. They were booing because we had urged them to have faith in people who had too often proved to be unfaithful. They were now hostile because they were watching the dream that they had so readily accepted, turn into a frustrating nightmare. This situation is all the more ominous, in view of the rising expectations of men the world over. The deep rumblings that we hear today, the rumblings of discontent, is the thunder of disinherited masses rising from dungeons of oppressions to the bright hills of freedom. All over the world like a fever, freedom is spreading in the widest liberation movement in history. The great masses of people are determined to end the exploitation of their races and lands. And in one majestic chorus they are singing in the worlds of our freedom song, “ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around”. And so the collision course is set. The people cry for freedom and the congress attempts to legislate repression. Millions, yes billions, are appropriated for mass murder; but the most meager pittance for foreign aid for international development is crushed in the surge of reaction. Unemployment rages at a major depression level in the black ghettos, but the bi-partisan response is an anti-riot bill rather than a serious poverty program. The modest proposals for model cities, rent supplement and rat control, pitiful as they were to began with, get caught in the maze of congressional inaction. And I submit to you tonight, that a congress that proves to be more anti-negro than anti-rat needs to be dismissed. It seems that our legislative assemblies have adopted Nero as their patron saint and are bent on fiddling while our cities burn. Even when the people persist and in the face of great obstacles, develop indigenous leadership and self-help approaches to their problems and finally tread the forest of bureaucracy to obtain existing government funds, the corrupt political order seeks to crush even this beginning of hope. The case of CDGM in Mississippi is the most publicized example but it is a story repeated many times across our nation. Our own experience here in Chicago is especially painfully present. After an enthusiastic approval by H. E. W’s Department of Adult Education, SCLC began an adult literacy project to aid 1,000 young men and women who have been pushed out of overcrowded ghetto schools, in obtaining basic [literary] skills prerequisite to receiving jobs. We had an agreement with A&P stores for 750 jobs through SCLC’s job program, Operation Breadbasket and had recruited over 500 pupils the first week. At that point Congressmen Paccinski and the Daley machine intervened and demanded that Washington cut off our funds or channel them through the machine-controlled poverty program in Chicago. Now we have no problem with administrative supervision, but we do have a desire to be independent of machine control and the Democratic Party patronage network. For this desire for a politically independent approach to the needs of our brothers, our funds are being stopped as of September 15th and a very meaningful program discontinued. Yes the hour is dark, evil comes fourth in the guise of good. It is a time of double talk when men in high places have a high blood pressure of deceptive rhetoric and an anemia of concrete performance. We cry out against welfare handouts to the poor but generously approve an oil depletion allowance to make the rich, richer. Six Mississippi plantations receive more than a million dollars a year, not to plant cotton but no provision is made to feed the tenant farmer who is put out of work by the government subsidy. The crowning achievement in hypocrisy must go to those staunch Republicans and Democrats of the Midwest and West who were given land by our government when they came here as immigrants from Europe. They were given education through the land grant colleges. They were provided with agricultural agents to keep them abreast of forming trends, they were granted low interest loans to aid in the mechanization of their farms and now that they have succeeded in becoming successful, they are paid not to farm and these are the same people that now say to black people, who’s ancestors were brought to this country in chains and who were emancipated in 1863 without being given land to cultivate or bread to eat; that they must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. What they truly advocate is Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor. I wish that I could say that this is just a passing phase in the cycles of our nation’s life; certainly times of war, times of reaction throughout the society but I suspect that we are now experiencing the coming to the surface of a triple prong sickness that has been lurking within our body politic from its very beginning. That is the sickness of racism, excessive materialism and militarism. Not only is this our nation’s dilemma it is the plaque of western civilization. As early as 1906 W. E. B Dubois prophesized that the problem of the 20th century, would be the problem of the color line, now as we stand two-thirds into this crucial period of history we know full well that racism is still that hound of hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization. Ever since the birth of our nation, White America has had a Schizophrenic personality on the question of race, she has been torn between selves. A self in which she proudly profess the great principle of democracy and a self in which she madly practices the antithesis of democracy. This tragic duality has produced a strange indecisiveness and ambivalence toward the Negro, causing America to take a step backwards simultaneously with every step forward on the question of Racial Justice; to be at once attracted to the Negro and repelled by him, to love and to hate him. There has never been a solid, unified and determined thrust to make justice a reality for AfroAmericans. The step backwards has a new name today, it is called the white backlash, but the white backlash is nothing new. It is the surfacing of old prejudices, hostilities and ambivalences that have always been there. It was caused neither by the cry of black power nor by the unfortunate recent wave of riots in our cities. The white backlash of today is rooted in the same problem that has characterized America ever since the black man landed in chains on the shores of this nation. This does not imply that all White Americans are racist, far from it. Many white people have, through a deep moral compulsion fought long and hard for racial justice nor does it mean that America has made no progress in her attempt to cure the body politic of the disease of racism or that the dogma of racism has been considerably modified in recent years. However for the good of America, it is necessary to refute the idea that the dominant ideology in our country, even today, is freedom and equality while racism is just an occasional departure from the norm on the part of a few bigoted extremists. Racism can well be, that corrosive evil that will bring down the curtain on western civilization. Arnold Toynesbee has said that some twenty-six civilization have risen upon the face of the Earth, almost all of them have descended into the junk heap of destruction. The decline and fall of these civilizations, according to Toynesbee, was not caused by external invasion but by internal decay. They failed to respond creatively to the challenges impingent upon them. If America does not respond creatively to the challenge to banish racism, some future historian will have to say, that a great civilization died because it lacked the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all men. The second aspect of our afflicted society is extreme materialism, an Asian writer has portrayed our dilemma in candid terms, he says, “you call your thousand material devices labor saving machinery, yet you are forever busy. With the multiplying of your machinery you grow increasingly fatigued, anxious, nervous, dissatisfied. Whatever you have you want more and wherever you are you want to go somewhere else. Your devices are neither time saving nor soul saving machinery. They are so many sharp spurs which urge you on to invent more machinery and to do more business”. This tells us something about our civilization that cannot be caste aside as a prejudiced charge by an eastern thinker who is jealous of Western prosperity. We cannot escape the indictment. This does not mean that we must turn back the clock of scientific progress. No one can overlook the wonders that science has wrought for our lives. The automobile will not abdicate in favor of the horse and buggy or the train in favor of the stage coach or the tractor in favor of the hand plow or the scientific method in favor of ignorance and superstition. But our moral lag must be redeemed; when scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men. When we foolishly maximize the minimum and minimize the maximum we sign the warrant for our own day of doom. It is this moral lag in our thing-oriented society that blinds us to the human reality around us and encourages us in the greed and exploitation which creates the sector of poverty in the midst of wealth. Again we have diluted ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the protestant ethic of hard word and sacrifice, the fact is that Capitalism was build on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, both here and abroad. If Negroes and poor whites do not participate in the free flow of wealth within our economy, they will forever be poor, giving their energies, their talents and their limited funds to the consumer market but reaping few benefits and services in return. The way to end poverty is to end the exploitation of the poor, ensure them a fair share of the government services and the nation’s resources. I proposed recently that a national agency be established to provide employment for everyone needing it. Nothing is more socially inexcusable than unemployment in this age. In the 30s when the nation was bankrupt it instituted such an agency, the WPA, in the present conditions of a nation glutted with resources, it is barbarous to condemn people desiring work to soul sapping inactivity and poverty. I am convinced that even this one, massive act of concern will do more than all the state police and armies of the nation to quell riots and still hatreds. The tragedy is, our materialistic culture does not possess the statesmanship necessary to do it. Victor Hugo could have been thinking of 20th Century America when he wrote, “there’s always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher classes”. The time has come for America to face the inevitable choice between materialism and humanism. We must devote at least as much to our children’s education and the health of the poor as we do to the care of our automobiles and the building of beautiful, impressive hotels. We must also realize that the problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power. We must further recognize that the ghetto is a domestic colony. Black people must develop programs that will aid in the transfer of power and wealth into the hands of residence of the ghetto so that they may in reality control their own destinies. This is the meaning of New Politics. People of will in the larger community, must support the black man in this effort. The final phase of our national sickness is the disease of militarism. Nothing more clearly demonstrates our nation’s abuse of military power than our tragic adventure in Vietnam. This war has played havoc with the destiny of the entire world. It has torn up the Geneva Agreement, it has seriously impaired the United Nations, it has exacerbated the hatred between continents and worst still between races. It has frustrated our development at home, telling our own underprivileged citizens that we place insatiable military demands above their critical needs. It has greatly contributed to the forces of reaction in America and strengthened the military industrial complex. And it has practically destroyed Vietnam and left thousands of American and Vietnamese youth maimed and mutilated and exposed the whole world to the risk of nuclear warfare. Above all, the War in Vietnam, has revealed what Senator Fulbright calls, “our nations arrogance of power”. We are arrogant in professing to be concerned about the freedom of foreign nations while not setting our own house in order. Many of our Senators and Congressmen vote joyously to appropriate billions of dollars for the War in Vietnam and many of these same Senators and Congressmen vote loudly against a Fair Housing Bill to make it possible for a Negro veteran of Vietnam to purchase a decent home. We arm Negro soldiers to kill on foreign battlefields but offer little protection for their relatives from beatings and killings in our own South. We are willing to make a Negro 100% of a citizen in Warfare but reduce him to 50% of a citizen on American soil. No war in our nation’s history has ever been so violative of our conscious, our national interest and so destructive of our moral standing before the world. No enemy has ever been able to cause such damage to us as we inflict upon ourselves. The inexorable decay of our urban centers has flared into terrifying domestic conflict as the pursuit of foreign war absolves our wealth and energy. Squalor and poverty scar our cities as our military might destroy cities in a far off land to support oligarchy, to intervene in domestic conflict. The President who cherishes consensus for peace has intensified the war in answer to a cry to stop the war. It has brought tauntingly to one minutes flying time from China to a moment before the midnight of world conflagration. We are offered a tax for war instead of a plan for peace. Men of reason should no longer debate, the merits of war or means of financing war. They should end the war and restore sanity and humanity to American policy. And if the will of the people continue to be unheeded, all men of free will must create a situation in which the 1967, 68 are made a referendum on the War. The American people must have an opportunity to vote into oblivion those who cannot detach themselves from militarism, and those that lead us. So we are here because we believe, we hope, we pray that something new might emerge in the political life of this nation which will produce a new man, new structures and new institutions and a new life for mankind. I am convinced that this new life will not emerge until our nation undergoes a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people the giant triplets of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A civilization can flounder as readily in the face of moral bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s road side, but that will only be an initial act. One day the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be beaten and robbed as they make their journey through life. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar, it understands that an edifice which produces beggars, needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth, with righteous indignation it will look at thousands of working people displaced from their jobs, with reduced incomes as a result of automation while the profits of the employers remain in tact and say, this is not just. It will look across the ocean and see individual Capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia and Africa only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries and say, this is not just. It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say, this is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, this way of settling differences is not just. This business of burning human being with napalm, of filling our nation’s home with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normal humane, of sending men home from dark and bloodied battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year, to spend more money on military defense then on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. So what we must all see is that these are revolutionary times All over the globe, men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot of the Earth are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the west must support these revolutions, it is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of Communism and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit and in a sense, Communism is a judgment of our failure to make democracy real and to follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world, declaring eternal opposition to poverty, racism and militarism. With this powerful commitment, we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust [morals?] and thereby speed the day when every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low and the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places plain. May I say in conclusion that there is a need now, more than ever before, for men and women in our nation to be creatively maladjusted. Mr. Davis said, and I say to you that I choose to be among the maladjusted, as my good friend Bill Coughlin said there are those who have criticized me and many of you for taking a stand against the War in Vietnam and for seeking to say to the nation that the issues of Civil Rights cannot be separated from the issues of peace. I want to say to you tonight that I intend to keep these issues mixed because they are mixed. Somewhere we must see that justice is indivisible, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and I have fought to long and to hard against segregated public accommodations to end up at this point in my life, segregating my moral concerns. So let us stand in this convention knowing that on some positions; cowardice asks the questions, is it safe; expediency asks the question, is it politic; vanity asks the question, is it popular, but conscious asks the question, is it right. And on some positions, it is necessary for the moral individual to take a stand that is neither safe, nor politic nor popular; but he must do it because it is right. And we say to our nation tonight, we say to our Government, we even say to our FBI, we will not be harassed, we will not make a butchery of our conscious, we will not be intimidated, and we will be heard.
  4. The following are excerpts from a speech that Malcolm X gave on May 5, 1962 at the funeral service of Ronald Stokes in Los Angeles, who was killed by the LAPD. The incident occurred on April 27th at a mosque that previously been monitored by the police department. Then one night there was a disputed altercation between the police and the members of the mosque that resulted in an overwhelming police force killing of seven members of the Nation of Islam that night, including Stokes. The Police and the Press Video of Excerpt: The Police & The Press The controlled press, the White press inflames the White public against Negroes. The police are able to use it to paint the Negro community as a criminal element. The police are able to use the press to make the White public think that 90%, or 99%, of the Negroes in the Negro community are criminals. And once the White public is convinced that most of the Negro community is a criminal element, then this automatically paves the way for the police to move into the Negro community, exercising Gestapo tactics stopping any Black man who is in this… on the sidewalk, whether he is guilty or whether he is innocent. Whether he is well dressed or whether he is poorly dressed. Whether he is educated or whether he is dumb. Whether he’s a Christian or whether he’s a Muslim. As long as he is Black and a member of the Negro community, the White public thinks that the White policeman is justified in going in there and trampling on that man’s civil rights and on that man’s human rights. Once the police have convinced the White public that the so-called Negro community is a criminal element, they can go in and question, brutalize, murder, unarmed innocent Negroes and the White public is gullible enough to back them up. This makes the Negro community a police state. This makes the negro neighborhood a police state. It’s the most heavily patrolled. It has more police in it than any other neighborhood, yet it has more crime in it than any other neighborhood. How can you have more cops and more crime? Why? It shows you that the cops must be in cahoots with the criminals. Who Taught You to Hate Yourself? Audio: Who Taught You to Hate Yourself & The Most Disrespected Person in America (They hate) the texture of the hair that God… Please… That God gave them so much that they put lye on it. (laughter) Do you realize… now, you know brother; lye will eat a hole in steel and you know your head is not that hard. (applause) Who taught you… Please. Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin to such extent that you bleach to get like the White man? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to? So much so that you don’t want to be around each other. You know, before you come asking Mr. Muhammed does he teach hate? You should ask who, yourself, who taught you to hate being what God gave you. We teach you to love the hair that God gave you… White Men’s Dealing in Corruption We don’t steal. We don’t gamble. We don’t lie, and we don’t cheat. And that also deprives the government of revenue because you can’t get into a whiskey bottle without getting past the government seal. You can’t open a deck of cards without getting past the government seal. Hell, the White man makes the whiskey then puts you in jail for getting drunk. He sells you the cards and the dice and puts you in jail when he catches you using ’em. So, he’s against us because we fix it where he can’t catch you anymore. We take the dice outta your hands and the cards out of your hands and the whiskey out of your head. The Most Disrespected Person in America The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman. And as Muslims, the honorable Elijah Mohammad teaches us to respect our women and to protect our women. And the only time a Muslim really gets real violent is when someone goes to molest his woman. We will kill you for our woman. I’m making it plain. Yes. We will kill you for our woman. We believe that if the White man will do whatever is necessary to see that his woman gets respect and protection then you and I will never be recognized as men until we stand up like men and place the same penalty over the head of anyone who puts his filthy hands in the direction of our women.

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Afrii-Diaspora Dialogue

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