Born: Malcolm Little, May 19, 1925, Omaha, Nebraska
Died: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, February 21, 1965, Audubon Ballroom, Harlem, New York City
In honor of Mr. X's birthday on the 19th, I have posted the text from this week's Black Commentator, which was taken from his "Chickens Come Home To Roost" speech. Delivered shortly after the assassination of late President JFK Jr., this speech resulted in the Honorable Elijah Mohammed's censoring and 90-day silencing of Malcolm. This censoring, combined with the back-biting of his brothers in the movement (and a few narrowly-avoided attempts on his life) resulted in Malcolm leaving the Nation of Islam. Those who are scholars of Mr. X's speeches will indeed notice a few of his oft-repeated analogies and allegories: my personal favorate is always the reference to conservative white politicians as "wolves," and white liberal politicians as "foxes," which he also used in his earlier "Bullet or the Ballot" speech. Others may note his continued criticism of the 1963 March on Washington, referred by Malcolm in his own words as "The Farce on Washington."
New York City, December 4, 1963
Edited by Benjamin Karim
When this speech was delivered, Malcolm X was at the height of his influence as a minister and spokesman for the Nation of Islam. He was largely credited with increasing NOI national membership to 30,000 from an estimated 500 in 1952, the year Malcolm left prison as a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Shortly after making this speech, Malcolm was asked his opinion on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the previous month. Malcolm replied that Kennedy “never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon" – the reason some call this Malcolm’s “Chickens Come Home To Roost” speech. The remark set off a firestorm, leading Elijah Muhammad to sentence his spokesman to 90 days of silence. Malcolm formally broke with the NOI in March 1964, to found the Muslim Mosque, Inc. (See the Malcolm X Web Site.)
Benjamin Karim, Malcolm’s Assistant Minister, edited this speech. We have taken the liberty of beginning the text about one-third the way into the speech.
Click here to view complete printable image of BC's Malcolm X tribute
White America is doomed! Death and devastating destruction hang at this very moment in the skies over America. But why must her divine execution take place? Is it too late for her to avoid this catastrophe?
All the prophets of the past listed America as number one among the guilty that would be too proud, and too blind, to repent and atone when God's last Messenger is raised in her midst to warn her. America's last chance, her last warning, is coming from the lips of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad today. Accept him and be saved; reject him and be damned!
It is written that White America will reject him; it is also written that White America will be damned and doomed ... and the prophets who make these prophecies are never wrong in their divine predictions.
White America refuses to study, reflect, and learn a lesson from history; ancient Egypt didn't have to be destroyed. It was her corrupt government, the crooked politicians, who caused her destruction. Pharaoh hired Hebrew magicians to try and fool their own people into thinking they would soon be integrated into the mainstream of that country's life. Pharaoh didn't want the Hebrews to listen to Moses' message of separation. Even in that day separation was God's solution to the "slave's problem." By opposing Moses, the magicians were actually choosing sides against the God of their own people.
In like manner, modern Negro magicians are hired by the American government to oppose The Honorable Elijah Muhammad today. They pose as Negro "leaders." They have been hired by this white government (white so-called liberals) to make our people here think that integration into this doomed white society will soon solve our problem.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad warns us daily: The only permanent solution to America's race problem is the complete separation of these twenty-two million ex-slaves from our white slave master, and the return of these ex-slaves to our own land, where we can then live in peace and security among our people.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad warns us daily: The American government is trying to trick her twenty-two million ex-slaves with promises that she never intends to keep. The crooked politicians in the government are working with the Negro civil rights leaders, but not to solve the race problem. The greedy politicians who run this government give lip service to the civil rights struggle only to further their own selfish interests. And their main interest as politicians is to stay in power.
In this deceitful American game of power politics, the Negroes (i.e., the race problem, the integration and civil rights issues) are nothing but tools, used by one group of whites called Liberals against another group of whites called Conservatives, either to get into power or to remain in power.
Among whites here in America, the political teams are no longer divided into Democrats and Republicans. The whites who are now struggling for control of the American political throne are divided into "liberal" and "conservative" camps. The white liberals from both parties cross party lines to work together toward the same goal, and white conservatives from both parties do likewise.
The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way: the liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative.
Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro's friend and benefactor; and by winning the friendship, allegiance, and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political "football game" that is constantly raging between the white liberals and white conservatives.
Politically the American Negro is nothing but a football and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball through tricks of tokenism: false promises of integration and civil rights. In this profitable game of deceiving and exploiting the politics of the American Negro, those white liberals have the willing cooperation of the Negro civil rights leaders. These "leaders" sell out our people for just a few crumbs of token recognition and token gains. These "leaders" are satisfied with token victories and token progress because they themselves are nothing but token leaders.
According to a New York Herald-Tribune editorial (dated February 5,1960), out of eleven million qualified Negro voters, only 2,700,000 actually took time to vote. This means that, roughly speaking, only three million of the eleven million Negroes who are qualified to vote actually take an active part. The remaining eight million remain voluntarily inactive ... and yet this small (three million) minority of Negro voters hold the decisive edge in determining who will be the next President.
If who will be the next President is influenced by only three million Negro voters, it is easy to understand why the presidential candidates of both political parties put on such a false show with the Civil Rights Bill and with false promises of integration. They must impress the three million voting Negroes who are the actual "integration seekers."
If such a fuss is made over these three million "integration seekers," what would presidential candidates have to do to appease the eight million nonvoting Negroes, if they ever decide to become politically active?
Who are the eight million nonvoting Negroes; what do they want, and why don't they vote?
The three million Negro voters are the so-called middle-class Negroes, referred to by the late Howard University sociologist, E. Franklin Frazier, as the "black bourgeoisie," who have been educated to think as patriotic "individualists," with no racial pride, and who therefore look forward hopefully to the future "integrated-intermarried" society promised them by the white liberals and the Negro "leaders." It is with this hope that the "integration-minded" three million remain an active part of the white-controlled political parties. But it must never be overlooked that these three million "integration seekers" are only a small minority of the eleven million potential Negro voters.
The eight million nonvoting Negroes are in the majority; they are the downtrodden black masses. The black masses have refused to vote, or to take part in politics, because they reject the Uncle Tom approach of the Negro leadership that has been handpicked for them by the white man.
These Uncle Tom leaders do not speak for the Negro majority; they don't speak for the black masses. They speak for the "black bourgeoisie," the brainwashed, white-minded, middle-class minority who are ashamed of black, and don't want to be identified with the black masses, and are therefore seeking to lose their "black identity" by mixing, mingling, intermarrying, and integrating with the white man.
The race problem can never be solved by listening to this white-minded minority. The white man should try to learn what the black masses want, and the only way to learn what the black masses want is by listening to the man who speaks for the black masses of America. The one man here in America who speaks for the downtrodden, dissatisfied black masses is this same man so many of our people are flocking to see and hear. This same Mr. Muhammad who is labeled by the white man as a black supremacist and as a racist.
If the three million white-minded Negroes are casting their ballots for integration and intermarriage, what do the nonvoting black masses want? Find out what the black masses want, and then perhaps America's grave race problem can be solved.
Think how the late President himself got into office by only scant margin which was "donated" to him by Negro voters, and think how many governors and other white politicians hold their seats (some by less than five thousand votes). Only then can you understand the importance of these white liberals place on their control of the Negro vote!
The white liberals hate The Honorable Elijah Muhammad because they know their present position in the power structure stems form their ability to deceive and to exploit the Negro, politically as well as economically.
They know that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad's divine message will make our people (1) wake up, (2) clean up, (3) stand up. They know that once The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is able to resurrect the Negro from this mental grave of ignorance, by teaching him the truth about himself and his real enemy, the Negro will then be able to see and think for himself. Once the Negro learns to think for himself, he will no longer allow the white liberal to use him as a helpless football in the white man's crooked game of "power politics."
Let us examine briefly some of the tricky strategy used by white liberals to harness and exploit the political energies of the Negro.
The crooked politicians in Washington, D.C., purposely make a big noise over the proposed civil rights legislation. By blowing up the civil rights issue they skillfully add false importance to the Negro civil rights "leaders." Once the image of these Negro civil rights "leaders" has been blown up way beyond its proper proportion, these same Negro civil rights "leaders" are then used by white liberals to influence and control the Negro voters, all for the benefit of the white politicians who pose as liberals, who pose as friends of the Negro.
The white conservatives aren't friends of the Negro either, but they at least don't try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the "smiling" fox.
The job of the Negro civil rights leader is to make the Negro forget that the wolf and the fox both belong to the (same) family. Both are canines; and no matter which one of them the Negro places his trust in, he never ends up in the White House, but always in the dog house.
The white liberals control the Negro and the Negro vote by controlling the Negro civil rights leaders. As long as they control the Negro civil rights leaders, they can also control and contain the Negro's struggle, and they can control the Negro's so-called revolt.
The Negro "revolution" is controlled by these foxy white liberals, by the government itself. But the black revolution is controlled only by God.
The black revolution is the struggle of the nonwhites of this earth against their white oppressors. The black revolution has swept white supremacy out of Africa, out of Asia, and is getting ready to sweep it out of Latin America. Revolutions are based upon land. Revolutionaries are the landless against the landlord. Revolutions are never peaceful, never loving, never nonviolent. Nor are they ever compromising. Revolutions are destructive and bloody. Revolutionaries don't compromise with the enemy; they don't even negotiate. Like the flood in Noah's day, revolution drowns all opposition, or like the fire in Lot's day, the black revolution burns everything that gets in its path.
America is the last stronghold of white supremacy. The black revolution, which is international in nature and scope is sweeping down upon America like a raging forest fire. It is only a matter of time before America herself will be engulfed by the black flames, these black firebrands.
Whenever an uncontrollable forest fire is roaring down upon the farmhouse, the only way the farmer can fight that forest fire is by building a "backfire," a smaller fire that he himself can control. He then uses this "controlled fire" to fight the fire that is raging beyond his control.
Here in America, the black revolution (the "uncontrollable forest fire") is personified in the religious teachings, and the religious works, of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. This great man of God cannot in any way be controlled by the white man, and he will not compromise in any way with the wrongs this government has inflicted upon our people.
The Negro "revolt" is controlled by the white man, the white fox. The Negro "revolution" is controlled by this white government. The leaders of the Negro "revolution" (the civil rights leaders) are all subsidized, influenced and controlled by the white liberals; and all of the demonstrations that are taking place on this country to desegregate lunch counters, theaters, public toilets, etc., are just artificial fires that have been ignited and fanned by the white liberals in the desperate hope that they can use this artificial revolution to fight off the real black revolution that has already swept white supremacy out of Africa, Asia, and is sweeping it out of Latin America ... and is even now manifesting itself also right here among the black masses in this country.
Can we prove that the Negro revolution is controlled by white liberals? Certainly!
Right after the Birmingham demonstrations, when the entire world had seen on television screens the police dogs, police clubs, and fire hoses brutalizing defenseless black women, children, and even babies, it was reported on page twenty-six in the May 15 issue of The New York Times, that the late President Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, during a luncheon conference with several newspaper editors from the State of Alabama, had warned these editors that they must give at least some token gains to the moderate Negro leaders in order to enhance the image of these moderate Negro leaders in the eyesight of the black masses; otherwise the masses of Negroes might turn in the direction of Negro extremists. And the late President named the Black Muslims as being foremost among the Negro extremist groups that he did not want Negroes to turn toward.
In essence, the late President told these southern editors that he was trying to build up the weak image of the Negro civil rights leaders, in order to offset the strong religious image of the Muslim leader, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He wasn't giving these Negro leaders anything they deserved; but he was confessing the necessity of building them up, and propping them up, in order to hold the black masses in check, keep them in his grasp, and under his control.
The late President knew that once Negroes heard The Honorable Elijah Muhammad the white liberals will never influence or control or misuse those Negroes for the benefit of the white liberals any more. So the late President was faced with a desperate situation.
Martin Luther King's image had been shattered the previous year when he failed to bring about desegregation in Albany, Georgia. The other civil rights leaders had also become fallen idols. The black masses across the country at the grass roots level had already begun to take their cases to the streets on their own. The government in Washington knew that something had to be done to get the rampaging Negroes back into the corral, back under the control of the white liberals.
The government propaganda machine began encouraging Negroes to follow only what it called "responsible" Negro leaders. The government actually meant, Negro leaders who were responsible to the government, and who could therefore by controlled by the government, and be used by that same government to control their impatient people.
The government knows that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is responsible only to God and can be controlled only by God. But this white government of America doesn't believe in God!
Let us review briefly what happened last spring: In May in Birmingham, Negroes erupted and retaliated against the whites. During the many long weeks when the police dogs and police clubs and the high-pressure water hoses were brutalizing black women and children and babies, and the Birmingham Negroes had called for the government to intervene with Federal troops, the late President did nothing but sit on his hands. He said there was nothing he could do. But when Negroes in Birmingham exploded and began to defend themselves, the late President then sent in Federal troops, not to defend the Negroes, but to defend the whites against whom the Negroes had finally retaliated.
At this point, spontaneous demonstrations began taking place all over the country. At the grass roots level Negroes began to talk about marching on Washington, tying up the Congress, the Senate, the White House, and even the airport. They threatened to bring this government to a halt. This frightened the entire white power structure.
The late President called in the Negro civil rights leaders and told them to bring this "march" to a halt. The Negro civil rights leaders were forced to tell the late President that they couldn't stop the march because they hadn't started it. It was spontaneous, at the grass roots level across the country, and it had no leadership whatsoever.
When the late President saw that he couldn't stop the march, he joined; he endorsed it; he welcomed it; he became a part of it; and it was he who put the six Negro civil rights leaders at the head of it. It was he who made them the Big Six.
How did he do it? How did he gain control of the March on Washington? A study of his shrewd strategy will give you a glimpse of the political genius with which the Kennedy family was ruling this country from the White House, and how they used the American Negro in all of their schemes.
The late President endorsed the march; that should have been the tip-off. A few days later in New York City, at the Carlysle Hotel, a philanthropic society known as the Taconic Foundation, headed by a shrewd white liberal named Stephen Currier, called a meeting of the six civil rights leaders in an effort to bring unity of action and purpose among all the civil rights groups.
After Martin Luther King had been released from his Birmingham jail cell in May, he traveled from coast to coast in a fund-raising campaign for his Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Roy Wilkins then began to attack King, accusing him of stirring up trouble, saying that after the NAACP would bail out King and the other demonstrators, then King would capitalize on the trouble by taking up all the money for his own organization, leaving the NAACP to hold the bag at a great financial loss.
As King, Wilkins, and the other civil rights leaders began to fight publicly among themselves over the money they were trying to get from the white liberals, they were destroying their own leadership "image."
The white liberal, Stephen Currier, showed them how they were destroying themselves by attacks upon each other, and it was suggested that, since most of their divisions and disagreements stemmed from competition for funds from white liberals, they should unite their fund raising efforts. Then they formed the Council for the United Civil Rights Leadership, under the pretext that it would be for fund-raising purposes. They chose the Urban League's Whitney Young as the chairman, and the white liberal Stephen Currier became the co-chairman.
It took the white man to bring those Negro leaders together and to unite them into one group. He let them select their own chairman, but he himself became the co-chairman. This shrewd maneuver placed the white liberal and the Taconic Foundation in the position to exercise influence and control over the six civil rights leaders and, by working through them, to control the entire civil rights movement, including the March on Washington.
(It also put the white liberals in a position to force the Big Six to come out against the recently proposed Christmas boycott by threatening to withdraw their financial support from the civil rights drive.)
According to the August 4 edition of The New York Times, $800,000 was split up between these six Negro civil rights leaders on June 19 at the Carlysle Hotel, and another $700,000 was promised to be given to them at a later date after the march was over, if everything went well with the march.
Public relations experts were made available to these "Six Big Negroes," and they were given access to the news media throughout the country. The press skillfully projected them as the leaders of the March on Washington, and as soon as the Big Six were looked upon in the public eye as the organizers of the march, their first step was to invite four white "leaders" to become a part of the march "godhead." This group of leaders would supposedly okay all the plans and thereby control the "direction and the mood" of the march.
These four white "leaders" represented the same factions that had put the late President in the White House: Catholics, Jews, Labor, and Protestant liberals. When the late President had learned that he couldn't stop the march, he not only joined it himself but he encouraged all of his political bedfellows to join it. This is the way the white liberals took over the March on Washington, weakened its impact, and changed its course; by changing the participants and the contents, they were able to change the very nature of the march itself.
Example: If I have a cup of coffee that is too strong for me because it is too black, I weaken it by pouring cream into it. I integrate it with cream. If I keep pouring enough cream in the coffee, pretty soon the entire flavor of the coffee is changed; the very nature of the coffee is changed. If enough cream is poured in, eventually you don't even know that I had coffee in this cup. This is what happened with the March on Washington. The whites didn't integrate it; they infiltrated it. Whites joined it; they engulfed it; they became so much a part of it, it lost its original flavor. It ceased to be a black march; it ceased to be militant; it ceased to be angry; it ceased to be impatient. In fact, it ceased to be a march. It became a picnic, an outing with a festive, circus-like atmosphere ... CLOWNS AND ALL.
The government had learned that in cases where the demonstrators are predominantly black, they are extremely militant, and oft-times very violent. But to the same degree that whites participate, violence most times is decreased. The government knew that in cases wherein blacks were demonstrating all by themselves, those blacks are so dissatisfied, disenchanted, and angry at the white man that they will oft-times strike back violently regardless of the odds or the consequences. The white government had learned that the only way to hold these black people in check is by joining them, by infiltrating their ranks disguised as integrationists; by integrating their marches and all their demonstrations, and weakening them: in this way only could they be held in check.
The government told the marchers what time to arrive in Washington, where to arrive, and how to arrive. The government then channeled them from the arrival point to the feet of a dead President, George Washington, and then let them march from there to the feet of another dead President, Abraham Lincoln.
The original black militants had planned to march on the White House, the Senate, and the Congress and to bring all political traffic on Capitol Hill to a halt, but the shrewd politicians in Washington, realizing that those original black militants could not be stopped, joined them. By joining the marchers, the white liberals were able to lead the marchers away from the White House, the Senate, the Congress, Capitol Hill, and away from victory. By keeping them marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Monument, marching between the feet of two dead Presidents, they never reached the White House to see the then living President.
The entire march was controlled by the late president. The government in Washington had told the marchers what signs to carry, what songs to sing, what speeches to make, and what speeches not to make, and then told the marchers to be sure to get out of town by sundown.
One of the Big Six leaders, John Lewis, chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, was prevented from making a very militant speech. He wanted to attack the Kennedy administration for its hypocrisy on civil rights.
The speech was censored by the Rt. Rev. Patrick O'Boyle, the Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C. This was a case in which the Catholic Church itself, for whom Rev. O'Boyle speaks, put itself in the position of censoring the legitimate opinion of one of the Big Six Negro civil rights leaders.
The late President's shrewd strategy was: If you can't beat them, join them. The Catholic President placed his Catholic bishop in a strategic position to exercise censorship over any one of the Big Six Negro leaders who tried to deviate from the script in this great "extravaganza" called the March on Washington which the government had controlled right from the very beginning.
So, in the final analysis of the march: It would have to be classified as the best performance of the year; in fact it was the greatest performance of this century. It topped anything that Hollywood could have produced.
If we were going to give out Academy Awards in 1963, we would have to give the late President an Oscar for the "Best Producer of the Year"; and to the four white liberals who participated should go an Oscar as the "Best Actors of the Year," because they really acted like sincere liberals and fooled many Negroes. And to the six Negro civil rights leaders should go an Oscar for the "Best Supporting Cast," because they supported the late President in his entire act, and in his entire program.
Now that the show is over, the black masses are still without land, without jobs, and without homes ... their Christian churches are still being bombed, their innocent little girls murdered. So what did the March on Washington accomplish? Nothing!
The late President has a bigger image as a liberal, the other whites who participated have bigger liberal images also, and the Negro civil rights leaders have now been permanently named the Big Six (because of their participation in the Big Fix?) ... but the black masses are still unemployed, still starving, and still living in the slums ... and, I might add, getting angrier and more explosive every day.
History must repeat itself! Because of America's evil deeds against these twenty-two million "Negroes," like Egypt and Babylon before her, America herself now stands before the "bar of justice." White America is now facing her Day of Judgment, and she can't escape because today God himself is the judge. God himself is now the administrator of justice, and God himself is to be her divine executor!
Is it possible for America to escape this divine disaster? If America can't atone for the crimes she has committed against the twenty-two million "Negroes," if she can't undo the evils she has brutally and mercilessly heaped upon our people these past four hundred years, then America has signed her own doom ... and our own people would be foolish to accept her deceitful offers of integration into her doomed society at this late date!
How can America atone for her crimes? The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that a desegregated theater or lunch counter won't solve our problems. Better jobs won't even solve our problems. An integrated cup of coffee isn't sufficient pay for four hundred years of slave labor, and a better job in the white man's factory or position in his business is, at best, only a temporary solution. The only lasting or permanent solution is complete separation on some land that we can call our own.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that the race problem can easily be solved, just by sending these twenty-two million ex-slaves back to our own homeland where we can live in peace and harmony with our own kind. But this government should provide the transportation, plus everything else we need to get started again in our own country. This government should provide everything we need in machinery, materials, and finance; enough to last us for from twenty to twenty-five years, until we can become an independent people in our own country.
If this white government is afraid to let her twenty-two million ex-slaves go back to our country and to our own people, then America must set aside some separate territory here in the Western Hemisphere, where the two races can live apart from each other, since we certainly don't get along peacefully while we are here together.
The size of the territory can be judged according to our own population. If our people number one-seventh of America's total population, then give us one-seventh of this land. We don't want any land in the desert, but where there is rain and much mineral wealth.
We want fertile, productive land on which we can farm and provide our own people with sufficient food, clothing, and shelter. This government must supply us with the machinery and other tools needed to dig into the earth. Give us everything we need for them for from twenty to twenty-five years, until we can produce and supply our own needs.
If we are a part of America, then part of what she is worth belongs to us. We will take our share and depart, then this white country can have peace. What is her net worth? Give us our share in gold and silver and let us depart and go back to our homeland in peace.
We want no integration with this wicked race that enslaved us. We want complete separation from this race of devils. But we should not be expected to leave America and go back to our homeland empty-handed. After four hundred years of slave labor, we have some back pay coming, a bill owed to us that must be collected.
If the government of White America truly repents of its sins against our people, and atones by giving us our true share, only then can America save herself!
But if America waits for Almighty God himself to step in and force her into a just settlement, God will take this entire continent away from her; and she will cease to exist as a nation. Her own Christian Scriptures warn her that when God comes He can give the "entire Kingdom to whomsoever He will" ... which only means that the God of Justice on Judgment Day can give this entire continent to whomsoever He wills!
White America, wake up and take heed, before it is too late!
My questions for discusssion:
Do you feel that there is still a need for a militant Civil Right's struggle in this country? If so, on what basis, and what messages does this movement need to deliver? If not, why not?
How much accuracy do you attribute to Malcom's take on "The Farce on Washington"?
Do you see the formation of a separate "Black" state as a solution to the issues that Malcolm illustrated in the 1960's? What about present-day America?