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African American History

(1963) Malcolm X, “Message to the Grassroots”

Malcolm X, Martin Luther King press conference, March 26, 1964 Public Domain photo by Marion S. Trikosko, Courtesy Library of Congress (2003688131) On December 10, 1963, while still the leading spokesman for the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X gave a speech at a rally in Detroit, Michigan.  That speech outlined his basic black nationalist philosophy …

African American History

(1964) Malcolm X’s Speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity

Malcolm X’s life changed dramatically in the first six months of 1964.  On March 8, he left the Nation of Islam.  In May he toured West Africa and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, returning as El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.  While in Ghana in May, he decided to form the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).  Malcolm …

African American History

(1964) Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet”

By March 1964, Malcolm X had broken with the Nation of Islam.  In the speech below, given on April 3, 1964 in Cleveland, Ohio he explains his departure and his reason for establishing a separation between his religion and his politics.  He also makes clear that those politics are still rooted in black nationalism and …