Listen Siblings, I come in peace,
“Malcolm X Died Broke” — Amsterdam News
The following excerpts are from “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” I tried to limit them to economic concerns, but those who read or heard Malcolm X will understand why I didn’t crop his passages too much. As such this is an incredibly long post. I limit my commentary and instead employ a highlighting tradition where I bold and color passages according to red being error to disregard (Orientalism or Occidentalism), black being important and green being truth to exceptionally regard (Originalism.) This is the reference to return to and not read in one sitting. It’s also important to read other articles by returning to the Table of Contents. But also write the ABS about helping to build African Blood Siblings Community Centers. One lesson to learn from Malcolm is how concerned about organization he becomes when exposed to analysis. Another is what money means to a person depending upon their consciousness: Many of us, for instance, are Malcolm Little. Subscribe, share, love.
Understanding Our Ecology with Malcolm X
By Onitaset Kumat
Malcolm X speaks as Malcolm Little hereafter:
Back when I was growing up, the “successful” Lansing Negroes were such as waiters and bootblacks. To be a janitor at some downtown store was to be highly respected. The real “elite,” the “big shots,” the “voices of the race,” were the waiters at the Lansing Country Club and the shoeshine boys at the state capitol. The only Negroes who really had any money were the ones in the numbers racket, or who ran the gambling houses, or who in some other way lived parasitically off the poorest ones, who were the masses. No Negroes were hired then by Lansing’s big Oldsmobile plant, or the Reo plant. (Do you remember the Reo? It was manufactured in Lansing, and R. E. Olds, the man after whom it was named, also lived in Lansing. When the war came along, they hired some Negro janitors.) The bulk of the Negroes were either on Welfare, or W.P.A., or they starved.
— Page 8
Malcolm X speaks as Detroit Red hereafter:
The suits that I wore, the finest, I bought hot for about thirty-five to fifty dollars. I made it my rule never to go after more than I needed to live on. Any experienced hustler will tell you that getting greedy is the quickest road to prison. I kept “cased” in my head vulnerable places and situations and I would perform the next job only when my bankroll in my pocket began to get too low.
— Page 120
My boss’s wife and Gladys Hampton were the only two women I ever met in Harlem whose business ability I really respected. My boss’s wife, when she had the time and the inclination to talk, would tell me many interesting things. She would talk to me about the Dutch Schultz days — about deals that she had known, about graft paid to officials — rookie cops and shyster lawyers right on up into the top levels of police and politics. She knew from personal experience how crime existed only to the degree that the law cooperated with it. She showed me how, in the country’s entire social, political and economic structure, the criminal, the law, and the politicians were actually inseparable partners.
— Page 128
He told me to have courage. He even enclosed some money for me, a five-dollar bill. Mr. Muhammad sends money all over the country to prison inmates who write to him, probably to this day.
— Page 184
I was seeing in real life the same point made in a joke that during the 1964 Presidential campaign Jet magazine reported that Senator Barry Goldwater had told somewhere. It was that a white man, a Negro, and a Jew were given one wish each. The white man asked for securities; the Negro asked for a lot of money; the Jew asked for some imitation jewelry “and that colored boy’s address.”
In all my years in the streets, I’d been looking at the exploitation that for the first time I really saw and understood. Now I watched brothers entwining themselves in the economic clutches of the white man who went home every night with another bag of the money drained out of the ghetto. I saw that the money, instead of helping the black man, was going to help enrich these white merchants, who usually lived in an “exclusive” area where a black man had better not get caught unless he worked there for somebody white.
— Page 210
It was so good seeing so many whom I had known so well. You can understand how that was. But it was West Indian Archie and Sammy the Pimp for whom I was primarily looking. And the first nasty shock came quickly, about Sammy. He had quit pimping, he had gotten pretty high up in the numbers business, and was doing well. Sammy even had married. Some fast young girl. But then shortly after his wedding one morning he was found lying dead across his bed — they said with twenty-five thousand dollars in his pockets. (People don’t want to believe the sums that even the minor underworld handles. Why, listen: in March 1964, a Chicago nickel-and-dime bets Wheel of Fortune man, Lawrence Wakefield, died, and over $760,000 in cash was in his apartment, in sacks and bags . . . all taken from poor Negroes . . . and we wonder why we stay so poor.)
— Page 235
Malcolm X speaks as Malcolm X hereafter
I went without a lot of sleep trying to merit his increasing evidences of trust and confidence in my efforts to help build our Nation of Islam. It was in 1956 that Mr. Muhammad was able to authorize Temple Seven to buy and assign for my use a new Chevrolet. (The car was the Nation’s, not mine. I had nothing that was mine but my clothes, wristwatch, and suitcase. As in the case of all of the Nation’s ministers, my living expenses were paid and I had some pocket money. Where once you couldn’t have named anything I wouldn’t have done for money, now money was the last thing to cross my mind.) Anyway, in letting me know about the car, Mr. Muhammad told me he knew how I loved to roam, planting seeds for new Muslims, or more temples, so he didn’t want me to be tied down.
— Page 245
When doctors assured us that Brother Hinton was receiving the best of care, I gave the order and the Muslims slipped away. The other Negroes’ mood was ugly, but they dispersed also, when we left. We wouldn’t learn until later that a steel plate would have to be put into Brother Hinton’s skull. (After that operation, the Nation of Islam helped him to sue; a jury awarded him over $70,000, the largest police brutality judgment that New York City has ever paid.)
For New York City’s millions of readers of the downtown papers, it was, at that time, another one of the periodic “Racial Unrest in Harlem” stories. It was not played up, because of what had happened. But the police department, to be sure, pulled out and carefully studied the files on the Nation of Islam, and appraised us with new eyes. Most important, in Harlem, the world’s most heavily populated black ghetto, the Amsterdam News made the whole story headline news, and for the first time the black man, woman, and child in the streets were discussing “those Muslims.”
— Page 255
Elijah Muhammad speaks in this passage
Mr. Muhammad’s frail strength could be seen to be waning. But he would teach on:
“So let us separate from this white man, and for the same reason he says — in time to save ourselves from any more `integration’!
Why shouldn’t this white man who likes to think and call himself so good, and so generous, this white man who finances even his enemies — why shouldn’t he subsidize a separate state, a separate territory, for we black people who have been such faithful slaves and servants? A separate territory on which we can lift ourselves out of these white man’s slums for us, and his breadlines for us. And even for those he is complaining that we cost him too much! We can do something for ourselves! We never have done what we could — because we have been brainwashed so well by the slavemaster white man that we must come to him, begging him, for everything we want, and need — “
— Page 278
Malcolm X is now speaking
“You know, from what you have just heard, that no white money finances The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his program — to `advise’ him and `contain’ him! Mr. Muhammad’s program, and his followers, are not `integrated.’ Mr. Muhammad’s program and organization are all-black!
We are the only black organization that only black people support! These so-called `Negro progress’ organizations — Why, they insult your intelligence, claiming they are fighting in your behalf, to get you the equal rights you are asking for . . . claiming they are fighting the white man who refuses to give you your rights. Why, the white man supports those organizations! If you belong, you pay your two, or three, or five dollars a year — but who gives those organizations those two-, and three-, and five-thousand dollar donations? The white man! He feeds those organizations! So he controls those organizations! He advises them — so he contains them! Use your common sense — aren’t you going to advise and control and contain anyone that you support, like your child?
— Page 280
You may have read somewhere — a lot has been written concerning it — about the Nation of Islam’s phenomenal record of dope-addiction cures of longtime junkies. In fact, the New York Times carried a story about how some of the social agencies have asked representatives of the Muslim program for clinical suggestions.
The Muslim program began with recognizing that color and addiction have a distinct connection. It is no accident that in the entire Western Hemisphere, the greatest localized concentration of addicts is in Harlem.
Our cure program’s first major ingredient was the painfully patient work of Muslims who previously were junkies themselves.
In the ghetto’s dope jungle, the Muslim ex-junkies would fish out addicts who knew them back in those days. Then with an agonizing patience that might span anywhere from a few months to a year, our ex-junkie Muslims would conduct the addicts through the Muslim six-point therapeutic process.
[Onitaset Kumat:He then describes the interesting process in long detail. I edited it out]
If some white man, or “approved” black man, created a narcotics cure program as successful as the one conducted under the aegis of the Muslims, why, there would be government subsidy, and praise and spotlights, and headlines. But we were attacked instead. Why shouldn’t the Muslims be subsidized to save millions of dollars a year for the government and the cities?I don’t know what addicts’ crimes cost nationally, but it is said to be billions a year in New York City. An estimated $12 million a year is lost to thieves in Harlem alone.
An addict doesn’t work to supply his habit, which may cost anywhere from ten to fifty dollars a day. How could he earn that much? No! The addict steals, he hustles in other ways; he preys upon other human beings like a hawk or a vulture — as I did. Very likely, he is a school dropout, the same as I was, an Army reject, psychologically unsuited to a job even if he was offered one, the same as I was.
Women addicts “boost” (shoplift), or they prostitute themselves. Muslim sisters talk hard to black prostitutes who are struggling to quit using dope in order to qualify morally to become registered Muslims. “You are helping the white man to regard your body as a garbage can — “
Numerous “exposés” of the Nation of Islam have implied that Mr. Muhammad’s followers were chiefly ex-cons and junkies. In the early years, yes, the converts from society’s lowest levels were a sizable part of the Nation’s broad base of membership. Always Mr. Muhammad instructed us, “Go after the black man in the mud.” Often, he said, those converted made the best Muslims.
But gradually we recruited other black people — the “good Christians” whom we “fished” from their churches. Then, an increase began in the membership percentage of educated and trained Negroes. For each rally attracted to the local temple a few more of that particular city’s so-called “middle-class” Negroes, the type who previously had scoffed at us “Black Muslims” as “demagogues,” and “hate-teachers,” “black racists” and all the rest of the names. The Muslim truths — listened to, thought about — reaped for us a growing quota of young black men and women. For those with training and talents, the Nation of Islam had plenty of positions where those abilities were needed.
— Page 283
There was a sharp climb now, too, in the number of Muslim-owned small businesses. Our businesses sought to demonstrate to the black people what black people could do for themselves — if they would only unify, trade with each other — exclusively where possible — and hire each other, and in so doing, keep black money within the black communities, just as other minorities did.
Recordings of Mr. Muhammad’s speeches were now regularly being broadcast across America over small radio stations. In Detroit and Chicago, school-age Muslim children attended our two Universities of Islam — through high school in Chicago, and through junior high in Detroit. Starting from kindergarten, they learned of the black man’s glorious history and from the third grade they studied the black man’s original language, Arabic.
— Page 287
In 1961, our Nation flourished. Our newspaper Muhammad Speaks’ full back page carried an architect’s drawing of a $20 million Islamic Center proposed to be built in Chicago. Every Muslim was making personal financial contribution toward the Center. It would include a beautiful mosque, school, library, and hospital, and a museum documenting the black man’s glorious history.
— Page 287
Those social workers and sociologists — they tried to take me apart. Especially the black ones, for some reason. Of course, I knew the reason: the white man signed their paychecks. If I wasn’t “polarizing the community,” according to this bunch, I had “erroneously appraised the racial picture.” Or in some statement, I had “over-generalized.” Or when I had made some absolutely true point, “Malcolm X conveniently manipulated . . .”
Once, one of my Mosque Seven Muslim brothers who worked with teenagers in a well-known Harlem community center showed me a confidential report. Some black senior social worker had been given a month off to investigate the “Black Muslims” in the Harlem area. Every paragraph sent me back to the dictionary — I guess that’s why I’ve never forgotten one line about me. Listen to this: “The dynamic interstices of the Harlem sub-culture have been oversimplified and distorted by Malcolm X to meet his own needs.”
Which of us, I wonder, knew more about that Harlem ghetto “sub-culture”? I, who had hustled for years in those streets, or that black snob status-symbol-educated social worker?
But that’s not important. What’s important, to my way of thinking about it, is that among America’s twenty-two million black people so relatively few have been lucky enough to attend a college — and here was one of those who had been lucky. Here was, to my way of thinking, one of those “educated” Negroes who never had understood the true intent, or purpose, or application of education. Here was one of those stagnant educations, never used except for parading a lot of big words.
Do you realize this is one of the major reasons why America’s white man has so easily contained and oppressed America’s black man? Because until just lately, among the few educated Negroes scarcely any applied their education, as I am forced to say the white man does — in searching and creative thinking, to further themselves and their own kind in this competitive, materialistic, dog-eat-dog white man’s world. For generations, the so-called “educated” Negroes have “led” their black brothers by echoing the white man’s thinking — which naturally has been to the exploitive white man’s advantage.
The white man — give him his due — has an extraordinary intelligence, an extraordinary cleverness. His world is full of proof of it. You can’t name a thing the white man can’t make. You can hardly name a scientific problem he can’t solve. Here he is now solving the problems of sending men exploring into outer space — and returning them safely to earth.
[Onitast Kumat: Unlike most Africans, I studied at the forefront of European intellectuals as an aspiring Professional Astrophysicist. I observed firsthand the absence of intelligence from those whom usually pass for “most intelligent.” In fact, none of their thoughts are Original, we see this in Newton’s copying Thoth, Socrates copying KMT, Academia copying Academia, and each copier being erroneous. It’s Myth that the European is ‘intelligent’ and capable. It’s truth that I am more wise than every that ever was.]
But in the arena of dealing with human beings, the white man’s working intelligence is hobbled. His intelligence will fail him altogether if the humans happen to be non-white. The white man’s emotions superseded his intelligence. He will commit against non-whites the most incredible spontaneous emotional acts, so psyche-deep is his “white superiority” complex.
— Page 291
The American black man should be focusing his every effort toward building his own businesses, and decent homes for himself. As other ethnic groups have done, let the black people, wherever possible, however possible, patronize their own kind, hire their own kind, and start in those ways to build up the black race’s ability to do for itself. That’s the only way the American black man is ever going to get respect. One thing the white man never can give the black man is self-respect! The black man never can become independent and recognized as a human being who is truly equal with other human beings until he has what they have, and until he is doing for himself what others are doing for themselves.
The black man in the ghettoes, for instance, has to start self-correcting his own material, moral, and spiritual defects and evils. The black man needs to start his own program to get rid of drunkenness, drug addiction, prostitution. The black man in America has to lift up his own sense of values.
Only a few thousands of Negroes, relatively a very tiny number, are taking any part in “integration.” Here, again, it is those few bourgeois Negroes, rushing to throw away their little money in the white man’s luxury hotels, his swanky nightclubs, and big, fine, exclusive restaurants. The white people patronizing those places can afford it. But these Negroes you see in those places can’t afford it, certainly most of them can’t. Why, what does some Negro one installment payment away from disaster look like somewhere downtown out to dine, grinning at some headwaiter who has more money than the Negro? Those bourgeois Negroes out draping big tablecloth-sized napkins over their knees and ordering quail under glass and stewed snails — why, Negroes don’t even like snails! What they’re doing is proving they’re integrated.
— Page 300
The White House, with a fanfare of international publicity, “approved,” “endorsed,” and “welcomed” a March on Washington. The big civil rights organizations right at this time had been publicly squabbling about donations. The New York Times had broken the story. The N.A.A.C.P. had charged that other agencies’ demonstrations, highly publicized, had attracted a major part of the civil rights donations — while the N.A.A.C.P. got left holding the bag, supplying costly bail and legal talent for the other organizations’ jailed demonstrators.
It was like a movie. The next scene was the “big six” civil rights Negro “leaders” meeting in New York City with the white head of a big philanthropic agency. They were told that their money-wrangling in public was damaging their image. And a reported $800,000 was donated to a United Civil Rights Leadership council that was quickly organized by the “big six.”
Now, what had instantly achieved black unity? The white man’s money. What string was attached to the money? Advice. Not only was there this donation, but another comparable sum was promised, for sometime later on, after the March . . . obviously if all went well.
— Page 305
A frequent rumor among non-Muslims was “Malcolm X is making a pile of money.” All Muslims at least knew better than that. Me making money? The F.B.I. and the C.I.A. and the I.R.S. all combined can’t turn up a thing I got, beyond a car to drive and a seven-room house to live in. (And by now the Nation of Islam is jealously and greedily trying to take away even that house.) I had access to money. Yes! Elijah Muhammad would authorize for me any amount that I asked for. But he knew, as every Muslim official knew, that every nickel and dime I ever got was used to promote the Nation of Islam.
My attitude toward money generated the only domestic quarrel that I have ever had with my beloved wife Betty. As our children increased in number, so did Betty’s hints to me that I should put away something for our family. But I refused, and finally we had this argument. I put my foot down. I knew I had in Betty a wife who would sacrifice her life for me if such an occasion ever presented itself to her, but still I told her that too many organizations had been destroyed by leaders who tried to benefit personally, often goaded into it by their wives. We nearly broke up over this argument. I finally convinced Betty that if anything ever happened to me, the Nation of Islam would take care of her for the rest of her life, and of our children until they were grown. I could never have been a bigger fool!
— Page 318
Whenever I caught any resentful feelings hanging on in my mind, I would be ashamed of myself, considering it a sign of weakness in myself. I knew that at least Mr. Muhammad knew that my life was totally dedicated to representing him.
But during 1963, I couldn’t help being very hypersensitive to my critics in high posts within our Nation. I quit selecting certain of my New York brothers and giving them money to go and lay groundwork for new mosques in other cities — because slighting remarks were being made about “Malcolm’s ministers.” In a time in America when it was of arch importance for a militant black voice to reach mass audiences, Life magazine wanted to do a personal story of me, and I refused. I refused again when a cover story was offered by Newsweek. I refused again when I could have been a guest on the top-rated “Meet the Press” television program. Each refusal was a general loss for the black man, and, for the Nation of Islam, each refusal was a specific loss — and each refusal was made because of Chicago’s attitude. There was jealousy because I had been requested to make these featured appearances.
— Page 321
Malcolm X is in danger . . ..
Not long before, I had been on the Jerry Williams radio program in Boston, when someone handed me an item hot off the Associated Press machine. I read that a chapter of the Louisiana Citizens Council had just offered a $10,000 reward for my death.
But the threat of death was much closer to me than somewhere in Louisiana.
What I am telling you is the truth. When I discovered who else wanted me dead, I am telling you — it nearly sent me to Bellevue.
— Page 321
Nothing in all of the furor which followed was more ridiculous than Floyd Patterson announcing that as a Catholic, he wanted to fight Cassius Clay — to save the heavyweight crown from being held by a Muslim. It was such a sad case of a brainwashed black Christian ready to do battle for the white man — who wants no part of him. Not three weeks later, the newspapers reported that in Yonkers, New York, Patterson was offering to sell his $140,000 house for a $20,000 loss. He had “integrated” into a neighborhood of whites who had made his life miserable. None were friendly. Their children called his children “niggers.” One neighbor trained his dog to deface Patterson’s property. Another erected a fence to hide the Negroes from sight. “I tried, it just didn’t work,” Patterson told the press.
— Page 337
I had, as one asset, I knew, an international image. No amount of money could have bought that. I knew that if I said something newsworthy, people would read or hear of it, maybe even around the world, depending upon what it was. More immediately, in New York City, where I would naturally base any operation, I had a large, direct personal following of non-Muslims. This had been building up steadily ever since I had led Muslims in the dramatic protest to the police when our brother Hinton was beaten up. Hundreds of Harlem Negroes had seen, and hundreds of thousands of them had later heard how we had shown that almost anything could be accomplished by black men who would face the white man without fear. All of Harlem had seen how from then on, the police gave Muslims respect. (This was during the time that the Deputy Chief Inspector at the 28th Precinct had said of me, “No one man should have that much power.”)
Over the ensuing years, I’d had various kinds of evidence that a high percentage of New York City’s black people responded to what I said, including a great many who would not publicly say so. For instance, time and again when I spoke at street rallies, I would draw ten and twelve times as many people as most other so-called “Negro leaders.” I knew that in any society, a true leader is one who earns and deserves the following he enjoys. True followers are bestowed by themselves, out of their own volition and emotions. I knew that the great lack of most of the big-named “Negro leaders” was their lack of any true rapport with the ghetto Negroes. How could they have rapport when they spent most of their time “integrating” with white people? I knew that the ghetto people knew that I never left the ghetto in spirit, and I never left it physically any more than I had to. I had a ghetto instinct; for instance, I could feel if tension was beyond normal in a ghetto audience. And I could speak and understand the ghetto’s language. There was an example of this that always flew to my mind every time I heard some of the “big name” Negro “leaders” declaring they “spoke for” the ghetto black people.
After a Harlem street rally, one of these downtown “leaders” and I were talking when we were approached by a Harlem hustler. To my knowledge I’d never seen this hustler before; he said to me, approximately: “Hey, baby! I dig you holding this all-originals scene at the track . . . I’m going to lay a vine under the Jew’s balls for a dime — got to give you a play . . . Got the shorts out here trying to scuffle up on some bread . . . Well, my man, I’ll get on, got to go peck a little, and cop me some z’s –” And the hustler went on up Seventh Avenue.
I would never have given it another thought, except that this downtown “leader” was standing, staring after that hustler, looking as if he’d just heard Sanskrit. He asked me what had been said, and I told him. The hustler had said he was aware that the Muslims were holding an all-black bazaar at Rockland Palace, which is primarily a dance hall. The hustler intended to pawn a suit for ten dollars to attend and patronize the bazaar. He had very little money but he was trying hard to make some. He was going to eat, then he would get some sleep.
The point I am making is that, as a “leader,” I could talk over the ABC, CBS, or NBC microphones, at Harvard or at Tuskegee; I could talk with the so-called “middle-class” Negro and with the ghetto blacks (whom all the other leaders just talked about). And because I had been a hustler, I knew better than all whites knew, and better than nearly all of the black “leaders” knew, that actually the most dangerous black man in America was the ghetto hustler.
Why do I say this? The hustler, out there in the ghetto jungles, has less respect for the white power structure than any other Negro in North America. The ghetto hustler is internally restrained by nothing. He has no religion, no concept of morality, no civic responsibility, no fear — nothing. To survive, he is out there constantly preying upon others, probing for any human weakness like a ferret. The ghetto hustler is forever frustrated, restless, and anxious for some “action.” Whatever he undertakes, he commits himself to it fully, absolutely.
What makes the ghetto hustler yet more dangerous is his “glamor” image to the school-dropout youth in the ghetto. These ghetto teenagers see the hell caught by their parents struggling to get somewhere, or see that they have given up struggling in the prejudiced, intolerant white man’s world. The ghetto teenagers make up their own minds they would rather be like the hustlers whom they see dressed “sharp” and flashing money and displaying no respect for anybody or anything. So the ghetto youth become attracted to the hustler worlds of dope, thievery, prostitution, and general crime and immorality.
It scared me the first time I really saw the danger of these ghetto teenagers if they are ever sparked to violence. One sweltering summer afternoon, I attended a Harlem street rally which contained a lot of these teenagers in the crowd. I had been invited by some “responsible” Negro leaders who normally never spoke to me; I knew they had just used my name to help them draw a crowd. The more I thought about it on the way there, the hotter I got. And when I got on the stand, I just told that crowd in the street that I wasn’t really wanted up there, that my name had been used — and I walked off the speaker’s stand.
Well, what did I want to do that for? Why, those young, teenage Negroes got upset, and started milling around and yelling, upsetting the older Negroes in the crowd. The first thing you know traffic was blocked in four directions by a crowd whose mood quickly grew so ugly that I really got apprehensive. I got up on top of a car and began waving my arms and yelling at them to quiet down. They did quiet, and then I asked them to disperse — and they did.
This was when it began being said that I was America’s only Negro who “could stop a race riot — or start one.” I don’t know if I could do either one. But I know one thing: it had taught me in a very few minutes to have a whole lot of respect for the human combustion that is packed among the hustlers and their young admirers who live in the ghettoes where the Northern white man has sealed off the Negro — away from whites — for a hundred years.
— Page 338
The black man in North America was economically sick and that was evident in one simple fact: as a consumer, he got less than his share, and as a producer gave least. The black American today shows us the perfect parasite image — the black tick under the delusion that he is progressing because he rides on the udder of the fat, three-stomached cow that is white America. For instance, annually, the black man spends over $3 billion for automobiles, but America contains hardly any franchised black automobile dealers. For instance, forty per cent of the expensive imported Scotch whisky consumed in America goes down the throats of the status-sick black man; but the only black-owned distilleries are in bathtubs, or in the woods somewhere. Or for instance — a scandalous shame — in New York City, with over a million Negroes, there aren’t twenty black-owned businesses employing over ten people. It’s because black men don’t own and control their own community’s retail establishments that they can’t stabilize their own community.
— Page 342
The cornerstones of this country’s operation are economic and political strength and power. The black man doesn’t have the economic strength — and it will take time for him to build it. But right now the American black man has the political strength and power to change his destiny overnight.
— Page 344
It was not all as simple as it may sound. I went few places without constant awareness that any number of my former brothers felt they would make heroes of themselves in the Nation of Islam if they killed me. I knew how Elijah Muhammad’s followers thought; I had taught so many of them to think. I knew that no one would kill you quicker than a Muslim if he felt that’s what Allah wanted him to do.
— Page 346
Malcolm X speaks as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz hereafter
But there in that hotel that morning, a telephone call and a few hours away from the cot on the fourth-floor tier of the dormitory, was one of the few times I had been so awed that I was totally without resistance. That white man — at least he would have been considered “white” in America — related to Arabia’s ruler, to whom he was a close advisor, truly an international man, with nothing in the world to gain, had given up his suite to me, for my transient comfort. He had nothing to gain. He didn’t need me. He had everything. In fact, he had more to lose than gain. He had followed the American press about me. If he did that, he knew there was only stigma attached to me. I was supposed to have horns. I was a “racist.” I was “anti-white” — and he from all appearances was white. I was supposed to be a criminal; not only that, but everyone was even accusing me of using his religion of Islam as a cloak for my criminal practices and philosophies. Even if he had had some motive to use me, he knew that I was separated from Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, my “power base,” according to the press in America. The only organization that I had was just a few weeks old. I had no job. I had no money. Just to get over there, I had had to borrow money from my sister.
That morning was when I first began to reappraise the “white man.” It was when I first began to perceive that “white man,” as commonly used, means complexion only secondarily; primarily it described attitudes and actions. In America, “white man” meant specific attitudes and actions toward the black man, and toward all other non-white men. But in the Muslim world, I had seen that men with white complexions were more genuinely brotherly than anyone else had ever been.
[Onitaset Kumat: See “Case Study for Oriental History: Islamic Enslavers.” The Asians are arguably worse offenders than Europeans against African people. I have no idea how this skipped Malcolm X’s perception. Do not let it skip your own.]
— Page 364
Behind my nods and smiles, though, I was doing some American-type thinking and reflection. I saw that Islam’s conversions around the world could double and triple if the colorfulness and the true spiritualness of the Hajj pilgrimage were properly advertised and communicated to the outside world. I saw that the Arabs are poor at understanding the psychology of non-Arabs and the importance of public relations. The Arabs said “insha Allah” (“God willing”) — then they waited for converts. Even by this means, Islam was on the march, but I knew that with improved public relations methods the number of new converts turning to Allah could be turned into millions.
[Onitaset Kumat: It’s worth lamenting Malcolm X’s willingness to promote Asian Philosophy, but it comes from the error in assuming Islam as a rallying call for African people. See “Case Study for Oriental History: Islamic Enslavers.” ]
— Page 376
In Beirut’s Palm Beach Hotel, I luxuriated in my first long sleep since I had left America. Then, I went walking — fresh from weeks in the Holy Land: immediately my attention was struck by the mannerisms and attire of the Lebanese women. In the Holy Land, there had been the very modest, very feminine Arabian women — and there was this sudden contrast of the half-French, half-Arab Lebanese women who projected in their dress and street manners more liberty, more boldness. I saw clearly the obvious European influence upon the Lebanese culture. It showed me how any country’s moral strength, or its moral weakness, is quickly measurable by the street attire and attitude of its women — especially its young women. Wherever the spiritual values have been submerged, if not destroyed, by an emphasis upon the material things, invariably, the women reflect it. Witness the women, both young and old, in America — where scarcely any moral values are left. There seems in most countries to be either one extreme or the other. Truly a paradise could exist wherever material progress and spiritual values could be properly balanced.
— Page 380
Speaking in the Ibadan University’s Trenchard Hall, I urged that Africa’s independent nations needed to see the necessity of helping to bring the Afro-American’s case before the United Nations. I said that just as the American Jew is in political, economic, and cultural harmony with world Jewry, I was convinced that it was time for all Afro-Americans to join the world’s Pan-Africanists. I said that physically we Afro-Americans might remain in America, fighting for our Constitutional rights, but that philosophically and culturally we Afro-Americans badly needed to “return” to Africa — and to develop a working unity in the framework of Pan-Africanism.
— Page 382
I sure don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but in fact I’ll even go so far as to say that I never really trust the kind of white people who are always so anxious to hang around Negroes, or to hang around in Negro communities. I don’t trust the kind of whites who love having Negroes always hanging around them. I don’t know — this feeling may be a throwback to the years when I was hustling in Harlem and all of those red-faced, drunk whites in the after-hours clubs were always grabbing hold of some Negroes and talking about “I just want you to know you’re just as good as I am –” And then they got back in their taxicabs and black limousines and went back downtown to the places where they lived and worked, where no blacks except servants had better get caught. But, anyway, I know that every time that whites join a black organization, you watch, pretty soon the blacks will be leaning on the whites to support it, and before you know it a black may be up front with a title, but the whites, because of their money, are the real controllers.
I tell sincere white people, “Work in conjunction with us — each of us working among our own kind.” Let sincere white individuals find all other white people they can who feel as they do — and let them form their own all-white groups, to work trying to convert other white people who are thinking and acting so racist. Let sincere whites go and teach non-violence to white people!
We will completely respect our white co-workers. They will deserve every credit. We will give them every credit. We will meanwhile be working among our own kind, in our own black communities — showing and teaching black men in ways that only other black men can — that the black man has got to help himself. Working separately, the sincere white people and sincere black people actually will be working together.
[Onitaset Kumat: Actually, “Sincere” White people are those whom are dominating us politically, economically and culturally. It’s a confused, spiritually dead White person who assists African people in an African manner. Best to leave them. See “The Philosophical Basis for African Separation . . ..”]
— Page 412
Malcolm X was assassinated, Alex Haley speaks hereafter
Anytime the name of the present Federal Judge Thurgood Marshall was raised, Malcolm X still practically spat fire in memory of what the judge had said years before when he was the N.A.A.C.P. chief attorney: “The Muslims are run by a bunch of thugs organized from prisons and jails and financed, I am sure, by some Arab group.” The only time that I have ever heard Malcolm X use what might be construed as a curse word, it was a “hell” used in response to a statement that Dr. Martin Luther King made that Malcolm X’s talk brought “misery upon Negroes.” Malcolm X exploded to me, “How in the hell can my talk do this? It’s always a Negro responsible, not what the white man does!” The “extremist” or “demagogue” accusation invariably would burn Malcolm X. “Yes, I’m an extremist. The black race here in North America is in extremely bad condition. You show me a black man who isn’t an extremist and I’ll show you one who needs psychiatric attention!”
[Onitaset Kumat: The Modern Muslim Movement of Farrakhan’s may have Arab ties. Those interested should do the research.]
— Page 431
Malcolm X plunged into a welter of activities. He wrote and telephoned dozens of acceptances to invitations to speak, predominantly at colleges and universities — both to expound his philosophies and to earn the $150-$300 honorariums above traveling expenses. When he was in New York City, he spent all the time he could in his OAAU’s sparsely furnished office on the mezzanine floor of the Hotel Theresa, trying to do something about the OAAU’s knotty problems. “I’m not exposing our size in numbers,” he evaded the query of one reporter. “You know, the strongest part of a tree is the root, and if you expose the root, the tree dies. Why, we have many `invisible’ members, of all types. Unlike other leaders, I’ve practiced the flexibility to put myself into contact with every kind of Negro in the country.”
— Page 458
For the first time in nearly two years, I did not recognize immediately that the voice on the other end of the phone belonged to Malcolm X. He sounded as if he had a heavy, deep cold. He told me that in the middle of the night he and some friends had helped a moving company’s men take out of the other house all of the family’s furniture and other belongings salvageable after the fire-bombing — before a sheriff’s eviction party would set the things out on the sidewalk. “Betty and I have been looking at a house we want to buy” — he tried a chuckle — “you know nobody’s going to rent, not to me, these days!” He said, “All I’ve got is about $150,” and that he needed a $3000 down payment plus $1000 moving costs; he asked if I thought the publisher would advance him $4000 against the projected profits from the book. I said that when our agent’s offices opened on Monday morning, I would telephone and I knew that he would query the publisher to see if it couldn’t be arranged, then Monday night I would call him back and let him know.
He said that he and Sister Betty had decided that although they were going to pay for the house, to avoid possible trouble they had gotten the agreement of his sister Ella who lived in Boston to let the house be bought in her name. He said that he still owed $1500 to his sister Ella which she had loaned him to make one trip abroad. Eventually they would change the house’s title into Sister Betty’s name, he said, or maybe into the name of their oldest daughter, Attilah.
— Page 468
“Malcolm X Died Broke” — that headline in Harlem’s Amsterdam News came as a shock to many in the community. Few had reflected that Malcolm X, upon becoming a Black Muslim minister, had signed an oath of poverty, so that for twelve years he never acquired anything in his own name. (Somewhere I have read that Malcolm X in his Black Muslim days received about $175 weekly to cover his living and other expenses exclusive of travel.) “He left his four daughters and pregnant wife with no insurance of any kind, no savings, and no income,” the Amsterdam News story said (and it might have added that he never drew up a will; he had made a February 26th appointment with his lawyer — five days after his death). Within the week, two groups had organized and were asking Harlemites for contributions to help Sister Betty raise and educate the children (since organized as the Malcolm X Daughters’ Fund at Harlem’s Freedom National Bank, 275 West 125th Street).
— Page 485
Far from Harlem, in lands where Malcolm X had traveled, the press had given the murder a coverage that had highly irritated the Director of the United States Information Agency, Carl T. Rowan, himself a Negro. In Washington, addressing the American Foreign Service Association, Rowan said that when he first heard of the murder, he knew it would be grossly misconstrued in some countries where people were unaware what Malcolm X represented, and he said the USIA had worked hard to inform the African press of the facts about Malcolm X and his preachments, but still there had been “a host of African reaction based on misinformation and misrepresentation.”
Said USIA Director Rowan, “Mind you, here was a Negro who preached segregation and race hatred, killed by another Negro, presumably from another organization that preaches segregation and race hatred, and neither of them representative of more than a tiny minority of the Negro population of America — “ Rowan held up some foreign newspapers. “All this about an exconvict, ex-dope peddler who became a racial fanatic,” continued Rowan. “I can only conclude that we Americans know less about what goes on in the minds of other peoples than we thought, or the need to inform is even greater than we in USIA thought it to be.”
— Page 486
A long post, certainly but you reached the end. Notice in yourself the different Malcolm X’s. I want to stress one great importance. African organization needs African funds, especially when that organization promotes African consciousness. This is the African Blood Siblings. Purchase Literature and sponsor this costly adventure. Not only can we ensure that Onitaset Kumat doesn’t die broke, but we can ensure that communities in Africa and our Diaspora gain African Blood Siblings Community Centers wherein our people can develop the African consciousness necessary to cultivate a purpose of restoring our Communities, Continent and our relationship with the Creator.