It’s impossible for you and me to have a balanced mind in this society without going into the past, because in this particular society, as we function and fit into it right now, we’re such an underdog, we’re trampled upon, we’re looked upon as almost nothing. Now if we don’t go into the past and find out how we got this way, we will think that we were always this way.
Where the government fails to protect the Negro he is entitled to do it himself. He is within his rights. I have found the only white elements who do not want this advice given to undefensive Blacks are the racist liberals. They use the press to project us in the image of violence. There is an element of whites who are nothing but cold, animalistic racists.
Tonight one of the things that has to be stressed is that which has not only the United States very much worried but which also has France, Great Britain, and most of the powers, who formerly were known as colonial powers, worried also, and that primarily is the African revolution. They are more concerned with the revolution that's taking place on the African continent than they are with the revolution in Asia and in Latin America.
Normally I wouldn’t get excited over a few bombs, but the ones who threw these not only aimed them in rooms where there—where there was no one, but even in rooms where three of my daughters sleep. One daughter six, one daughter four, and one daughter two. And since I am, am quite certain that those who threw the bombs knew my house well enough to know where everyone was sleeping, I can’t quite bring my heart to the point where it can in any way be merciful, or from now on compromising, toward anyone who can be that low.1
And in order for you and me to know the nature of the struggle that you and I are involved in, we have to know not only the various ingredients involved at the local level and national level, but also the ingredients that are involved at the international level. And the problems of the Black man here in this country today have ceased to be a problem of just the American Negro or an American problem.
The religion of Islam itself is a religion that is based upon brotherhood and a religion in which the persons who believe in it in no way judge a man by the color of his skin. The yardstick of measurement in Islam is one’s deeds, one’s conscious behavior. And the yardstick of measurement that was used by Elijah Muhammad was based upon the color of the skin.
Because 1964 threatens to be a very explosive year on the racial front, and because I myself intend to be very active in every phase of the American Negro struggle for human rights, I have called this press conference this morning in order to clarify my own position in the struggle—especially in regard to politics and nonviolence.
Today the black people in this country have become frustrated, disenchanted, disillusioned and probably more set for action now than ever before-not the kind of action that has been set out for them in the past by some of their supposedly liberal white friends, but the kind of action that will get some kind of immediate results.
We’re anti-exploitation and in this country the Jews have been located in the so-called Negro community as merchants and businessmen for so long that they feel guilty when you mention that the exploiters of Negroes are Jews. This doesn’t mean that we are anti-Jews or anti-Semitic—we’re anti-exploitation. No. We have never been involved in any kind of violence whatsoever.
During recent years there has been much talk about a population explosion. Whenever they are speaking of the population explosion, in my opinion, they are referring to the people primarily in Asia or in Africa— the black, brown, red, and yellow people. It is seen by people of the West that, as soon as the standard of living is raised in Africa and Asia, automatically the people begin to reproduce abundantly.
We must understand the politics of our community and we must know what politics is supposed to produce. We must know what part politics play in our lives. And until we become politically mature we will always be mislead, lead astray, or deceived or maneuvered into supporting someone politically who doesn’t have the good of our community at heart.
We were truly all the same (brothers)—because their belief in one God had removed the ‘white’ from their minds, the ‘white’ from their behavior, and the ‘white’ from their attitude. I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man—and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their differences in color.
I don’t feel that I am a visitor in Ghana or in any part of Africa. I feel that I am at home. I’ve been away for four hundred years, but not of my own volition, not of my own will. Our people didn’t go to America on the Queen Mary, we didn’t go by Pan American, and we didn’t go to America on the Mayflower. We went in slave ships, we went in chains. We weren’t immigrants to America, we were cargo for purposes of a system that was bent upon making a profit.
Also it mentioned that I attacked the civil rights leaders, which I didn’t do. I didn’t attack anybody but the man who has been brutal to us. And it isn’t the civil rights leaders who have been brutal. They’ve been the victims of brutality. They have been loving you all while you all have been hating them. So I didn’t attack them. I probably questioned their intelligence in letting you beat them without fighting back. But I don’t think that we attacked them.