This is a public speech by the militant black leader Malcolm X, calling upon men of his race to unite in their efforts to fight white oppression. The speech is reminiscent of the more famous counterpart delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. But the methods advocated by the two speakers are contrasting. While the philosophy of King was one of non-violent activist organization, Malcolm X forwards a more militant approach to racial equality. Malcolm X’s agenda is also much broader than attaining political rights. He believes that unless Black Nationalism (with due territorial sovereignty) is achieved there is no scope for black liberation. Malcolm X thus condemns the pacifist and conciliatory strands of the Civil Rights Movement. He urges all the black brethren to unite in their claim for a separate black nationhood. If a bloody revolution is what it takes to achieve that end so may the black race incur is his central message. Though Malcolm X’s speech is powerful in terms of rhetoric and public appeal, I personally do not find it acceptable. Malcolm X has a valid point in urging all factions of black social activists to unite. But his ready endorsement of violent means for achieving socio-political goals is problematic on two counts. Not only is Malcolm X’s stance pragmatically unviable, it is also morally questionable.
Malcolm X, “Message to the Grass Roots”, delivered 10 November 1963 in Detroit, Michigan