Malcolm X at Yale Law School (October 20, 1962)

On behalf of my beloved leader and teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and the many young Muslims who follow him, we wish to thank you for this opportunity to explain our position today in what we feel to be the only solution to the serious race problems confronting America and the entire troubled Western World.

In this crucial hour in which we live today, it is essential that our minds constantly be kept open to reality. We have both races here in this Yale Law School Auditorium tonight. Let us not be emotional. Let us be governed and guided only by facts.

I represent Mr. Elijah Muhammad, the spiritual head of the fastest-growing group of Black Muslims in the Western Hemisphere. We who follow him know that he has been divinely taught and sent to us by God Himself. We believe that the miserable plight of the 20 million black people in America is the fulfillment of divine prophecy. We believe that the serious race problem that our presence here poses for America is also the fulfillment of divine prophecy. We also believe the presence today in America of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, his teachings among the so-called Negroes, and his naked warning to America concerning her treatment of these so-called Negroes is all the fulfillment of divine prophecy.

Thus, when Mr. Muhammad declares that the only solution to America’s race problem is complete separation of the two races, he is fulfilling that which was predicted by all of the biblical prophets to take place in this day. But, because Mr. Muhammad takes this uncompromising stand, those who don’t understand biblical prophecy wrongly label him as a racist and as a hate teacher, or as being anti-white, or as teaching Black Supremacy. So tonight, while we are all here together, face to face, we can question and examine for ourselves the wisdom or the folly of what Mr. Muhammad is teaching.

Studying world conditions in the light of facts, facing reality as grown men and women...seeing things not as we would like them to be, but as they really are...only then can we determine the rightness, the validity, the divine origin of Mr. Muhammad and the solution which he offers as the only hope for America’s 20 million so-called Negroes, and also as the only hope for this troubled Western World.

If Mr. Muhammad’s solution is from God, is it in time to save 20 million so-called Negroes? Is it in time to save America? Is it in time to save the Western World? Let us look closely and see.

The Western World finds itself today constantly engulfed in crisis after crisis. The ingredients for disaster lurk constantly on all sides...both at home and abroad. The Western World’s leading diplomats are whispering in the halls of the UN that catastrophe can come any moment, any hour, any second.

Whether this grave crisis be studied at the international level, the national level, or the local level, we will discover the primary ingredient always encountered, in one form or another, is the race issue...the race question...the race problem. Whether it is the Congo, Algeria, South Africa, China, Cuba, or Panama.

Let us take the advice Paul gave in the Bible; let us toss our emotions aside and reason together. Let us look closely at this chaotic world picture before us, and in the light of the facts let us then determine if Mr. Muhammad’s divine solution fits the picture before us.

But many of you may be asking yourselves: "Why should we listen to this little so-called Negro...this little Georgia-born ex-slave? What can he do? What can he tell us?"

Well, my friends, the Western World’s most learned diplomats have failed to solve this grave race problem. Her learned politicians have failed. Her learned theologians have failed. Her learned legal experts have failed. Her sociologists have failed. Her civil leaders have failed. Her fraternal leaders have even failed.

Since the Western World’s most skillful scientists and scholars have failed to solve this race problem, it is time for us to sit down tonight and reason together, and I’m certain we will be forced to agree that it takes God Himself to solve this grave racial dilemma. When we face these facts, we see the necessity for divine intervention...we see the necessity for a divine solution.

If God is going to intervene, will He come Himself, or will He send someone with His solution? Will we be able to accept this divine solution when it comes? How will we know if the Messenger who brings us the solution is really a man from God? What yardstick will we use to measure him.

Will this man of God be someone from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Howard, or Tuskegee? Will this man of God be a black man or a white man? Will he be a theologian or preacher from one of the prevailing religions of the Western World? Will he be a politician from one of the major political parties? What type of man do you think God would choose to deliver His solution to this troubled Western World? How are we to determine whether or not Mr. Muhammad is a man from God and, how are we to determine if it is time for God Himself to intervene?

Let us not be emotional; let us reason together. Look around us at the condition of the world. Never before has man had in his hands the power to destroy human life on such a vast scale. Never before has there been such propaganda, mass lies, mass suspicion, mass confusion, mass dissatisfaction, mass unrest, mass hatreds...and the ingredients for such mass bloodshed.

Never before has America made so many crucial blunders, one after another, and suffered such great loss of prestige in the eyes of the world, despite the advice of her expert advisors.

The U-2 spy plane incident caused the President of the strongest country on earth to be tricked, trapped and exposed before the whole world as a liar...despite the advice of expert advisors.

At the Paris Summit Conference, the same President was cursed, ridiculed, and humiliated again before the eyes of the entire world...despite the advice of his expert advisors.

In Korea, students, mere children, toppled the government of Syngman Rhee, the best friend America had in the Far East, despite the advice of her expert advisors.

In Turkey, children toppled the government of Menderes, America’s best friend in the Middle East...despite the advice of expert advisors.

In Tokyo, students, mere children again, defied the President to come to Japan, and blocked him from entering after he had traveled thousands of miles from home and had arrived at their back door...a most humiliating insult...despite the advice of his expert advisors.

And Cuba, a little midget island government in the Caribbean, is challenging Giant America, accusing her of economic aggression, confiscating all of her investments, and getting unexpected support from Mexico and other strategically located Latin American countries...and all of this, despite the advice of her expert advisors.

My friends, if the expert politicians, the expert theologians, the expert diplomats and other scientists, professors and scholars have failed to devise a solution to these grave world problems, surely you will agree that it is now time for God to send us someone with a solution from Himself.

Is Mr. Muhammad from God? Is he on time? Does his divine solution fit the events of today?

Look at the racial volcano that has erupted in the Congo, with the ingredients present for an even greater racial explosion building up into what could easily touch off the dreaded Third World War...and once again the diplomats in the UN are whispering that Western Civilization is tottering on the brink of disaster.

Why are the Africans in the Congo rising against the white Belgian oppressors? Why are the Africans in Kenya rising against their white British oppressors? Why are the Africans in Angola rising against their white Portuguese oppressors? Why are the Africans in Algeria rising against their white French oppressors? In short: Why is the black man today all over Africa rising up against his white European overlords?

In the Congo, Central Africa, the black man is saying, “We must have our own land.” In Kenya, East Africa, the black man is saying, “We must have our own land.” In Angola, West Africa, the black man is saying, “We must have our own land.” In Algeria, North Africa, the black man is saying, “We must have our own land.” Even deep into South Africa, all over the entire African continent, the only solution in the minds of the awakening black man is: “We must have our own land.”

The cry of the black man in Africa for the return of his own land is so widespread, so unrelenting, so stands to reason that only God Himself is inspiring him and driving him onward in this spirit of freedom. If God has made the black man in Africa realize he cannot rest until he has some land of his own...surely that same God will look westward toward America and see 20 million black people here, second-class citizens, who are also in dire need of some land that we can call our own.

If Mr. Muhammad says “some land of our own” is God’s solution to this grave race problem, why land? Why is land so important to everyone today?

The white man in Great Britain could once boast that his control extended over so much of the black man’s land that the sun never set on the British Empire. Today, when the sun rises, we can hardly find the British Empire.

How important is land? Well, look what happened to the British Empire when she lost the lands she had colonized in Asia: lands like India, China, Burma, Malaya, etc. Her inability to continue robbing Asia of the natural resources produced by the land almost wrecked the British economy, decreased her military strength and her political prestige so low she could no longer use “force” to hold her African colonies.

As her grip on the black man’s land loosened, Britain dwindled. Loss of land meant loss of Empire...loss of wealth, power, and of prestige.

As the black men in Africa and Asia regain control over their lands, the French, Belgians, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, and all other European Empires also begin to crumble and topple downward.

As we face these facts, we are forced to agree that the economy of white Europe, the military power of white Europe, and the political prestige of white Europe was based upon the lands in Africa and Asia which they had taken from the black man.

The combined powers of white Europe have not been able to stem this black tide in Africa that is sweeping aside the shackles of colonial slavery. The Africans have become militant and are marching toward freedom. Africa is the only continent where a new nation is being born every day...and these new nations are taking their seats in the family of other independent nations symbolized by the United Nations.

And, this fast-growing black block formed by these newly born African nations, united with our darker brothers in Asia, can already easily out-vote the white colonial powers in the UN who had formerly enslaved them. These newly born independent black nations can also take a firm stand in behalf of other black people all over the world who are still enslaved, persecuted, exploited, or deprived of their basic rights.

As the rise of these newly independent black nations collapses the economic, military, and political strength of America’s allies in white Europe, what effect does this have upon white America?

Does white America face the same black web in which the colonial powers of white Europe find themselves entangled? And, if so, how will this affect America’s attitude toward the black people of Africa? How will this affect America’s attitude toward the 20 million black people who are yet suffering the bondage of so-called second-class citizenship right here in America...20 million so-called Negroes who have also been deprived of freedom, justice, and equality...20 million so-called Negroes who not only have been deprived of their civil rights, but who have even been deprived of their human rights...the right to hold their heads up, and to live in dignity like other human beings.

Let us not be emotional, but let us face these facts. Let us reason together. This has become a serious problem for America, and for the entire world.

Will the Divine Solution that God has given Mr. Elijah Muhammad help white America avert the racial dilemma in which the awakening dark nations of Africa and Asia have already placed America’s allies in white Europe?

Before we can intelligently decide to accept or reject Mr. Muhammad’s solution, let us take a closer look at America itself: America is the richest and most powerful nation on this earth. Her President is almost like a “god,” for he has in his hands almost every other country on this earth. Therefore, every four years, when a new President, or “god,” is about to be selected, the eyes of even the foreign nations are turned toward the American elections...for they too are wondering who, what type of man, will be the next “god.”

Yet, at the two great political conventions in which the two candidates are selected, despite America’s need to impress, and favourably influence the foreign nations, foreign policy is never the great controversial issue...the controversial issue is always over domestic policy...the civil rights which the so-called American Negro is the primary figure...the star on the world stage...for it is he who holds the balance of power in all elections... it is he who can easily determine “who” will be the next “god.”

Therefore, this great political drama not only stars the Negro, but all the political schemes are designed primarily to woo him, to please him, to tempt him, ensnare him, to get his allegiance and capitalize upon his political support.

The Negro’s position is most strategic, but his mental condition is too pathetic for him to take intelligent advantage of this vital position “fate” has placed him in. The American Negro is suffering from a mental sickness. His mind has been “tampered” with by his slave master.

The Western World is sick. America is sick...but the Negro in America is the sickest of them all. The sickening condition of the Negro in America is infecting Uncle Sam’s entire body and endangering the security and future of the whole Western World.

Mr. Muhammad says that only after the American Negro’s condition is “corrected” will Uncle Sam’s health improve...for only then will Uncle Sam look “healthy” in the inquiring eyes of the fast-awakening dark world.

Since we see the vital necessity of correcting the miserable condition of the American Negro, and we must also agree that all other efforts to solve this problem have failed, will Mr. Muhammad’s “prescription” cure the ailments of these 20 million second-class citizens?

Many of you will say: “No! Muhammad is a Black Supremacist. He is an extremist. He stresses race too much. He is a racist.” My friends: If you were to see a man attired in white, with a sharp instrument in his hands, bending over someone who is prostrate on a table, your lack of understanding might compel you to shout, “murderer!” But when you know the place is a hospital, the sleeping man is a patient, the man attired in white is a surgeon, and the sharp instrument must be used to perform some surgery that is necessary to save the patient’s life, you can then accept the fact that although the operation is very painful, it must be performed.

Uncle Sam is sick, because he has a black “lump” growing in his white body that doesn’t belong there, and this black “growth” is getting larger every day, and increasing Uncle Sam’s internal pains. God Himself has ordained that this surgery must be performed, for if the 20 million rapidly increasing so-called Negroes are not separated from the white parts of the body, it will soon cause the death and destruction of Uncle Sam.

God has given Mr. Muhammad some sharp truth. It is like a two-edged sword. It cuts into you. It causes you great pain, but if you can take it, it will cure you and save you from what otherwise would be certain death.

In your mental anguish many of you will emotionally insist that Mr. Muhammad is not teaching the real religion of Islam. You will still insist that he is teaching a racial, economic, and political philosophy.

My friends, Islam is the religion taught by all of the prophets: Noah, Lot, Abraham, Moses, and even Jesus. Islam is the true name of the religion God gave to the prophets in the past to cure their people of whatever moral or spiritual ailments that were afflicting them in that day.

Since we have examined the ailments of the crumbling Western World, and the ills that are infecting America...let us look more closely at the miserable condition of the American Negro.

Here are 20 million people who have lost their original identity; they cannot even speak their own mother tongue. How can 20 million people lose their language? What happened to it? What was it? Why don’t they at least know what it was?

Why don’t the educated Negroes know something about their own history, their own culture, the last names of their forefathers, their own nationality, their own country, their own flag, their own religion, and their own God?

My friends, surely you will agree that no other people in history, biblical or otherwise, have been so completely stripped and robbed by their slave master of all knowledge concerning their own kind, and because of this, no other people in history, biblical or otherwise, have ever presented such a problem to their former slave masters or to the the problem created by the presence of the 20 million so-called Negroes here in America today.

The New York Tribune, in an editorial (Feb. 5, 1960), pointed out that out of 11 million qualified Negro voters, only 2,700,000 actually took time to vote. This means that, roughly speaking, only 3 million of the 11 million Negroes who are qualified to vote take an active part...and the remaining 8 million remain voluntarily inactive, and yet it is this small minority of Negro voters who help determine who will be the next President.

If who will be the next President can be influenced by 3 million Negro voters, it is easy to see why the presidential candidates of both political parties put on such a false show with the civil rights bill, and with promises of integration. They must woo or impress the 3 million voting Negroes who are the actual “integration seekers.”

If so much fuss is made over these 3 million “integration seekers,” what would the presidential candidates have to do to appease the 8 million non-voting Negroes if they ever decided to become politically active in this election year?

Who are the 8 million non-voting Negroes, what do they want, and why don’t they vote?

The 3 million voters are the so-called middle- (or high- ) class Negroes, referred to by Howard University Sociology Professor E. Franklin Frazier, as the “Black Bourgeoisie,” who have been educated to think as patriotic individualists, with no racial pride...who believe in, and look forward to, the future “integrated, intermarried” society promised them by the Negro politicians...and therefore, this “integration-minded” 3 million remain an active part of the white-controlled political parties. But it must never be overlooked, that these 3 million integration seekers are only a small minority of the 11 million qualified voters. The 8 million non-voting Negroes are the majority, the downtrodden black masses. They have refused to vote, or to take part in politics, because they reject the Uncle Tom approach of the “clergy-politician” leadership that has been hand- picked for the American Negroes by the white man himself.

The clergy-politician leadership does 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, because they are ashamed of being black, and don’t want to be identified with black or as being black, are seeking to lose this “identity” by mingling, mixing, intermarrying, and integrating with the white man.

The race problem cannot be solved by listening to this white-minded, brainwashed minority. The white man must try to learn what does the majority want. The next President would be wise to try and learn what the black masses want. And, the only way to find this out is by listening to the man who speaks for the black masses of America.

I declare to you and to the entire world, that the man here in America who speaks for the majority, the downtrodden, dissatisfied black masses, is this same man whom so many thousands of our people are looking toward to see and hear, this same Mr. Muhammad who is labeled by you as a Black Supremacist, and as a Racist!

If the 3 million middle-class Negroes are casting their ballots for integration and intermarriage...what do the non-voting black masses who are in the minority want? Find out what the black masses want, and then perhaps America’s grave race problem can be solved.

The black masses are tired of following these hand-picked Negro “leaders” who sound like professional beggars, as they cry year after year for white America to accept us as first-class citizens.

Since this clergy-politician “leadership,” which was carefully hand-picked for us by the white man, has failed to solve the problem for the downtrodden black masses, God Himself has stepped into the picture, and has made Messenger Elijah Muhammad a wise, fearless, and uncompromising spokesman for the 20 million black people here in America, who, behind the Divine Leadership of this man of God, will now never be satisfied until we have a home in a land that we can proudly call our own.

We have accepted your invitation to come here to Yale University Law School this evening to let you know first hand why 20 million so-called Negroes cannot integrate with white America, why white America, after 100 years of religious hypocrisy and political trickery will never accept us as first-class citizens here...and why we must therefore seek some separate territory of our own.

In your blind emotion, again many of you will cry out that this is wrong, that this is not religion, that this is not Islam, that this is just another economic-political philosophy. I must remind you to keep an open mind. Let your own Christian Bible be the judge.

You credit Moses with being a religious man, a man of God, doing God’s work. Yet, what did Moses actually do? What did Moses teach? Moses freed his people from their slave master. Moses told the oppressor of his people: “Let my people go.” Moses separated his people from their masters, and then led them into a separate territory of their own.

You admit Moses was a man of God, yet you will have to agree Moses did not teach integration. Moses taught separation. Moses didn’t take time to dwell on religious practices. He just let his people know that he represented the God of their forefathers, whose desire it was for them to be separated from their slave master and placed in a land that they could call their own. Mr. Muhammad’s message and mission today is the same as that of the biblical Moses. Mr. Muhammad is a modern Moses in this modern-day house of bondage.

Many of you will cry out that you don’t go by what Moses said or did, but rather by what Jesus said. You claim that Jesus taught love and that Mr. Muhammad teaches hate.

But, my friends, have you really read the Bible? Are you familiar with Luke 14:26 where Jesus taught: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yes, and even his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

In other words, Jesus taught that you must hate everyone in your family, even your own self...and Muhammad teaches us to love our brothers and sisters... yet you say Muhammad teaches hate and that Jesus taught love.

Many of you will say that Jesus was no respecter of persons, that he came to all the world. You say Muhammad bars white people, therefore he can’t be from God.

My friends, Jesus told his followers to go not the way of the Gentiles, go only to the “lost sheep.” He definitely advised his followers to discriminate and make a distinction between the Gentiles and the “lost sheep.”

But you still cry out that Jesus is coming back at the end of the world to make us all the same, make us one people...integrate us.

No, my friends, Jesus himself did not even advocate integration. He referred to the end of this world as that great “harvest time.” He likened the people of today as “wheat and tares,” who would be allowed to “grow together,” or integrated, until God comes at the end of this world and separates the people Himself...then He would cause one to be burned in a Lake of Fire, and those whom He chooses for Himself, He would save.

Jesus also spoke of the people of today as being like “sheep and goats,” whom God would separate at the end of the world...some for salvation and some for destruction.

Jesus did not advocate integration; he advocated separation!

Noah’s solution was not integration; in his day it was also a message of separation. Lot’s solution was separation. And, remember, my friends, Jesus warned that “as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so shall it be these last days”...not integration, but complete separation of the two races...or destruction!
Surely you can now see that Mr. Muhammad’s message, or solution, is the same as that of Noah, Lot, Moses, and Jesus. How can you still doubt if Mr. Muhammad is from God? What you really should be concerned about is has Mr. Muhammad come in time to save you; and what must you do now to save yourselves.

When Mr. Muhammad says that we must have some of these states, before you flinch and hold up your hands in “mock shock,” let us look and see if 20 million so-called Negroes deserve such a solution.

If I were to collect the combined wages of everyone in this Yale University Law School auditorium tonight for just one week, I would have plenty of money. If I could work all of you for nothing for just one year I would be extremely rich. Well, what about the millions of black people who worked here in America as your slaves for over 300 years without one payday? What happened to their wages? Who collected the profits, or amassed the fortunes received from their free labor? Facing these unpleasant facts, surely you can easily see now how America became so rich so fast.

How will 20 million so-called Negroes today receive a “just compensation”? We have hundreds of years’ “back pay” that is long overdue, and must be paid sooner or later...or is there to be no such things as justice for your faithful ex-slaves?

The American government has appropriated billions of dollars to pay the Indians for lands taken from their fore-parents by your fore-parents.

Again I say, my friends, let us reason together: surely you will agree that God is more just than your government...yet your government has felt morally and legally obligated to pay billions of dollars to the Indians for the crime committed against them.

What about the 20 million so-called Negroes! If the Indians must be paid for land taken from them, what about the free labor and lives of our fore-parents that were taken from us for over 300 years?

If the white politicians have agreed that the Indians should be paid for their lands...what price or payment will the God of justice demand for 20 million black people who were robbed of our labor, lives, identity, culture, history...and even our human dignity? What will God’s price be? What will God’s solution be? Can America pay God’s price? And, if not, what will be the alternative?

The handwriting is on the wall for America. As America faces crisis after crisis, as America sees dangerous troubles mounting on all sides, and as America stares with stubborn blindness, refusing to read the handwriting on the wall, since her “experts” have shown they are unable to read its meaning, will America now accept an ambassador from God, a Divine Messenger, a Warner, to read the handwriting for her and tell her what solution she must accept?

Or, will America blindly reject God’s Messenger, and in so doing bring on her own Divine Destruction?

I trust you will weigh well these words.

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