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Malcolm X Denounces Use of Children in Birmingham Demonstrations

May 10, 1963 - Malcolm X, national spokesman of the Black Muslim movement, denounced today the use of Negro children in the Birmingham demonstrations. “Real men,” he said, “don’t put their children on the firing line.” Mr. X criticized the campaign of Dr. Martin Luther King as an exercise in futility. The Black Muslims advocate the complete separation of the Negro and white races as the only rational solution. “The lesson of Birmingham,” said Mr. X, “is that the Negroes have lost their fear of the white man’s reprisals and will react today with violence if provoked. This could happen anywhere in the country today.” “The liberal whites miscalculated in Birmingham,” he said. “They misread the prevailing mood among the Negroes and did not understand that the Negro mass will no longer stand by passively at the sight of police brutality. That’s why Jackie Robinson and Floyd Patterson are going down there. The liberal whites hope these men will head the next columns away from trouble.” Mr. X said the white Southerners were more forthright in their opposition to desegregation than the “hypocritical liberal whites in the North.” “The northern liberals publicly advocate desegregation but flee to the suburbs when the Negroes approach,” he said. “Washington was desegregated. What happened? The whites fled to the suburbs.”


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