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Malcolm X To Lead Black Muslim Movement in D.C.

May 9, 1963 - Malcolm X arrived in Washington, D.C., today to take over leadership of the Black Muslim movement in the capital, where race relations have been causing anxiety. He said he intends to conduct a four-week series of meetings “for Negroes only” to seek solutions for the high rate of street crime in Washington. Fifty-four percent of the city’s 752,956 persons are Negroes, according to the Census of 1962. Mr. X said that he would continue as leader of the movement in New York City and that he would maintain a home there and in Washington. He described race relations in the nation as explosive and said that unless the white majority acted swiftly to extend full civil rights to Negroes, the situation could culminate in bloodshed. “Birmingham,” Mr. X contended, “is an example of what can happen when the Negroes rely on the whites to solve their problems for them. The whites will never open the doors to the Negroes, who must learn to stand on their own feet and rely on themselves to improve their human condition. It is only by separating themselves from the white majority and leading their own lives that the Negroes can avoid situations which produce Birminghams. By 1970, 90% of the Negroes will be converted to Islam. Christianity is a white man’s religion. Elijah Muhammad has a plan to separate the 20 million Negroes from the white majority, but it is for him to speak. If the Negroes can’t return to Africa and can’t get their rights here, there should be a divorce with a property settlement. That means the Negroes should receive a part of this country where they can live their own lives.”

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