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[VIDEO] Mar. 12, 1964 | Malcolm X Interview

Mar. 12, 1964 - Malcolm X predicted today that there would be more racial violence than ever in the U.S. in 1964. He declared that “Negroes on the mass level” were ready to act in self-defense.

Mr. X broke last Sunday with the separatist Nation of Islam movement, which is headed by Elijah Muhammad. He announced then that he would organize a broadly based, politically oriented, black nationalist movement composed of Muslims, Christians, and non-believers who were intellectually and emotionally ready to follow the black nationalist banner. Today, at a news conference in New York’s Park Sheraton Hotel, Mr. X formally opened this drive.

“White people will be shocked,” he told reporters, “when they discover that the passive little Negro they had known turns out to be a roaring lion. The whites had better understand this while there is still time.”

He urged Negroes to abandon the doctrine of non-violence in the civil rights struggle. He asserted: “It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law. In areas where our people are the constant victims of brutality and the Government seems unable or unwilling to protect them, we should form rifle clubs that can be used to defend our lives and property in times of emergency, such as happened last year in Birmingham, Plaquemine, La., Cambridge, Md., and Danville, Va. When our people are being bitten by dogs, they are within their rights to kill those dogs. If the Government thinks I am wrong for saying this, then let the Government start doing its job.”

Despite his statement Sunday that he would not seek to take members away from Elijah Muhammad’s movement, Mr. X arrived at the conference accompanied by several Black Muslims who have presumably followed him out of the Chicago-based organization.

He announced that he established temporary headquarters at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem and would soon open his own mosque for those of his followers who are Muslim. But he said the mosque would be a meeting place for Negroes of all religious persuasions who wanted to enter into discussions of the black nationalist movement.

Mr. X said his new movement was being financed by voluntary contributions. He said he would accept contributions from whites, but that white people could not join because, he said, when whites join an organization they usually take control of it.

Questioned about the school integration dispute in New York, Mr. X said he did not oppose any rational solution but that he believed the only real solution would be to improve the quality of those schools with largely Negro student bodies.


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