62 Intense Malcolm X Quotes That Advocate for Justice

Malcolm X was a famous Afro-American Muslim leader who was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He is known for his controversial views where he advocated violence against whites to achieve equal rights for black people.

He had a difficult childhood with his father being murdered when he was young and then being separated from his family when he went on to live with a foster family. As an adult, he embraced the Nation of Islam to avoid prison. He quickly rose through the ranks of the Nation of Islam and became their primary spokesperson.

However, he left the Nation after gaining a new appreciation for his African culture. After leaving the Nation, Malcolm made efforts to try and ease tensions between Muslims, Christians, and Americans by preaching against racism, injustices done to black people, and a need to end the violence.

Hundreds of streets and schools in the United States today bear the name of Malcolm X as a reminder of how far we’ve come and where we should be heading. Here is a collection of Malcolm X quotes and words of encouragement to help you get through life.

Malcolm X Quotes

1. “To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.”– Malcolm X

2. “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”– Malcolm X

3. “If you’re not ready to die for it, take the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.”– Malcolm X

4. “How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what is yours?.”– Malcolm X

5. “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”–Malcolm X

6. “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”– Malcolm X

7. “You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get your freedom; then you’ll get it. It’s the only way you’ll get it.”– Malcolm X

8. “I believe in the brotherhood of all men, but I don’t believe in wasting brotherhood on anyone who doesn’t want to practice it with me. Brotherhood is a two-way street.”– Malcolm X

9. “I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.”– Malcolm X

10. “Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. You don’t need anything else.”– Malcolm X

11. “I am neither a fanatic nor a dreamer. I am a black man who loves peace, and justice, and loves his people.”– Malcolm X

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12. “You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being.”– Malcolm X

13. “I’m the man you think you are. If you want to know what I’ll do, figure out what you’ll do. I’ll do the same thing–only more of it.”– Malcolm X

14. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”– Malcolm X

15. “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.”– Malcolm X

16. “Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality….”– Malcolm X

17. “Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”– Malcolm X

18. “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”– Malcolm X

19. “Anytime you find someone more successful than you are, especially when you’re both engaged in the same business – you know they’re doing something that you aren’t.”– Malcolm X

20. “People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.”– Malcolm X

21. “To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.”– Malcolm X

22. “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”– Malcolm X

23. “I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream–I see an American nightmare.”– Malcolm X

24. ‘The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.”– Malcolm X

25. “And just because you have colleges and universities doesn’t mean you have education.”– Malcolm X

26. “I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading has opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”– Malcolm X

27. “Western interests: imperialism, colonialism, exploitation, racism, and other negative -isms.”– Malcolm X

28 “We’re not Americans, we’re Africans who happen to be in America. We were kidnapped and brought here against our will from Africa. We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock – that rock landed on us.”– Malcolm X

29. “A new world order is in the making, and it is up to us to prepare ourselves that we may take our rightful place in it.”– Malcolm X

30. “Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.”– Malcolm X

31. “A wise man can play the part of a clown, but a clown can’t play the part of a wise man.”– Malcolm X

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32. ” I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”– Malcolm X

33. “Times change so quickly that if you and I don’t keep up with the times, we’ll find ourselves with an umbrella in our hand, over our head, when the sun is out. Or we’ll find ourselves standing in the rain, with the umbrella inside the door.”– Malcolm X

34. “They cripple the bird‘s wing, and then condemn it for not flying as fast as they.”– Malcolm X

35. “If they don’t want you and me to use clubs, take the clubs away from the racists. If they don’t want you and me to get violent, then stop the racists from being violent. Don’t teach us non-violence!!!”– Malcolm X

36. “In all our deeds, the proper value and respect for time determines success or failure.”– Malcolm X

37. “The Negro revolution is controlled by foxy white liberals, by the Government itself. But the Black Revolution is controlled only by God.”– Malcolm X

38. “There is nothing in our book, the Koran, that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent.”– Malcolm X

39. “There is no more apartheid in South Africa than in the United States.”– Malcolm X

40. “You can’t hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree. You can’t hate Africa and not hate yourself.”– Malcolm X

41. “My black brothers and sisters – of all religious beliefs, or of no religious beliefs – we all have in common the greatest binding tie we could have. We are all black people!”– Malcolm X

42.  “What I want to know is how the white man, with the blood of black people dripping off his fingers, can have the audacity to be asking black people, ‘Do they hate him?’ That takes a lot of nerve.”– Malcolm X

43. “America in its entirety is segregationist and is racist. It’s more camouflaged in the north, but it’s the same thing.”– Malcolm X

44. “It is only after slavery and prison that the sweetest appreciation of freedom can come.”– Malcolm X

45. “Don’t be bitter. Remember Lot’s wife when they kill me, and they surely will. You have to use all of your energy to do what it is you have to do. [To his wife Betty Shabazz].”– Malcolm X

46. “You can’t have capitalism without racism.”– Malcolm X

47. “When ghetto living seems normal, you have no shame, no privacy.”– Malcolm X

48. “If you turn the other cheek, you can be enslaved for 1,000 years.”– Malcolm X

49. “It is the process of mis-education that inhibits the full potential of a nation.”– Malcolm X

50. “In all our deeds, the proper value and respect for time determine success or failure.”– Malcolm X

51. “I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he’s wrong. Than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil.”– Malcolm X

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52. “An English writer telephoned me from London, asking questions. One was, ‘What’s your alma mater?’ I told him, ‘Books.”– Malcolm X

53. “History is a people’s memory, and without a memory, a man is demoted to the lower animals.”– Malcolm X

54. “He said, one time, that no true leader burdened his followers with a greater load than they could carry, and no true leader sets too fast a pace for his follows to keep up.”– Malcolm X

55. “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.”– Malcolm X

56. “I say, sir, that you can never make an intelligent judgment without evidence.”– Malcolm X

57. “The goal of Dr. Martin Luther King is to give Negroes a chance to sit in a segregated restaurant beside the same white man who had brutalized them for 400 years.”– Malcolm X

58. “Not one black man is prominent in Brazil. The Negroes there are still at the bottom.”– Malcolm X

59. “If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”– Malcolm X

60. “America is the first country that can actually have a bloodless revolution.”– Malcolm X

61. “What is a Dixiecrat? A Democrat. A Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat in disguise.”– Malcolm X

62. “They put your mind right in a bag, and take it wherever they want.”– Malcolm X

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Malcolm X on Front Page Challenge, 1965

In this incredible clip from 1965, after leaving the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X appears on CBC-TV’s ‘Front Page Challenge’ weeks before his assassination. He proclaims, “I’m against any form of segregation and racism.”

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Malcolm X is regarded as a symbol of hope and change. His courageous actions throughout his life contributed to the Civil Rights Movement in which many people participated. The quotes listed above are only some of the most influential acts made by Malcolm X, but they give an idea about what he stood for.

If you would like to draw inspiration, his quotes will be a great place to start. The final words go to Malcolm X himself: “I know you don’t like the truth, but I’m going to tell it anyway. The time is always right to do what is right.”

Finally, be sure to see our Ibram X. Kendi quotes about anti-racism

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