The following speech was given on February 14, 1965 in Detroit, Michigan. Malcolm X and his family were victims of a house bombing earlier that morning. Malcolm was scheduled to speak on the day of the bombing and felt that it was necessary to appear at this meeting even though his life and that of his family was in danger.
“Attorney Milton Henry, distinguished guest, brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, friends and enemies: I want to point out firts that I am very happy to be here this evening and I am thankful to tje Afro-American Broadcasting Comany for the invitation to come here this evening. As Attorney Milton Henry has stated- I should say Brother Milton Henry because that’s what he is-our brother-I was in a house last night that was bombed, my own. It didn’t destroy all my clothes but you know fire and smoke can do to things. The only thing I could get my hands on before leasving was what I have on now.
It isn’t something that made me lose confidence in what I am doing, beacuse my wife undestands and I have children from this size on down, and even in their young age they understand. I think they would rather have a father or brother or whatever situation may be who will take a st and in the face of reaction from any narrow-minded people rather that to compromise and later on have to grow up in shame and disgrace.
So I ask you to excuse my appearance. I don’t normally come out in front of people without a shirt and tie. I guess that’s somewhat a holdover fomr the Black Muslim movement which I was in. That’s one of the good aspects of that movement. It teaches you to be very careful and conscious of how you look, which is a positive contribution on thier part. But that positive contribution on their part is greatly offset by too many liabilities.
Also last night, when the temperature was about 20 above and when this explosion took place, I was caught in what I had on-some pajamas. In trying to get my family out of the house, none of us stopped for any clothes at that point, so we were out in 20 degree cold. I got them into the house of the neighbor next door. I thought perhaps being in that condition for so long O would get pneumonia or a cold or something like that, so a doctor came today, a nice doctor, and shot something in my arm that naturally put me to sleep. I’ve been back there asleep ever since the program started in order to get back in shape. So if I have a tendency to stutter or slow down, it’s still the effect of the drug. I don’t know what kind it was, but it was good; it makes you sleep, and there’s nothing like sleeping through a whole lot of excitement.
Tonight one of the things that has to be stressed, which has not only the United States very much worried but also France, Great Britain and most of the powers who formerly were known as colonial powers worried, and that is the African revolution.They are more concerned with the revolution that is taking place on the African continent than they are with the revolution in Asia and Latin America. And this is because there are so mnany people of African ancestry within the domestice confines or jurisdictions of these various governments…There is an increasing number of dark-skinned people in England and also in France.
When I was in Africa in May, I noticed a tendency on the part of the Afro-Americans to -what I call lolly-gag. Everybody else who was over there had something on the ball, something they were doing, something constructive. Let’s take Ghana as an example. There would be many refugees in Ghana from South Africa….Some were being trained in how to be soldiers but others were involved as a pressure group or lobby group to let the people of Ghana never forget what happened to the brother in South Africa. Also you had brothers there from Angola and Mozambique. All of the Africans who were exiles from their particular country and would be in a place like Ghana or Tanganyika-now Tanzania, would be in training. Their every move would be designed to offset what was happening to their people back home where they had left…When they escaped from their respective countries that were still colonized, they didn’t try and run away from the family; as soon as they got where they were going, they began to organized into pressure groups to get support at the international level against the injustices they were experiencing back home.
But the American Negroes or the Afro-Americans, who were in these various countries, some working for this government, some working for that governemtn, some in business-they were just socializing, they had turned their back on the cause over here, they were partying, you know. When I get through one country,in particular, I heard a lot of their complaints and I didn’t make any move. But when I got to another country, I found the Afro-Americans there were making the same complaints. So we sat down and talked and organized a branch in this particular country of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. That onewas the only one in existence at that time. Then during the summer when I went back to Africa, I was able in each country that I visited to get the Afro-American community together and organize them and make them aware of their responsibility to those of us who are still here in the lion’s den.
They began to do this quite well, and when I got to Paris and London-there were many Afro-Americans in Paris, and many in London-in November, we organized a group in Paris and within a very short time they had grown into a well-organized unit. In conjunction with the African community, they invited me to Paris Tuesday to address a large gathering of Parisians and Afro-Americans and people from the Caribbean and also from Africa whe were interested in our struggle in this country and the rate of prgress that we have been making. But the French government and this government here, the United States, know that I have been almost fanatically stressing the importance of the Afro-Americans uniting with the Africans and working as a coalition, especially in the areas whiech are of mutual benefit to all of us. And the governments in these different places were frightened…”