Voulez-vous avoir de bonnes lois; brûlez les vôtres, et faites-en de nouvelles.
If you want good laws, burn those you have and make new ones.
~ Voltaire, Laws (1765)
Malcolm X’s life changed dramatically in the first six months of 1964. On March 8, he left the Nation of Islam. In May he toured West Africa and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, returning as El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. While in Ghana in May, he decided to form the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). Malcolm returned to New York the following month to create the OAAU and on June 28 gave his first public address on behalf of the new organization at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. That address appears below.
Salaam Alaikum, Mr. Moderator, our distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, our friends and our enemies, everybody who’s here.
As many of you know, last March when it was announced that I was no longer in the Black Muslim movement, it was pointed out that it was my intention to work among the 22 million non-Muslim Afro-Americans and to try and form some type of organization, or create a situation where the young people – our young people, the students and others – could study the problems of our people for a period of time and then come up with a new analysis and give us some new ideas and some new suggestions as to how to approach a problem that too many other people have been playing around with for too long. And that we would have some kind of meeting and determine at a later date whether to form a black nationalist party or a black nationalist army.
There have been many of our people across the country from all walks of life who have taken it upon themselves to try and pool their ideas and to come up with some kind of solution to the problem that confronts all of our people. And tonight we are here to try and get an understanding of what it is they’ve come up with.
Also, recently when I was blessed to make a religious pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca where I met many people from all over the world, plus spent many weeks in Africa trying to broaden my own scope and get more of an open mind to look at the problem as it actually is, one of the things that I realized, and I realized this even before going over there, was that our African brothers have gained their independence faster than you and I here in America have. They’ve also gained recognition and respect as human beings much faster than you and I.
Just ten years ago on the African continent, our people were colonized. They were suffering all forms of colonization, oppression, exploitation, degradation, humiliation, discrimination, and every other kind of -ation. And in a short time, they have gained more independence, more recognition, more respect as human beings than you and I have. And you and I live in a country which is supposed to be the citadel of education, freedom, justice, democracy, and all of those other pretty-sounding words.
So it was our intention to try and find out what it was our African brothers were doing to get results, so that you and I could study what they had done and perhaps gain from that study or benefit from their experiences. And my traveling over there was designed to help to find out how.
One of the first things that the independent African nations did was to form an organization called the Organization of African Unity. This organization consists of all independent African states who have reached the agreement to submerge all differences and combine their efforts toward eliminating from the continent of Africa colonialism and all vestiges of oppression and exploitation being suffered by African people. Those who formed the organization of African states have differences. They represent probably every segment, every type of thinking. You have some leaders that are considered Uncle Toms, some leaders who are considered very militant. But even the militant African leaders were able to sit down at the same table with African leaders whom they considered to be Toms, or Tshombes, or that type of character. They forgot their differences for the sole purpose of bringing benefits to the whole. And whenever you find people who can’t forget their differences, then they’re more interested in their personal aims and objectives than they are in the conditions of the whole. Well, the African leaders showed their maturity by doing what the American white man said couldn’t be done. Because if you recall when it was mentioned that these African states were going to meet in Addis Ababa, all of the Western press began to spread the propaganda that they didn’t have enough in common to come together and to sit down together. Why, they had Nkrumah there, one of the most militant of the African leaders, and they had Adoula from the Congo. They had Nyerere there, they had Ben Bella there, they had Nasser there, they had Sekou Toure, they had Obote; they had Kenyatta I guess Kenyatta was there, I can’t remember whether Kenya was independent at that time, but I think he was there. Everyone was there and despite their differences, they were able to sit down and form what was known as the Organization of African Unity, which has formed a coalition and is working in conjunction with each other to fight a common enemy. Once we saw what they were able to do, we determined to try and do the same thing here in America among Afro Americans who have been divided by our enemies. So we have formed an organization known as the Organization of Afro American Unity which has the same aim and objective – to fight whoever gets in our way, to bring about the complete independence of people of African descent here in the Western Hemisphere, and first here in the United States, and bring about the freedom of these people by any means necessary.
That’s our motto. We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary. We don’t feel that in 1964, living in a country that is supposedly based upon freedom, and supposedly the leader of the free world, we don’t think that we should have to sit around and wait for some segregationist congressmen and senators and a President from Texas in Washington, D. C., to make up their minds that our people are due now some degree of civil rights. No, we want it now or we don’t think anybody should have it.
The purpose of our organization is to start right here in Harlem, which has the largest concentration of people of African descent that exists anywhere on this earth. There are more Africans in Harlem than exist in any city on the African continent. Because that’s what you and I are Africans. You catch any white man off guard in here right now, you catch him off guard and ask him what he is, he doesn’t say he’s an American. He either tells you he’s Irish, or he’s Italian, or he’s German, if you catch him off guard and he doesn’t know what you’re up to. And even though he was born here, he’ll tell you he’s Italian. Well, if he’s Italian, you and I are African even though we were born here.
So we start in New York City first. We start in Harlem– and by Harlem we mean Bedford – Stuyvesant, any place in this area where you and I live, that’s Harlem with the intention of spreading throughout the state, and from the state throughout the country, and from the country throughout the Western Hemisphere. Because when we say Afro American, we include everyone in the Western Hemisphere of African descent. South America is America. Central America is America. South America has many people in it of African descent. And everyone in South America of African descent is an Afro-American. Everyone in the Caribbean, whether it’s the West Indies or Cuba or Mexico, if they have African blood, they are Afro Americans. If they’re in Canada and they have African blood, they’re Afro Americans. If they’re in Alaska, though they might call themselves Eskimos, if they have African blood, they’re Afro Americans.
So the purpose of the Organization of Afro American Unity is to unite everyone in the Western Hemisphere of African descent into one united force. And then, once we are united among ourselves in the Western Hemisphere, we will unite with our brothers on the motherland, on the continent of Africa. So to get right with it, I would like to read you the “Basic Aims and Objectives of the Organization of Afro American Unity;” started here in New York, June, 1964.
“The Organization of Afro American Unity, organized and structured by a cross section of the Afro American people living in the United States of America, has been patterned after the letter and spirit of the Organization of African Unity which was established at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May of 1963.
“We, the members of the Organization of Afro American Unity, gathered together in Harlem, New York:
“Convinced that it is the inalienable right of all our people to control our own destiny;
“Conscious of the fact that freedom, equality, justice and dignity are central objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the people of African descent here in the Western Hemisphere, we will endeavor to build a bridge of understanding and create the basis for Afro American unity;
“Conscious of our responsibility to harness the natural and human resources of our people for their total advancement in all spheres of human endeavor;
“Inspired by our common determination to promote understanding among our people and cooperation in all matters pertaining to their survival and advancement, we will support the aspirations of our people for brotherhood and solidarity in a larger unity transcending all organizational differences;
“Convinced that, in order to translate this determination into a dynamic force in the cause of human progress conditions of peace and security must be established and maintained;” – And by “conditions of peace and security,” [we mean] we have to eliminate the barking of the police dogs, we have to eliminate the police clubs, we have to eliminate the water hoses, we have to eliminate all of these things that have become so characteristic of the American so called dream. These have to be eliminated. Then we will be living in a condition of peace and security. We can never have peace and security as long as one black man in this country is being bitten by a police dog. No one in the country has peace and security. “Dedicated to the unification of all people of African descent in this hemisphere and to the utilization of that unity to bring into being the organizational structure that will project the black people’s contributions to the world;
“Persuaded that the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights are the principles in which we believe and that these documents if put into practice represent the essence of mankind’s hopes and good intentions;
“Desirous that all Afro American people and organi¬zations should henceforth unite so that the welfare and well being of our people will be assured;
“We are resolved to reinforce the common bond of purpose between our people by submerging all of our differences and establishing a nonsectarian, constructive program for human rights;
“We hereby present this charter.
I – Establishment.
“The Organization of Afro American Unity shall include all people of African descent in the Western Hemisphere, as well as our brothers and sisters on the African continent.” Which means anyone of African descent, with African blood, can become a member of the Organization of Afro American Unity, and also any one of our brothers and sisters from the African continent. Because not only it is an organization of Afro American unity meaning that we are trying to unite our people in the West, but it’s an organization of Afro American unity in the sense that we want to unite all of our people who are in North America, South America, and Central America with our people on the African continent. We must unite together in order to go forward together. Africa will not go forward any faster than we will and we will not go forward any faster than Africa will. We have one destiny and we’ve had one past.
In essence, what it is saying is instead of you and me running around here seeking allies in our struggle for freedom in the Irish neighborhood or the Jewish neighborhood or the Italian neighborhood, we need to seek some allies among people who look something like we do. It’s time now for you and me to stop running away from the wolf right into the arms of the fox, looking for some kind of help. That’s a drag.
II – Self Defense.
“Since self preservation is the first law of nature, we assert the Afro American’s right to self defense.
“The Constitution of the United States of America clearly affirms the right of every American citizen to bear arms. And as Americans, we will not give up a single right guaranteed under the Constitution. The history of unpunished violence against our people clearly indicates that we must be prepared to defend ourselves or we will continue to be a defenseless people at the mercy of a ruthless and violent racist mob.
“We assert that in those areas where the government is either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property of our people, that our people are within our rights to protect themselves by whatever means necessary.”I repeat, because to me this is the most important thing you need to know. I already know it. “We assert that in those areas where the government is either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property of our people, that our people are within our rights to protect themselves by whatever means necessary.”
This is the thing you need to spread the word about among our people wherever you go. Never let them be brainwashed into thinking that whenever they take steps to see that they’re in a position to defend themselves that they’re being unlawful. The only time you’re being unlawful is when you break the law. It’s lawful to have something to defend yourself. Why, I heard President Johnson either today or yesterday, I guess it was today, talking about how quick this country would go to war to defend itself. Why, what kind of a fool do you look like, living in a country that will go to war at the drop of a hat to defend itself, and here you’ve got to stand up in the face of vicious police dogs and blue eyed crackers waiting for somebody to tell you what to do to defend yourself!
Those days are over, they’re gone, that’s yesterday. The time for you and me to allow ourselves to be brutalized nonviolently is passé. Be nonviolent only with those who are nonviolent to you. And when you can bring me a nonviolent racist, bring me a nonviolent segregationist, then I’ll get nonviolent. But don’t teach me to be nonviolent until you teach some of those crackers to be nonviolent. You’ve never seen a nonviolent cracker. It’s hard for a racist to be nonviolent. It’s hard for anyone intelligent to be nonviolent. Everything in the universe does something when you start playing with his life, except the American Negro. He lays down and says, ” Beat me, daddy.” So it says here: “A man with a rifle or a club can only be stopped by a person who defends himself with a rifle or a club.” That’s equality. If you have a dog, I must have a dog. If you have a rifle, I must have a rifle. If you have a club, I must have a club. This is equality. If the United States government doesn’t want you and me to get rifles, then take the rifles away from those racists. 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 nonviolence while those crackers are violent. Those days are over.
“Tactics based solely on morality can only succeed when you are dealing with people who are moral or a system that is moral. A man or system which oppresses a man because of his color is not moral. It is the duty of every Afro-American person and every Afro-American community throughout this country to protect its people against mass murderers, against bombers, against lynchers, against floggers, against brutalizers and against exploiters.
“I might say right here that instead of the various black groups declaring war on each other, showing how militant they can be cracking each other’s heads, let them go down South and crack some of those crackers’ heads. Any group of people in this country that has a record of having been attacked by racists – and there’s no record where they have ever given the signal to take the heads of some of those racists – why, they are insane giving the signal to take the heads of some of their ex-brothers. Or brother X’s, I don’t know how you put that.
III – Education
“Education is an important element in the struggle for human rights. It is the means to help our children and our people rediscover their identity and thereby increase their self respect. Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today.”
And I must point out right there, when I was in Africa I met no African who wasn’t standing with open arms to embrace any Afro-American who returned to the African continent. But one of the things that all of them have said is that every one of our people in this country should take advantage of every type of educational opportunity available before you even think about talking about the future. If you’re surrounded by schools, go to that school.
“Our children are being criminally shortchanged in the public school system of America. The Afro-American schools are the poorest run schools in the city of New York. Principals and teachers fail to understand the nature of the problems with which they work and as a result they cannot do the job of teaching our children.” They don’t understand us, nor do they understand our problems; they don’t. “The textbooks tell our children nothing about the great contributions of Afro-Americans to the growth and development of this country.”
And they don’t. When we send our children to school in this country they learn nothing about us other than that we used to be cotton pickers. Every little child going to school thinks his grandfather was a cotton picker. Why, your grandfather was Nat Turner; your grandfather was Toussaint L’Ouverture; your grandfather was Hannibal. Your grandfather was some of the greatest black people who walked on this earth. It was your grandfather’s hands who forged civilization and it was your grandmother’s hands who rocked the cradle of civilization. But the textbooks tell our children nothing about the great contributions of Afro Americans to the growth and development of this country.
“The Board of Education’s integration plan is expensive and unworkable; and the organization of principals and supervisors in New York City’s school system has refused to support the Board’s plan to integrate the schools, thus dooming it to failure before it even starts.”The Board of Education of this city has said that even with its plan there are 10 percent of the schools in Harlem and the Bedford Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn that they cannot improve.” So what are we to do? “This means that the Organization of Afro American Unity must make the Afro American community a more potent force for educational self improvement.
“A first step in the program to end the existing system of racist education is to demand that the 10 percent of the schools the Board of Education will not include in its plan be turned over to and run by the Afro-American community itself.” Since they say that they can’t improve these schools, why should you and I who live in the community, let these fools continue to run and produce this low standard of education? No, let them turn those schools over to us. Since they say they can’t handle them, nor can they correct them, let us take a whack at it.
What do we want? “We want Afro-American principals to head these schools. We want Afro-American teachers in these schools.” Meaning we want black principals and black teachers with some textbooks about black people. ” We want textbooks written by Afro-Americans that are acceptable to our people before they can be used in these schools.
“The Organization of Afro-American Unity will select and recommend people to serve on local school boards where school policy is made and passed on to the Board of Education.” And this is very important.
“Through these steps we will make the 10 percent of the schools that we take over educational showplaces that will attract the attention of people from ail over the nation.” Instead of them being schools turning out pupils whose academic diet is not complete, we can turn them into examples of what we can do ourselves once given an opportunity.
“If these proposals are not met, we will ask Afro-American parents to keep their children out of the present inferior schools they attend. And when these schools in our neighborhood are controlled by Afro Americans, we will then return our children to them.
“The Organization of Afro American Unity recognizes the tremendous importance of the complete involvement of Afro-American parents in every phase of school life. The Afro American parent must be willing and able to go into the schools and see that the job of educating our children is done properly.” This whole thing about putting all of the blame on the teacher is out the window. The parent at home has just as much responsibility to see that what’s going on in that school is up to par as the teacher in their schools. So it is our intention not only to devise an education program for the children, but one also for the parents to make them aware of their responsibility where education is concerned in regard to their children.
“We call on all Afro-Americans around the nation to be aware that the conditions that exist in the New York City public school system are as deplorable in their does as they are here. We must unite our efforts and spread our program of self improvement through education to every Afro American community in America.
“We must establish all over the country schools of our own to train our own children to become scientists, to become mathematicians. We must realize the need for adult education and for job retraining programs that will emphasize a changing society in which automation plays the key role. We intend to use the tools of education to help raise our people to an unprecedented level of excellence and self respect through their own efforts.
IV – Politics and Economics.
And the two are almost inseparable, because the politician is depending on some money; yes, that’s what he’s depending on.
“Basically, there are two kinds of power that count in America: economic power and political power, with social power being derived from those two. In order for the Afro-Americans to control their destiny, they must be able to control and affect the decisions which control their destiny: economic, political, and social. This can only be done through organization.
“The Organization of Afro-American Unity will organize the Afro American community block by block to make the community aware of its power and its potential; we will start immediately a voter registration drive to make every unregistered voter in the Afro-American community an independent voter.”
We won’t organize any black man to be a Democrat or a Republican because both of them have sold us out. Both of them have sold us out; both parties have sold us out. Both parties are racist, and the Democratic Party is more racist than the Republican Party. I can prove it. All you’ve got to do is name everybody who’s running the government in Washington, D. C., right now. He’s a Democrat and he’s from either Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, from one of those cracker states. And they’ve got more power than any white man in the North has. In fact, the President is from a cracker state. What’s he talking about? Texas is a cracker state, in fact, they’ll hang you quicker in Texas than they will in Mississippi. Don’t you ever think that just because a cracker becomes president he ceases being a cracker. He was a cracker before he became president and he’s a cracker while he’s president. I’m going to tell it like it is. I hope you can take it like it is.
“We propose to support and organize political clubs, to run independent candidates for office, and to support any Afro-American already in office who answers to and is responsible to the Afro-American community.” We don’t support any black man who is controlled by the white power structure. We will start not only a voter registration drive, but a voter education drive to let our people have an understanding of the science of politics so they will be able to see what part the politician plays in the scheme of things; so they will be able to understand when the politician is doing his job and when he is not doing his job. And any time the politician is not doing his job, we remove him whether he’s white, black, green, blue, yellow or whatever other color they might invent.
“The economic exploitation in the Afro-American community is the most vicious form practiced on any people in America.” In fact, it is the most vicious practiced on any people on this earth. No one is exploited economically as thoroughly as you and I, because in most countries where people are exploited they know it. You and I are in this country being exploited and sometimes we don’t know it. “Twice as much rent is paid for rat-infested, roach crawling, rotting tenements.”
This is true. It costs us more to live in Harlem than it costs them to live on Park Avenue. Do you know that the rent is higher on Park Avenue in Harlem than it is on Park Avenue downtown? And in Harlem you have everything else in that apartment with you roaches, rats, cats, dogs, and some other outsiders disguised as landlords. “The Afro-American pays more for food, pays more for clothing, pays more for insurance than anybody else.” And we do. It costs you and me more for insurance than it does the white man in the Bronx or somewhere else. It costs you and me more for food than it does them. It costs you and me more to live in America than it does anybody else and yet we make the greatest contribution.
You tell me what kind of country this is. Why should we do the dirtiest jobs for the lowest pay? Why should we do the hardest work for the lowest pay? Why should we pay the most money for the worst kind of food and the most money for the worst kind of place to live in? I’m telling you we do it because we live in one of the rottenest countries that has ever existed on this earth. It’s the system that is rotten; we have a rotten system. It’s a system of exploitation, a political and economic system of exploitation, of outright humiliation, degradation, discrimination – all of the negative things that you can run into, you have run into under this system that disguises itself as a democracy, disguises itself as a democracy. And the things that they practice against you and me are worse than some of the things that they practiced in Germany against the Jews. Worse than some of the things that the Jews ran into. And you run around here getting ready to get drafted and go someplace and defend it. Someone needs to crack you up ‘side your head.
“The Organization of Afro American Unity will wage an unrelenting struggle against these evils in our community. There shall be organizers to work with our people to solve these problems, and start a housing self-improvement program.” Instead of waiting for the white man to come and straighten out our neighborhood, we’ll straighten it out ourselves. This is where you make your mistake. An outsider can’t clean up your house as well as you can. An outsider can’t take care of your children as well as you can. An outsider can’t look after your needs as well as you can. And an outsider can’t under¬stand your problems as well as you can. Yet you’re looking for an outsider to do it. We will do it or it will never get done.
“We propose to support rent strikes.” Yes, not little, small rent strikes in one block. We’ll make Harlem a rent strike. We’ll get every black man in this city; the Organization of Afro-American Unity won’t stop until there’s not a black man in the city not on strike. Nobody will pay any rent. The whole city will come to a halt. And they can’t put all of us in jail because they’ve already got the jails full of us.
Concerning our social needs I hope I’m not frightening anyone. I should stop right here and tell you if you’re the type of person who frights, who gets scared, you should never come around us. Because we’ll scare you to death. And. you don’t have far to go because you’re half dead already. Economically you’re dead- dead broke. Just got paid yesterday and dead broke right now.
V – Social.
“This organization is responsible only to the Afro-American people and the Afro-American community.” This organization is not responsible to anybody but us. We don’t have to ask the man downtown can we demonstrate. We don’t have to ask the man downtown what tactics we can use to demonstrate our resentment against his criminal abuse. We don’t have to ask his consent; we don’t have to ask his endorsement; we don’t have to ask his permission. Anytime we know that an unjust condition exists and it is illegal and unjust, we will strike at it by any means necessary. And strike also at whatever and whoever gets in the way.
“This organization is responsible only to the Afro-American people and community and will function only with their support, both financially and numerically. We believe that our communities must be the sources of their own strength politically, economically, intellectually, and culturally in the struggle for human rights and human dignity.
“The community must reinforce its moral responsibility to rid itself of the effects of years of exploitation, neglect, and apathy, and wage an unrelenting struggle against police brutality.” Yes. There are some good policemen and some bad policemen. Usually we get the bad ones. With all the police in Harlem, there is too much crime, too much drug addiction, too much alcoholism, too much prostitution, too much gambling.
So it makes us suspicious about the motives of Commissioner Murphy when he sends all these policemen up here. We begin to think that they are just his errand boys, whose job it is to pick up the graft and take it back downtown to Murphy. Anytime there’s a police commissioner who finds it necessary to increase the strength numerically of the policemen in Harlem and, at the same time, we don’t see any sign of a decrease in crime, why, I think we’re justified in suspecting his motives. He can’t be sending them up here to fight crime, because crime is on the increase. The more cops we have, the more crime we have. We begin to think that they bring some of the crime with them.
So our purpose is to organize the community so that we ourselves since the police can’t eliminate the drug traffic, we have to eliminate it. Since the police can’t eliminate organized gambling, we have to eliminate it. Since the police can’t eliminate organized prostitution and all of these evils that are destroying the moral fiber of our community, it is up to you and me to eliminate these evils ourselves. But in many instances, when you unite in this country or in this city to fight organized crime, you’ll find yourselves fighting the police department itself because they are involved in the organized crime. Wherever you have organized crime, that type of crime cannot exist other than with the consent of the police, the knowledge of the police and the cooperation of the police.
You’ll agree that you can’t run a number in your neighborhood without the police knowing it. A prostitute can’t turn a trick on the block without the police knowing it. A man can’t push drugs anywhere along the avenue without the police knowing it. And they pay the police off so that they will not get arrested. I know what I’m talking about I used to be out there. And I know you can’t hustle out there without police setting you up. You have to pay them off.
The police are all right. I say there’s some good ones and some bad ones. But they usually send the bad ones to Harlem. Since these bad police have come to Harlem and have not decreased the high rate of crime, I tell you brothers and sisters it is time for you and me to organize and eliminate these evils ourselves, or we’ll be out of the world backwards before we even know where the world was.
Drug addiction turns your little sister into a prostitute before she gets into her teens; makes a criminal out of your little brother before he gets in his teens drug addiction and alcoholism. And if you and I aren’t men enough to get at the root of these things, then we don’t even have the right to walk around here complaining about it in any form whatsoever. The police will not eliminate it. “Our community must reinforce its moral responsibility to rid itself of the effects of years of exploitation, neglect, and apathy, and wage an unrelenting struggle against police brutality.”
Where this police brutality also comes in the new law that they just passed, the no knock law, the stop and-frisk law, that’s an anti Negro law. That’s a law that was passed and signed by Rockefeller. Rockefeller with his old smile, always he has a greasy smile on his face and he’s shaking hands with Negroes, like he’s the Negro’s pappy or granddaddy or great uncle. Yet when it comes to passing a law that is worse than any law that they had in Nazi Germany, why, Rockefeller couldn’t wait till he got his signature on it. And the only thing this law is designed to do is make legal what they’ve been doing all the time.
They’ve passed a law that gives them the right to knock down your door without even knocking on it. Knock it down and come on in and bust your head and frame you up under the disguise that they suspect you of something. Why, brothers, they didn’t have laws that bad in Nazi Germany. And it was passed for you and me, it’s an anti Negro law, because you’ve got an anti-Negro governor sitting up there in Albany – I started to say Albany, Georgia – in Albany, New York. Not too much difference. Not too much difference between Albany, New York, and Albany, Georgia. And there’s not too much difference between the government that’s in Albany, New York, and the government in Albany, Georgia.
“The Afro-American community must accept the responsibility for regaining our people who have lost their place in society. We must declare an all out war on organized crime in our community; a vice that is controlled by policemen who accept bribes and graft must be exposed. We must establish a clinic, whereby one can get aid and cure for drug addiction.”
This is absolutely necessary. When a person is a drug addict, he’s not the criminal; he’s a victim of the criminal. The criminal is the man downtown who brings drug into the country. Negroes can’t bring drugs into this country. You don’t have any boats. You don’t have any airplanes. You don’t have any diplomatic immunity. It is not you who is responsible for bringing in drugs. You’re just a little tool that is used by the man downtown. The man that controls the drug traffic sits in city hall or he sits in the state house. Big shots who are respected, who function in high circles those are the ones who control these things. And you and I will never strike at the root of it until we strike at the man downtown.
“We must create meaningful, creative, useful activities for those who were led astray down the avenues of vice.”The people of the Afro- American community must be prepared to help each other in all ways possible; we must establish a place where unwed mothers can get help and advice.” This is a problem, this is one of the worst problems in our. . . [A short passage is lost here as the tape is turned.]
“We must set up a guardian system that will help our youth who get into trouble.” Too many of our children get into trouble accidentally. And once they get into trouble, because they have no one to look out for them, they’re put in some of these homes where others who are experienced at getting in trouble are. And immediately it’s a bad influence on them and they never have a chance to straighten out their lives. Too many of our children have their entire lives destroyed in this manner. It is up to you and me right now to form the type of organizations wherein we can look out for the needs of all of these young people who get into trouble, especially those who get into trouble for the first time, so that we can do something to steer them back on the right path before they go too far astray.
“And we must provide constructive activities for our own children. We must set a good example for our children and must teach them to always be ready to accept the responsibilities that are necessary for building good communities and nations. We must teach them that their greatest responsibilities are to themselves, to their families and to their communities.
“The Organization of Afro-American Unity believes that the Afro American community must endeavor to do the major part of all charity work from within the community. Charity, however, does not mean that to which we are legally entitled in the form of government benefits. The Afro-American veteran must be made aware of all the benefits due to him and the procedure for obtaining them.”
Many of our people have sacrificed their lives on the battlefront for this country. There are many government benefits that our people don’t even know about. Many of them are qualified to receive aid in all forms, but they don’t even know it. But we know this, so it is our duty, those of us who know it, to set up a system where¬ in our people who are not informed of what is coming to them, we inform them, we let them know how they can lay claim to everything that they’ve got coming to them from this government. And I mean you’ve got much coming to you. “The veterans must be encouraged to go into business together, using GI loans,” and all other items that we have access to or have available to us.
“Afro Americans must unite and work together. We must take pride in the Afro American community, for it is our home and it is our power,” the base of our power.
“What we do here in regaining our self respect, our manhood, our dignity and freedom helps all people everywhere who are also fighting against oppression.” Lastly, concerning culture and the cultural aspect of the Organization of Afro American Unity.
” ‘A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.’ “
“Our history and our culture were completely destroyed when we were forcibly brought to America in chains. And now it is important for us to know that our history did not begin with slavery. We came from Africa, a great continent, wherein live a proud and varied people, a land which is the new world and was the cradle of civilization. Our culture and our history are as old as man himself and yet we know almost nothing about it.”
This is no accident. It is no accident that such a high state of culture existed in Africa and you and I know nothing about it. Why, the man knew that as long as you and I thought we were somebody, he could never treat us like we were nobody. So he had to invent a system that would strip us of everything about us that we could use to prove we were somebody. And once he had stripped us of all human chacteristics stripped us of our language, stripped us of our history, stripped us of all cultural knowledge, and brought us down to the level of an animal – he then began to treat us like an animal, selling us from one plantation to another, selling us from one owner to another, breeding us like you breed cattle.
Why, brothers and sisters, when you wake up and find out what this man here has done to you and me, you won’t even wait for somebody to give the word. I’m not saying all of them are bad. There might be some good ones. But we don’t have time to look for them. Not nowadays.
“We must recapture our heritage and our identity if we are ever to liberate ourselves from the bonds of white supremacy. We must launch a cultural revolution to unbrainwash an entire people.” A cultural revolution. Why, brothers, that’s a crazy revolution. When you tell this black man in America who he is, where he came from, what he had when he was there, he’ll look around and ask himself, “Well, what happened to it, who took it away from us and how did they do it?” Why, brothers, you’ll have some action just like that. When you let the black man in America know where he once was and what he once had, why, he only needs to look at himself now to realize something criminal was done to him to bring him down to the low condition that he’s in today.
Once he realizes what was done, how it was done, where it was done, when it was done, and who did it, that knowledge in itself will usher in your action program. And it will be by any means necessary. A man doesn’t know how to act until he realizes what he’s acting against. And you don’t realize what you’re acting against until you realize what they did to you. Too many of you don’t know what they did to you, and this is what makes you so quick to want to forget and forgive. No, brothers, when you see what has happened to you, you will never forget and you’ll never forgive. And, as I say, all of them might not be guilty. But most of them are. Most of them are.
“Our cultural revolution must be the means of bringing us closer to our African brothers and sisters. It must begin in the community and be based on community participation. Afro-Americans will be free to create only when they can depend on the Afro-American community for support, and Afro-American artists must realize that they depend on the Afro-American community for inspiration.”
Our artists we have artists who are geniuses; they don’t have to act the Stepin Fetchit role. But as long as they’re looking for white support instead of black support, they’ve got to act like the old white supporter wants them to. When you and I begin to support the black artists, then the black artists can play that black role. As long as the black artist has to sing and dance to please the white man, he’ll be a clown, he’ll be clowning, just another clown. But when he can sing and dance to please black men, he sings a different song and he dances a different step. When we get together, we’ve got a step all our own. We have a step that nobody can do but us, because we have a reason for doing it that nobody can understand but us.
“We must work toward the establishment of a cultural center in Harlem, which will include people of all ages and will conduct workshops in all of the arts, such as film, creative writing, painting, theater, music, and the entire spectrum of Afro American history.
“This cultural revolution will be the journey to our rediscovery of ourselves. History is a people’s memory, and without a memory man is demoted to the level of the lower animals.” When you have no knowledge of your history, you’re just another animal; in fact, you’re a Negro; something that’s nothing. The only black man on earth who is called a Negro is one who has no knowledge of his history. The only black man on earth who is called a Negro is one who doesn’t know where he came from. That’s the one in America. They don’t call Africans Negroes.
Why, I had a white man tell me the other day, “He’s not a Negro.” Here the man was black as night, and the white man told me, “He’s not a Negro, he’s an African.” I said, “Well, listen to him.” I knew he wasn’t, but I wanted to pull old whitey out, you know. But it shows you that they know this. You are Negro because you don’t know who you are, you don’t know what you are, you don’t know where you are, and you don’t know how you got here. But as soon as you wake up and find out the positive answer to all these things, you cease being a Negro. You become somebody.
“Armed with the knowledge of our past, we can with confidence charter a course for our future. Culture is an indispensable weapon in the freedom struggle. We must take hold of it and forge the future with the past.” And to quote a passage from Then We Heard the Thunder by John Killens, it says: “He was a dedicated patriot: Dignity was his country, Manhood was his gov¬ernment, and Freedom was his land.'” Old John Killens.
This is our aim. It’s rough, we have to smooth it up some. But we’re not trying to put something together that’s smooth. We don’t care how rough it is. We don’t care how tough it is. We don’t care how backward it may sound. In essence it only means we want one thing. We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.
I’m sorry I took so long. But before we go farther to tell you how you can join this organization, what your duties and responsibilities are, I want to turn you back into the hands of our master of ceremonies, Brother Les Edmonds.
[A collection is taken. Malcolm resumes.]
One of the first steps we are going to become involved in as an Organization of Afro-American Unity will be to work with every leader and other organization in this country interested in a program designed to bring your and my problem before the United Nations. This is our first point of business. We feel that the problem of the black man in this country is beyond the ability of Uncle Sam to solve it. It’s beyond the ability of the United States government to solve it. The government itself isn’t capable of even hearing our problem, much less solving it. It’s not morally equipped to solve it.
So we must take it out of the hands of the United States government. And the only way we can do this is by internationalizing it and taking advantage of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Charter on Human Rights, and on that ground bring it into the UN before a world body where¬ in we can indict Uncle Sam for the continued criminal injustices that our people experience in this government.
To do this, we will have to work with many organizations and many people. We’ve already gotten promises of support from many different organizations in this country and from many different leaders in this country and from many different independent nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. So this is our first objective and all we need is your support. Can we get your support for this project?
For the past four weeks since my return from Africa, several persons from all walks of life in the Afro-American community have been meeting together, pooling knowledge and ideas and suggestions, forming a sort of a brain trust, for the purpose of getting a cross section of thinking, hopes, aspirations, likes and dislikes, to see what kind of organization we could put together that would in some way or other get the grass roots support, and what type of support it would need in order to be independent enough to take the type of action necessary to get results.
No organization that is financed by white support can ever be independent enough to fight the power structure with the type of tactics necessary to get real results. The only way we can fight the power structure, and it’s the power structure that we’re fighting we’re not even fighting the Southern segregationists, we’re fighting a system that is run in Washington, D. C. That’s the seat of the system that we’re fighting. And in order to fight it, we have to be independent of it. And the only way we can be independent of it is to be independent of all support from the white community. It’s a battle that we have to wage ourselves.
Now, if white people want to help, they can help. But they can’t join. They can help in the white community, but they can’t join. We accept their help. They can form the White Friends of the Organization of Afro-American Unity and work in the white community on white people and change their attitude toward us. They don’t ever need to come among us and change our attitude. We’ve had enough of them working around us trying to change our attitude. That’s what got us all messed up. So we don’t question their sincerity, we don’t question their motives, we don’t question their integrity. We just encourage them to use it somewhere else in the white community. If they can use all of this sincerity in the white community to make the white community act better toward us, then we’ll say, “Those are good white folks.” But they don’t have to come around us, smiling at us and showing us all their teeth like white Uncle Toms, to try and make themselves acceptable to us. The White Friends of the Organization of Afro American Unity, let them work in the white community.
The only way that this organization can be independent is if it is financed by you. It must be financed by you. Last week I told you that it would cost a dollar to join it. We sat down and thought about it all week long and said that charging you a dollar to join it would not make it an organization. We have set a membership joining fee, if that’s the way you express it, at $2.00. It costs more than that, I think, to join the NAACP.
By the way, you know I attended the NAACP convention Friday in Washington, D. C., which was very enlightening. And I found the people very friendly. They’ve got the same kind of ideas you have. They act a little different, but they’ve got the same kind of ideas, because they’re catching the same hell we’re catching. I didn’t find any hostility at that convention at all. In fact, I sat and listened to them go through their business and learned a lot from it. And one of the things I learned is they only charge, I think, $2.50 a year for membership, and that’s it. Well, this is one of the reasons that they have problems. Because any time you have an organization that costs $2.50 a year to belong to, it means that that organization has to turn in another direction for funds. And this is what castrates it. Because as soon as the white liberals begin to support it, they tell it what to do and what not to do.
This is why Garvey was able to be more militant. Garvey didn’t ask them for help. He asked our people for help. And this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to try and follow his books.
So we’re going to have a $2.00 joining fee and ask every member to contribute a dollar a week. Now, the NAACP gets $2.50 a year, that’s it. And it can’t ever go anywhere like that because it’s always got to be putting on some kind of drive for help and will always get its help from the wrong source. And then when they get that help, they’ll have to end up condemning all the enemies of their enemy in order to get some more help. No, we condemn our enemies, not the enemies of our enemies. We condemn our enemies.
So what we are going to ask you to do is, if you want to become a member of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, it will cost you $2.00. We are going to ask you to pay a dues of a dollar a week. We will have an accountant, a bookkeeping system, which will keep the members up to date as to what has come in, what has been spent, and for what. Because the secret to success in any kind of business venture – and anything that you do that you mean business, you’d better do in a businesslike way – the secret to your success is keeping good records, good organized records.
Since today will be the first time that we are opening the books for membership, our next meeting will be next Sunday here. And we will then have a membership. And we’ll be able to announce at that time the officers of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. I’ll tell you the top officer is the chairman, and that’s the office I’m holding. I’m taking the responsibility of the chairman, which means I’m responsible for any mistakes that take place; anything that goes wrong, any failures, you can rest them right upon my shoulders. So next week the officers will be announced.
And this week I wanted to tell you the departments in this organization that, when you take out your membership, you can apply to work in. We have the department of education. The department of political action. For all of you who are interested in political action, we will have a department set up by brothers and sisters who are students of political science, whose function it will be to give us a breakdown of the community of New York City. First, how many assemblymen there are and how many of those assemblymen are black, how many congressmen there are and how many of those congressmen are black. In fact, let me just read something real quick and I’ll show you why it’s so necessary. Just to give you an example.
There are 270,000 eligible voters in the twenty first senatorial district. The twenty first senatorial district is broken down into the eleventh, seventh, and thirteenth assembly districts. Each assembly district contains 90,000 eligible voters. In the eleventh assembly district, only 29,000 out of 90,000 eligible voters exercise their voting rights. In the seventh assembly district, only 36,000 out of the 90,000 eligible voters vote. Now, in a white assembly district with 90,000 eligible voters, 65,000 exercise their voting rights, showing you that in the white assembly districts more whites vote than blacks vote in the black assembly districts. There’s a reason for this. It is because our people aren’t politically aware of what we can get by becoming politically active.
So what we have to have is a program of political education to show them what they can get if they take political action that’s intelligently directed. Less than 25 percent of the eligible voters in Harlem vote in the primary election. Therefore, they have not the right to place the candidate of their choice in office, as only those who were in the primary can run in the general election. The following number of signatures are required to place a candidate to vote in the primaries: for assemblyman it must be 350 signatures; state senator, 750; countywide judgeship, 1,000; borough president, 2,250; mayor, 7,500. People registered with the Republican or Democratic parties do not have to vote with their party.
There are fifty eight senators in the New York state legislature. Four are from Manhattan; one is black. In the New York state assembly, there are 150 assemblymen. I think three are black; maybe more than that. According to calculation, if the Negro were proportionately represented in the state senate and state assembly, we would have several representatives in the state senate and several in the state assembly. There are 435 members in the United States House of Representatives. According to the census, there are 22 million Afro Americans in the United States. If they were represented proportionately in this body, there would be 30 to 40 members of our race sitting in that body. How many are there? Five. There are 100 senators in the United States Senate. Hawaii, with a population of only 600 thousand, has two senators representing it. The black man, with a population of in excess of 20 million, is not represented in the Senate at all. Worse than this, many of the congressmen and representatives in the Congress of the United States come from states where black people are killed if they attempt to exercise the right to vote.
What you and I want to do in this political department is have our brothers and sisters who are experts in the science of politics acquaint our people in our community with what we should have, and who should be doing it, and how we can go about getting what we should have. This will be their job and we want you to play this role so we can get some action without having to wait on Lyndon B. Johnson, Lyndon B. Texas Johnson.
Also, our economics department. We have an economics department. For any of you who are interested in business or a program that will bring about a situation where the black man in Harlem can gain control over his own economy and develop business expansion for our people in this community so we can create some employment opportunities for our people in this community, we will have this department.
We will also have a speakers bureau because many of our people want to speak, want to be speakers, they want to preach, they want to tell somebody what they know, they want to let off some steam. We will have a department that will train young men and young women how to go forth with our philosophy and our program and project it throughout the country; not only throughout this city but throughout the country.
We will have a youth group. The youth group will be designed to work with youth. Not only will it consist of youth, but it will also consist of adults. But it will be designed to work out a program for the youth in this country, one in which the youth can play an active part.
We also are going to have our own newspaper. You need a newspaper. We believe in the power of the press. A newspaper is not a difficult thing to run. A newspaper is very simple if you have the right motives. In fact, anything is simple if you have the right motives. The Muhammad Speaks newspaper, I and another person started it myself in my basement. And I’ve never gone past the eighth grade. Those of you who have gone to all these colleges and studied all kinds of journalism, yellow and black journalism, all you have to do is contribute some of your journalistic talent to our newspaper department along with our research department, and we can turn out a newspaper that will feed our people with so much information that we can bring about a real live revolution right here before you know it.
We will also have a cultural department. The task or duty of the cultural department will be to do research into the culture, into the ancient and current culture of our people, the cultural contributions and achievements of our people. And also all of the entertainment groups that exist on the African continent that can come here and ours who are here that can go there. Set up some kind of cultural program that will really emphasize the dormant talent of black people.
When I was in Ghana I was speaking with, I think his name is Nana Nketsia, I think he’s the minister of culture or he’s head of the culture institute. I went to his house, he had a – he had a nice, beautiful place; I started to say he had a sharp pad. He had a fine place in Accra. He had gone to Oxford, and one of the things that he said impressed me no end. He said that as an African his concept of freedom is a situation or a condition in which he, as an African, feels completely free to give vent to his own likes and dislikes and thereby develop his own African personality. Not a condition in which he is copying some European cultural pattern or some European cultural standard, but an atmosphere of complete freedom where he has the right, the leeway, to bring out of himself all of that dormant, hidden talent that has been there for so long.
And in that atmosphere, brothers and sisters, you’d be surprised what will come out of the bosom of this black man. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen black musicians when they’d be jamming at a jam session with white musicians – a whole lot of difference. The white musician can jam if he’s got some sheet music in front of him. He can jam on something that he’s heard jammed before. If he’s heard it, then he can duplicate it or he can imitate it or he can read it But that black musician, he picks up his horn and starts blowing some sounds that he never thought of before. He improvises, he creates, it comes from within. It’s his soul, it’s that soul music. It’s the only area on the American scene
where the black man has been free to create. And he his mastered it. He has shown that he can come up with something that nobody ever thought of on his horn.
Well, likewise he can do the same thing if given intellectual independence. He can come up with a new philosophy. He can come up with a philosophy that nobody has heard of yet. He can invent a society, a social system, an economic system, a political system, that is different from anything that exists or has ever existed anywhere on this earth. He will improvise; he’ll bring it from within himself. And this is what you and I want.
You and I want to create an organization that will give us so much power we can sit down and do as we please. Once we can sit down and think as we please, speak as we please, and do as we please, we will show people what pleases us. And what pleases us won’t always please them. So you’ve got to get some power before you can be yourself. Do you understand that? You’ve got to get some power before you can be yourself. Once you get power and you be yourself, why, you’re gone, you’ve got it and gone. You create a new society and make some heaven right here on this earth.
And we’re going to start right here tonight when we open up our membership books into the Organization of Afro-American Unity. I’m going to buy the first memberships myself – one for me, my wife, Attillah, Qubilah, these are my daughters, Ilyasah, and something else I expect to get either this week or next week. As I told you before, if it’s a boy I’m going to name him Lumumba, the greatest black man who ever walked the African continent.
He didn’t fear anybody. He had those people so scared they had to kill him. They couldn’t buy him, they couldn’t frighten him, they couldn’t reach him. Why, he told the king of Belgium, “Man, you may let us free, you may have given us our independence, but we can never forget these scars.” The greatest speech – you should take that speech and tack it up over your door. This is what Lumumba said: “You aren’t giving us anything. Why, can you take back these scars that you put on our bodies? Can you give us back the limbs that you cut off while you were here?” No, you should never forget what that man did to you. And you bear the scars of the same kind of colonization and oppression not on your body, but in your brain, in your heart, in your soul, right now.
So, if it’s a boy, Lumumba. If it’s a girl, Lumumbah.
[Malcolm introduces several people from the platform and from the audience, then continues:]
If I passed over some of the rest of you, it’s because my eyes aren’t too good, my glasses aren’t too good. But everybody here are people who are from the street who want some kind of action. We hope that we will be able to give you all the action you need. And more than likely we’ll be able to give you more than you want. We just hope that you stay with us. Our meeting will be next Sunday night right here. We want you to bring all of your friends and we’ll be able to go forward. Up until now, these meetings have been sponsored by the Muslim Mosque, Inc. They’ve been sponsored and paid for by the Muslim Mosque, Inc. Beginning next Sunday, they will be sponsored and paid for by the Organization of Afro American Unity.
I don’t know if I’m right in saying this, but for a period of time, let’s you and me not be too hard on other Afro-American leaders. Because you would be surprised how many of them. have expressed sympathy and support in our efforts to bring this situation confronting our people before the United Nations. You’d be surprised how many of them, some of the last ones you would expect, they’re coming around. So let’s give them a little time to straighten up. If they straighten up, good. They’re our brothers and we’re responsible for our brothers. But if they don’t straighten up, then that’s another point.
And one thing that we are going to do, we’re going to dispatch a wire, a telegram that is, in the name of the Organization of Afro-American Unity to Martin Luther King in St. Augustine, Florida, and to Jim Forman in Mississippi, worded in essence to tell them that if the federal government doesn’t come to their aid, call on us. And we will take the responsibility of slipping some brothers into that area who know what to do by any means necessary.
I can tell you right now that my purpose is not to become involved in a fight with Black Muslims, who are my brothers still. I do everything I can to avoid that because there’s no benefit in it. It actually makes our enemy happy. But I do believe that the time has come for you and me to take the responsibility of forming whatever nucleus or defense group is necessary in places like Mississippi. Why, they shouldn’t have to call on the federal government – that’s a drag. No, when you and I know that our people are the victims of brutality, and all times the police in those states are the ones who are responsible, then it is incumbent upon you and me, if we are men, if we are to be respected and recognized, it is our duty. . . [A passage is lost here through a defect in the tape.]
Johnson knew that when he sent [Allen] Dulles down there. Johnson has found this out. You don’t disappear. How are you going to disappear? Why, this man can find a missing person in China. They send the CIA all the way to China and find somebody. They send the FBI anywhere and find somebody. But they can’t find them whenever the criminal is white and the victim is black, then they can’t find them.
Let’s don’t wait on any more FBI to look for criminals who are shooting and brutalizing our people. Let’s you and me find them. And I say that it’s easy to do it. One of the best organized groups of black people in America was the Black Muslims. They’ve got all the machinery, don’t think they haven’t; and the experience where they know how to ease out in broad daylight or in dark and do whatever is necessary by any means necessary. They know how to do that. Well, I don’t blame anybody for being taught how to do that. You’re living in a society where you’re the constant victim of brutality. You must know how to strike back.
So instead of them and us wasting our shots, I should say our time and energy, on each other, what we need to do is band together and go to Mississippi. That’s my closing message to Elijah Muhammad: If he is the leader of the Muslims and the leader of our people, then lead us against our enemies, don’t lead us against each other.
I thank you for your patience here tonight, and we want each and every one of you to put your name on the roll of the Organization of Afro- American Unity. The reason we have to rely upon you to let the public know where we are is because the press doesn’t help us; they never announce in advance that we’re going to have a meeting. So you have to spread the word over the grapevine. Thank you. Salaam Alaikum.
African Union (formerly OAU) website: http://au.int/en/
Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Charter: http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/treaties/7759-file-oau_charter_1963.pdf
Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary: Speeches, Interviews, and a Letter by Malcolm X (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970), pp. 35-67.
Yesterday I spoke in London, and both ways on the plane across the Atlantic i was studying a document about how the United Nations proposes to insure the human rights of the oppressed minorities of the world. The American black man is the world’s most shameful case of minority oppression. What makes the black man think of himself as only an internal United States issue is just a catch-phrase, two words, “civil rights.” How is the black man going to get “civil rights” before first he wins his human rights, and then start thinking of himself as part of one of the world’s great peoples, he will see he has a case for the United Nations.
I can’t think of a better case! Four hundred years of black blood and sweat invested here in America, and the white man still has the black man begging for what every immigrant fresh off the ship can take for granted the minute he walks down the gangplank.
~ Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Joint Statement from the Fourth U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue
Office of the Spokesperson
October 24, 2012
Below is the text of a joint statement issued following the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue.
On October 24, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Minister of External Relations Antonio de Aguiar Patriota conducted the fourth meeting of the United States – Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue (GPD) in Washington, D.C. The GPD was first established in 2010 and elevated to the presidential level by President Barack Obama and President Dilma Rousseff in March 2011. This meeting was preceded by senior-level regional consultations on Africa, Asia and Pacific, South Asia, and the Middle East.
Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota stressed the important role the GPD has played in strengthening cooperation between our two countries, and reaffirmed the joint commitment to form a U.S.-Brazil Partnership for the 21st Century between the governments and peoples of the two nations. The GPD provides a forum through which our countries work together to promote cooperation and dialogue on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues.
The participants expressed satisfaction with the progress under the GPD since the last ministerial on April 16, 2012 in Brasilia. Consultations have been held on the Middle East and Asia that complement dialogues on Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean; economic and commercial issues; science, technology, innovation, and the environment; internet communication and cyber-related issues; and education, culture, and social inclusion. These consultations will continue to facilitate understanding and cooperation between our two countries.
Noting the interdependence among peace, security, and development, Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reaffirmed their desire to build a just and inclusive world order that promotes democracy, open government, human rights, and social justice.
The two participants concurred that just as other international organizations have had to change to be more responsive to the challenges of the 21st century, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) also needs to be reformed, and expressed their support for a modest expansion of the Security Council that improves its effectiveness and efficiency, as well as its representativeness. Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the United States’ appreciation for Brazil’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council and acknowledged its assumption of global responsibilities. The participants agreed they would continue discussions on United Nations Security Council reform.
The participants underlined the political, institutional, humanitarian, and security-related achievements of Haiti and expressed their appreciation for the critical contribution of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). They stressed the integrated nature of MINUSTAH’s mandate. Brazil and the United States encouraged the Government of Haiti to work toward strengthening governance and the rule of law and, in this context, further encouraged Haiti to continue to pursue the development of the Haitian National Police.
Minister Patriota and Secretary Clinton underscored the importance of strengthening bilateral trade and investment and their positive contribution to their respective economies and to create job opportunities. They praised the successful completion of the first meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Investment Dialogue and the VII U.S.-Brazil Economic Partnership Dialogue (EPD) and welcomed the arrival of a Transportation Security Administration Representative to Brazil to promote cooperation on civil aviation issues.
Participants reviewed progress in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on the Aviation Partnership and the first meeting of its Coordinating Committee in Brasilia on October 10, 2012. Public and private sector participants in the meeting identified thirteen activities to be carried out over the next year, such as workshops on airport service quality and safety practices during construction; specialized training for aviation safety inspectors and air traffic controllers; capacity building; support for the creation of internships in fields such as aviation engineering; strengthening of industry supply chains; and certification for aircraft parts and components.
Both governments underscored their commitment to work together as partners to promote development, food security and nutrition, and agreed to further strengthen the partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, as formalized in the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries and the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries to Improve Food Security. The U.S. and Brazil are currently working together to improve agricultural productivity and agriculture research in Mozambique, and are now planning joint projects to increase agriculture production, decrease malnutrition, and promote renewable energy in Haiti and Honduras. Both governments will seek to finalize a separate Memorandum of Understanding that will promote trilateral cooperation in agriculture technology and will continue to explore opportunities for bilateral and regional cooperation in disaster risk management and response.
Minister Patriota and Secretary Clinton praised the Domestic Finance for Development (DF4D) Workshop that was held in Brasilia and co-hosted by the United States and Brazil on October 9-10, which set the stage for follow-on collaboration with participating countries to encourage fiscal transparency and discourage corruption while making tax administration and budget execution more efficient and effective.
The participants noted the continued increase in travel between our two countries and expressed satisfaction at the significant progress by the Department of State to reduce U.S. visa appointment wait times in Brazil. Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota appreciated the many actions taken to facilitate the travel of U.S. and Brazilian citizens, including the extension of visas from five to 10 years, the opening of a 10th Brazilian Consulate in the United States, in Hartford, Connecticut, the planned opening of new U.S. consulates in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, the latest U.S.-Brazil Consular Dialogue on October 4 in Brasilia, and the first meeting of the Working Group on Visa Issues in Washington, D.C. on October 22. They agreed to continue to strengthen the dialogue in this area.
Recognizing the growing opportunities, threats, and challenges in cyberspace, participants welcomed the first meeting in July 2012 of the Internet and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group, during which interagency representatives from both governments exchanged views and best practices on a broad range of cyber issues. Both sides affirmed the value of open discussion of Internet and ICT issues and pledged to continue these efforts, including consultations on positions in multilateral fora.
The participants reaffirmed the shared commitment to remove barriers to access economic opportunity, education, health, and justice for historically marginalized groups, including people of African descent through the ongoing implementation of the U.S.–Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality, and lauded the successful Joint Action Plan technical meeting and seminar on Equity in Education, both held in Brasilia in August 2012. The participants further agreed that empowering and protecting women and girls requires strong, coordinated action by the international community. As examples of our shared commitment, our two countries are collaborating with Haiti on efforts to combat gender-based violence. The U.S.-Brazil Steering Group to Advance Women in Science was established in August as a direct result of the U.S.-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation hosted in Brasilia in March 2012. The Steering Group will provide recommendations to enhance international cooperation among women and establish a network of U.S. and Brazilian female scientists.
Participants welcomed continued implementation of the Action Plan on Education, and our joint efforts to support the U.S. “100,000 Strong in the Americas” initiative and Brazil’s “Scientific Mobility Program” (also known as “Science Without Borders”). They lauded the Department of Commerce-led Education Trade Mission that visited Brazil in September 2012. The mission comprised representatives from 66 U.S. institutions of higher education, making this the largest ever such mission. Participants emphasized the importance of the private sector and research centers in promoting academic mobility between Brazil and the United States, in particular by means of internship offers.
Participants welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Concerning Labor Cooperation signed on May 17 by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment, and the first meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Labor and Employment Dialogue on October 23 in Brasilia. This initiative will further strengthen efforts under the 2011 MOU for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries in the Field of Decent Work, through which the United States and Brazil have jointly supported a $1.29 million dollar trilateral program to combat and prevent child labor in Haiti, and provided complementary funding of close to $10 million dollars to combat child labor in South American countries and Lusophone Africa.
The participants stressed the need to mobilize innovation and investment around critical global challenges and to introduce businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, and universities to new market opportunities that accelerate economic development and promote sustainable economies. Both parties noted the new “Accelerating Market-Driven Partnerships” (AMP) initiative as an important mechanism for cross-sectoral collaboration to catalyze innovative solutions. Participants also observed with pleasure the successful visit of an Innovation Delegation comprised of entrepreneurs, educators, and technology leaders to Brazil in August 2012, as Secretary Clinton announced in the April 2012 GPD. They also welcomed the ongoing preparations for the first meeting of the Brazil-U.S. Working Group on Innovation, due to take place in the next few months, in fulfillment of the commitments made at the third meeting of the Joint Commission on Science and Technological Cooperation held last March.
Participants also agreed on the importance of identifying areas of cooperation on sports, including through initiatives encouraging the promotion of social inclusion, investment, innovation, education, and women’s advancement related to sports programs.
Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reinforced their commitment to Rio+20 outcomes and highlighted the success of the conference in advancing the common vision of the global community on sustainable development. They emphasized the importance of continuing to advance key global priorities, in particular the elaboration of Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening of the institutional framework for sustainable development, and the promotion of sensible approaches to improve the management of our vital natural resources. It is also crucial to integrate the expertise, energy, and commitment of civil society and the private sector in the implementation of sustainable development.
Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reaffirmed the importance of both sub-regional and regional processes and noted their important contribution to promoting democracy, peace, cooperation, security, development, and stability in the region. The participants agreed they would continue discussions on these topics.
Participants emphasized the importance of continued high-level consultations, including the upcoming Strategic Energy Dialogue, which will highlight bilateral cooperation across a range of energy technologies, and the Economic and Financial Dialogue, underscoring the importance of private sector engagement, as well as meetings of the Defense Cooperation Dialogue, Defense Bilateral Working Group, Joint Staff Talks, Space Security Dialogue, Political-Military Dialogue, and the Disarmament and Nonproliferation Dialogue.
Noting the need for deeper cooperation on counternarcotics efforts and combating transnational organized crime, the participants agreed to establish a working group that will promote increased dialogue and cooperation between both governments on these matters.
The two sides look forward to continuing regular consultations on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues. The next meeting of the United States-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue will take place in Brasilia in 2013.
Joint Action Plan Between the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Government of the United States of America To Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality
BUREAU OF WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
March 13, 2008
The Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and The Government of the United States of America (hereinafter referred to as the “Participants”),
Recognizing the democratic, multi-ethnic and multi-racial nature of Brazilian and U.S. societies, which strengthens the ties of friendship between both countries;
Recognizing further their governments’ commitment to racial equality and equal opportunity and the historic friendship between their nations;
Pledging their ever deepening and ongoing cooperation in eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity for all people;
Recalling the political commitments made by the two governments in the Memorandum of Understanding on Education, signed in Washington on March 30, 2007, concerning the Partnership in this area; and
Aware of the importance of cooperating in promoting human rights in order to maintain an environment of peace, democracy and prosperity in the Americas and throughout the world,
Hereby announce the following Joint Action Plan:
1. The Participants are to work collaboratively to promote cooperation, understanding and exchange of information (including best practices) to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all.
2. To advance these common objectives, a Steering Group to Promote Equality of Opportunity (“Steering Group”) is hereby created to promote equality of opportunity and to discuss and consider with a view to developing specific areas and types of cooperation to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination.
a) The Steering Group’s purpose is to share perspectives and information, including information on best practices, both in the subject areas listed in paragraphs (3) and (4) and in other subjects as the Steering Group may decide.
b) The Steering Group should meet alternately in Brazil and the United States. In its initial year of operation, the Steering Group should hold two sessions. Thereafter, it should decide on the frequency and timing of its sessions.
c) Each Participant is to designate its respective members of the Steering Group.
d) The Steering Group is to report on its findings and recommendations anytime the Steering Group meets, under conditions that are mutually acceptable to the Participants.
e) The Steering Group should report on its discussions under Article 3 and on the activities proposed and conducted under Article 5 to its respective governments through the Ministry of External Relations, the Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality Policies and the Department of State.
3. Subjects for consideration by the Steering Group are to include the areas of:
a) Education at the elementary, secondary, vocational, college, and graduate levels; a particular emphasis on democracy education and its positive association with increased levels of tolerance, equality, and liberty should be explored;
b) Culture and communication, including cultural media, museums and exhibits, among others;
c) Labor and employment;
d) Housing and public accommodation;
e) Equal protection of law and access to the legal system;
f) Domestic enforcement of relevant anti-discrimination laws and policy;
g) Sports and recreation;
h) Health, including promoting the study of disease prevalent in racial and ethnic minorities;
i) Social, historical, and cultural considerations that may be related to racial or ethnic prejudice; and
j) Access to credit and opportunities for training.
4. Special emphasis on education: The Steering Group should as a first priority discuss and consider the special role that education plays in the respective countries, including the equal access to quality education and how education can counter ethnic and racial discrimination. (See Annex)
5. The Steering Group may discuss and consider techniques and initiatives for promotion of equality and methods of eliminating discrimination based on race or ethnicity including, but not limited to:
a) Training programs;
b) Regional initiatives to promote equality of opportunity, through the strengthening of democratic institutions;
c) Public-private partnerships with enterprises and non-governmental organizations;
d) Holding of workshops and seminars;
e) Exchanges of technical experts;
f) Scholarships and fellowships;
g) Cooperation between institutions of higher education, regional and international organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and civil society, including in the field of sports;
h) Programs in third countries, including in Africa; and
i) Other activities as may be proposed to and accepted by members of the Steering Group in the future.
6. This plan of action does not create rights or obligations under international or domestic law.
Done at Brasília, this 13th day of March, 2008, in duplicate, in the Portuguese and English languages.
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Edson Santos de Souza
Secretary for the Promotion of Racial Equality Condoleeza Rice
Secretary of State
Education is proposed here as an initial step in implementing the goals of this Joint Action Plan towards ensuring equality and eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination as well as a means for improving conditions for all. Areas and methods to be considered may include:
1. Enhancing and expanding community college exchange programs between Brazilian technical centers and U.S. community colleges;
2. Increasing and targeting recruitment of all students to strengthen the existing youth exchange programs;
3. Broadening and augmenting linkages, relationships, and higher education exchanges with consortia and various universities in Brazil and the United States, including Historically Black institutions, to provide financial assistance and opportunities for study abroad to benefit undergraduate and graduate students, faculty staff and researchers, emphasizing topics related to combating ethnic and racial discrimination;
4. Developing a program for journalists to focus on issues relating to racial and ethnic discrimination;
5. Establishing programs in Brazil to support English in public schools by providing training for English teachers as well as programs in the United States to support the teaching of Portuguese;
6. Working with Bi-National Centers and Brazil’s State Secretaries of Education to provide greater access to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to traditionally underserved secondary school students in Brazil;
7. Expanding expert exchanges and Digital Video Conferences focused on issues related to ethnic and racial discrimination, public policies, and other Joint Action Plan themes to facilitate discussion between Brazilian and U.S. academics, NGOs, researchers, and educational officials;
8. Expanding support for Brazilian and U.S. experts to present comparative studies on the African Diaspora, cultural diversity, and racial and ethnic discrimination at educational forums and public venues; and
9. Sharing best practices on educational materials, such as software and distance learning, to promote awareness and focus on combating and eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination.
“Not just an American problem, but a world problem” by Malcolm X, 1965
Address delivered in the Corn Hill Methodist Church, Rochester, New York, 16 February 1965
FIRST, brothers and sisters, I want to start by thanking you for taking the time to come out this evening and especially for the invitation for me to come up to Rochester and participate in this little informal discussion this evening on matters that are of common interest to all elements in the community, in the entire Rochester community. My reason for being here is to discuss the Black revolution that is going on, that’s taking place on this earth, the manner in which it’s taking place on the African continent, and the impact that it’s having in Black communities, not only here in America but in England and in France and in other of the former colonial powers today.
Many of you probably read last week I made an effort to go to Paris and was turned away. And Paris doesn’t turn anybody away. You know anybody is supposed to be able to go to France, it’s supposed to be a very liberal place. But France is having problems today that haven’t been highly publicized. And England is also having problems that haven’t been highly publicized, because America’s problems have been so highly publicized. But all of these three partners, or allies, have troubles in common today that the Black American, or Afro-American, isn’t well enough up on.
And in order for you and me to know the nature of the struggle that you and I are involved in, we have to know not only the various ingredients involved at the local level and national level, but also the ingredients that are involved at the international level. And the problems of the Black man here in this country today have ceased to be a problem of just the American Negro or an American problem. It has become a problem that is so complex, and has so many implications in it, that you have to study it in its entire world, in the world context or in its international context, to really see it as it actually is. Otherwise you can’t even follow the local issue, unless you know what part it plays in the entire international context. And when you look at it in that context, you see it in a different light, but you see it with more clarity.
And you should ask yourself why should a country like France be so concerned with a little insignificant American Negro that they would prohibit him from going there, when almost anybody else can go to that country whenever they desire. And it’s primarily because the three countries have the same problems. And the problem is this: That in the Western Hemisphere, you and I haven’t realized it, but we aren’t exactly a minority on this earth. In the Western Hemisphere there are — there’s the people in Brazil, two-thirds of the people in Brazil are dark-skinned people, the same as you and I. They are people of African origin, African ancestry — African background. And not only in Brazil, but throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada, you have people here who are of African origin.
Many of us fool ourselves into thinking of Afro-Americans as those only who are here in the United States. America is North America, Central America, and South America. Anybody of African ancestry in South America is an Afro-American. Anybody in Central America of African blood is an Afro-American. Anybody here in North America, including Canada, is an Afro-American if he has African ancestry — even down in the Caribbean, he’s an Afro-American. So when I speak of the Afro-American, I’m not speaking of just the 22 million of us who are here in the United States. But the Afro-American is that large number of people in the Western Hemisphere, from the southernmost tip of South America to the northernmost tip of North America, all of whom have a common heritage and have a common origin when you go back to the roots of these people.
Now, there are four spheres of influence in the Western Hemisphere, where Black people are concerned. There’s the Spanish influence, which means that Spain formerly colonized a certain area of the Western Hemisphere. There’s the French sphere of influence, which means that area that she formerly colonized. The area that the British formerly colonized. And then those of us who are in the United States.
The area that was formerly colonized by the Spanish is commonly referred to as Latin America. They have many dark-skinned people there, of African ancestry. The area which the French colonized here in the Western Hemisphere is largely referred to as the French West Indies. And the area that the British colonized are those that are commonly referred to as the British West Indies, and also Canada. And then again, there’s the United States. So we have these four different classifications of Black people, or nonwhite people, here in the Western Hemisphere.
Because of the poor economy of Spain, and because it has ceased to be an influence on the world scene as it formerly was, not very many of the people from — not very many of the black-skinned people from the Spanish sphere of influence migrate to Spain. But because of the high standard of living in France and England, you find many of the Black people from the British West Indies have been migrating to Great Britain, many of the Black people from the French West Indies migrate to France, and then you and I are already here.
So it means that the three major allies, the United States, Britain, and France, have a problem today that is a common problem. But you and I are never given enough information to realize that they have a common problem. And that common problem is the new mood that is reflected in the overall division of the Black people within continental France, within the same sphere of England, and also here in the United States. So that — and this mood has been changing to the same degree that the mood on the African continent has been changing. So when you find the African revolution taking place, and by African revolution I mean the emergence of African nations into independence that has been going on for the past ten or twelve years, has absolutely affected the mood of the Black people in the Western Hemisphere. So much so that when they migrate to England, they pose a problem for the English. And when they migrate to France, they pose a problem for the French. And when they — already here in the States — but when they awaken, and this same mood is reflected in the Black man in the States, then it poses a problem to the white man here in America.
And don’t you think that the problem that the white man in America has is unique. France is having the same problem. And Great Britain is having the same problem. But the only difference between the problem in France and Britain and here is there have been many Black leaders that have risen up here in the Western Hemisphere, in the United States, that have created so much sort of militancy that has frightened the American whites. But that has been absent in France and England. And it has only been recently that the American Negro community and the British West Indian community, along with the African community in France, have begun to organize among themselves, and it’s frightening France to death. And the same thing is happening in England. It is — up until recently it was disorganized completely. But recently, the West Indians in England, along with the African community in England, along with the Asians in England began to organize and work in coordination with each other, in conjunction with each other. And this has posed England a very serious problem.
So I had to give you that background, in order for you to understand some of the current problems that are developing here on this earth. And in no time can you understand the problems between Black and white people here in Rochester or Black and white people in Mississippi or Black and white people in California, unless you understand the basic problem that exists between Black and white people — not confined to the local level, but confined to the international, global level on this earth today. When you look at it in that context, you’ll understand. But if you only try to look at it in the local context, you’ll never understand. You have to see the trend that is taking place on this earth. And my purpose for coming here tonight is to try and give you as up-to-date an understanding of it all as is possible.
As many of you know, I left the Black Muslim movement and during the summer months, I spent five of those months on the — in the Middle East and on the African continent. During this time I visited many countries, first of which was Egypt, and then Arabia, then Kuwait, Lebanon, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Tanganyika — which is now Tanzania — Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Algeria. And then the five months that I was away I had an opportunity to hold lengthy discussions with President Nasser in Egypt, President Julius Nyerere in Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya, Milton Obote in Uganda, Azikiwe in Nigeria, Nkrumah in Ghana, and Sékou Touré in Guinea.
And during conversations with these men, and other Africans on that continent, there was much information exchanged that definitely broadened my understanding, and I feel, broadened my scope. For since coming back from over there, I have had no desire whatsoever to get bogged down in any picayune arguments with any bird-brained or small-minded people who happen to belong to organizations, based upon facts that are very misleading and don’t get you anywhere when you have problems as complex as ours that are trying to get solved.
So I’m not here tonight to talk about some of these movements that are clashing with each other. I’m here to talk about the problem that’s in front of all of us. And to have — and to do it in a very informal way. I never like to be tied down to a formal method or procedure when talking to an audience, because I find that usually the conversation that I’m involved in revolves around race, or things racial, which is not my fault. I didn’t create the race problem. And you know, I didn’t come to America on the Mayflower or at my own volition. Our people were brought here involuntarily, against our will. So if we pose the problem now, they shouldn’t blame us for being here. They brought us here. [Applause]
One of the reasons I feel that it is best to remain very informal when discussing this type of topic, when people are discussing things based on race, they have a tendency to be very narrow-minded and to get emotional and all involved in — especially white people. I have found white people that usually are very intelligent, until you get them to talking about the race problem. Then they get blind as a bat and want you to see what they know is the exact opposite of the truth. [Applause]
So what I would rather we try and do is be very informal, where we can relax and keep an open mind, and try and form the pattern or the habit of seeing for ourselves, hearing for ourselves, thinking for ourselves, and then we can come to an intelligent judgment for ourselves.
To straighten out my own position, as I did earlier in the day at Colgate,1 I’m a Muslim, which only means that my religion is Islam. I believe in God, the Supreme Being, the creator of the universe. This is a very simple form of religion, easy to understand. I believe in one God. It’s just a whole lot better. But I believe in one God, and I believe that that God had one religion, has one religion, always will have one religion. And that that God taught all of the prophets the same religion, so there is no argument about who was greater or who was better: Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, or some of the others. All of them were prophets who came from one God. They had one doctrine, and that doctrine was designed to give clarification of humanity, so that all of humanity would see that it was one and have some kind of brotherhood that would be practiced here on this earth. I believe in that.
I believe in the brotherhood of man. But despite the fact that I believe in the brotherhood of man, I have to be a realist and realize that here in America we’re in a society that doesn’t practice brotherhood. It doesn’t practice what it preaches. It preaches brotherhood, but it doesn’t practice brotherhood. And because this society doesn’t practice brotherhood, those of us who are Muslim — those of us who left the Black Muslim movement and regrouped as Muslims, in a movement based upon orthodox Islam — we believe in the brotherhood of Islam.
But we also realize that the problem facing Black people in this country is so complex and so involved and has been here so long, unsolved, that it is absolutely necessary for us to form another organization. Which we did, which is a nonreligious organization in which — is known as the Organization of Afro- American Unity, and it is so structured organizationally to allow for active participation of any Afro- American, any Black American, in a program that is designed to eliminate the negative political, economic, and social evils that our people are confronted by in this society. And we have that set up because we realize that we have to fight against the evils of a society that has failed to produce brotherhood for every member of that society. This in no way means that we’re antiwhite, antiblue, antigreen, or antiyellow. We’re antiwrong. We’re antidiscrimination. We’re antisegregation. We’re against anybody who wants to practice some form of segregation or discrimination against us because we don’t happen to be a color that’s acceptable to you. . . .2 [Applause]
We don’t judge a man because of the color of his skin. We don’t judge you because you’re white; we don’t judge you because you’re black; we don’t judge you because you’re brown. We judge you because of what you do and what you practice. And as long as you practice evil, we’re against you. And for us, the most — the worst form of evil is the evil that’s based upon judging a man because of the color of his skin. And I don’t think anybody here can deny that we’re living in a society that just doesn’t judge a man according to his talents, according to his know-how, according to his possibility — background, or lack of academic background. This society judges a man solely upon the color of his skin. If you’re white, you can go forward, and if you’re Black, you have to fight your way every step of the way, and you still don’t get forward. [Applause]
We are living in a society that is by and large controlled by people who believe in segregation. We are living in a society that is by and large controlled by a people who believe in racism, and practice segregation and discrimination and racism. We believe in a — and I say that it is controlled, not by the well-meaning whites, but controlled by the segregationists, the racists. And you can see by the pattern that this society follows all over the world. Right now in Asia you have the American army dropping bombs on dark-skinned people. You can’t say that — it’s as though you can justify being that far from home, dropping bombs on somebody else. If you were next door, I could see it, but you can’t go that far away from this country and drop bombs on somebody else and justify your presence over there, not with me. [Applause]
It’s racism. Racism practiced by America. Racism which involves a war against the dark-skinned people in Asia, another form of racism involving a war against the dark-skinned people in the Congo3 . . . as it involves a war against the dark-skinned people in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Rochester, New York. [Applause]
So we’re not against people because they’re white. But we’re against those who practice racism. We’re against those who drop bombs on people because their color happens to be of a different shade than yours. And because we’re against it, the press says we’re violent. We’re not for violence. We’re for peace. But the people that we’re up against are for violence. You can’t be peaceful when you’re dealing with them. [Applause]
They accuse us of what they themselves are guilty of. This is what the criminal always does. They’ll bomb you, then accuse you of bombing yourself. They’ll crush your skull, then accuse you of attacking him. This is what the racists have always done — the criminal, the one who has criminal processes developed to a science. Their practice is criminal action. And then use the press to make you victim — look like the victim is the criminal, and the criminal is the victim. This is how they do it. [Applause]
And you here in Rochester probably know more about this than anybody anywhere else. Here’s an example of how they do. They take the press, and through the press, they beat the system. . . . Or through the white public. Because the white public is divided. Some mean good, and some don’t mean good. Some are well meaning, and some are not well meaning. This is true. You got some that are not well meaning, and some are well meaning. And usually those that are not well meaning outnumber those that are well meaning. You need a microscope to find those that are well meaning. [Applause]
So they don’t like to do anything without the support of the white public. The racists, that are usually very influential in the society, don’t make their move without first going to get public opinion on their side. So they use the press to get public opinion on their side. When they want to suppress and oppress the Black community, what do they do? They take the statistics, and through the press, they feed them to the public. They make it appear that the role of crime in the Black community is higher than it is anywhere else.
What does this do? [Applause] This message — this is a very skillful message used by racists to make the whites who aren’t racists think that the rate of crime in the Black community is so high. This keeps the Black community in the image of a criminal. It makes it appear that anyone in the Black community is a criminal. And as soon as this impression is given, then it makes it possible, or paves the way to set up a police-type state in the Black community, getting the full approval of the white public when the police come in, use all kind of brutal measures to suppress Black people, crush their skulls, sic dogs on them, and things of that type. And the whites go along with it. Because they think that everybody over there’s a criminal anyway. This is what — the press does this. [Applause]
This is skill. This skill is called — this is a science that’s called “image making.” They hold you in check through this science of imagery. They even make you look down upon yourself, by giving you a bad image of yourself. Some of our own Black people who have eaten this image themselves and digested it — until they themselves don’t want to live in the Black community. They don’t want to be around Black people themselves. [Applause]
It’s a science that they use, very skillfully, to make the criminal look like the victim, and to make the victim look like the criminal. Example: In the United States during the Harlem riots, I was in Africa, fortunately. [Laughter] During these riots, or because of these riots, or after the riots, again the press, very skillfully, depicted the rioters as hoodlums, criminals, thieves, because they were abducting some property.
Now mind you, it is true that property was destroyed. But look at it from another angle. In these Black communities, the economy of the community is not in the hands of the Black man. The Black man is not his own landlord. The buildings that he lives in are owned by someone else. The stores in the community are run by someone else. Everything in the community is out of his hands. He has no say-so in it whatsoever, other than to live there, and pay the highest rent for the lowest-type boarding place, [Applause] pays the highest prices for food, for the lowest grade of food. He is a victim of this, a victim of economic exploitation, political exploitation, and every other kind.
Now, he’s so frustrated, so pent-up, so much explosive energy within him, that he would like to get at the one who’s exploiting him. But the one who’s exploiting him doesn’t live in his neighborhood. He only owns the house. He only owns the store. He only owns the neighborhood. So that when the Black man explodes, the one that he wants to get at isn’t there. So he destroys the property. He’s not a thief. He’s not trying to steal your cheap furniture or your cheap food. He wants to get at you, but you’re not there. [Applause]
And instead of the sociologists analyzing it as it actually is, trying to understand it as it actually is, again they cover up the real issue, and they use the press to make it appear that these people are thieves, hoodlums. No! They are the victims of organized thievery, organized landlords who are nothing but thieves, merchants who are nothing but thieves, politicians who sit in the city hall and who are nothing but thieves in cahoots with the landlords and the merchants. [Applause]
But again, the press is used to make the victim look like the criminal and make the criminal look like the victim. . . . This is imagery. And just as this imagery is practiced at the local level, you can understand it better by an international example. The best recent example at the international level to bear witness to what I’m saying is what happened in the Congo. Look at what happened. We had a situation where a plane was dropping bombs on African villages. An African village has no defense against the bombs. And an African village is not sufficient threat that it has to be bombed! But planes were dropping bombs on African villages. When these bombs strike, they don’t distinguish between enemy and friend. They don’t distinguish between male and female. When these bombs are dropped on African villages in the Congo, they are dropped on Black women, Black children, Black babies. These human beings were blown to bits. I heard no outcry, no voice of compassion for these thousands of Black people who were slaughtered by planes. [Applause]
Why was there no outcry? Why was there no concern? Because, again, the press very skillfully made the victims look like they were the criminals, and the criminals look like they were the victims. [Applause]
They refer to the villages as “rebel held,” you know. As if to say, because they are rebel-held villages, you can destroy the population, and it’s okay. They also refer to the merchants of death as “American-trained, anti-Castro Cuban pilots.” This made it okay. Because these pilots, these mercenaries — you know what a mercenary is, he’s not a patriot. A mercenary is not someone who goes to war out of patriotism for his country. A mercenary is a hired killer. A person who kills, who draws blood for money, anybody’s blood. You kill a human being as easily as you kill a cat or a dog or a chicken.
So these mercenaries, dropping bombs on African villages, caring nothing as to whether or not there are innocent, defenseless women and children and babies being destroyed by their bombs. But because they’re called “mercenaries,” given a glorified name, it doesn’t excite you. Because they are referred to as “American-trained” pilots, because they are American-trained, that makes them okay. “Anti-Castro Cubans,” that makes them okay. Castro’s a monster, so anybody who’s against Castro is all right with us, and anything they can do from there, that’s all right with us. . . . They put your mind right in a bag and take it wherever they want, as well. [Applause]
But it’s something that you have to look at and answer for. Because they are American planes, American bombs, escorted by American paratroopers, armed with machine guns. But, you know, they say they’re not soldiers, they’re just there as escorts, like they started out with some advisers in South Vietnam. Twenty thousand of them — just advisers. These are just “escorts.” They’re able to do all of this mass murder and get away with it by labeling it “humanitarian,” an act of humanitarianism. Or “in the name of freedom,” “in the name of liberty.” All kinds of high-sounding slogans, but it’s cold-blooded murder, mass murder. And it’s done so skillfully, so you and I, who call ourselves sophisticated in this twentieth century, are able to watch it, and put the stamp of approval upon it. Simply because it’s being done to people with black skin, by people with white skin.
They take a man who is a cold-blooded murderer, named [Moise] Tshombe. You’ve heard of him, Uncle Tom Tshombe. [Laughter and applause] He murdered the prime minister, the rightful prime minister, [Patrice] Lumumba. He murdered him. [Applause] Now here’s a man who’s an international murderer, selected by the State Department and placed over the Congo and propped into position by your tax dollars. He’s a killer. He’s hired by our government. He’s a hired killer. And to show the type of hired killer he is, as soon as he’s in office, he hires more killers in South Africa to shoot down his own people. And you wonder why your American image abroad is so bankrupt.
Notice I said, “Your American image abroad is so bankrupt.”
They make this man acceptable by saying in the press that he’s the only one that can unite the Congo. Ha. A murderer. They won’t let China in the United Nations because they say she declared war on UN troops in Korea. Tshombe declared war on UN troops in Katanga. You give him money and prop him up. You don’t use the same yardstick. You use the yardstick over here, change it over here.
This is true — everybody can see you today. You make yourself look sick in the sight of the world trying to fool people that you were at least once wise with your trickery. But today your bag of tricks have absolutely run out. The whole world can see what you’re doing.
The press whips up hysteria in the white public. Then it shifts gears and starts working trying to get the sympathy of the white public. And then it shifts gears and gets the white public to support whatever criminal action they’re getting ready to involve the United States in.
Remember how they referred to the hostages as “white hostages.” Not “hostages.” They said these “cannibals” in the Congo had “white hostages.” Oh, and this got you all shook up. White nuns, white priests, white missionaries. What’s the difference between a white hostage and a Black hostage? What’s the difference between a white life and a Black life? You must think there’s a difference, because your press specifies whiteness. “Nineteen white hostages” cause you to grieve in your heart. [Laughter and applause]
During the months when bombs were being dropped on Black people by the hundreds and the thousands, you said nothing. And you did nothing. But as soon as a few — a handful of white people who didn’t have any business getting caught up in that thing in the first place — [Laughter and applause] — as soon as their lives became involved, you got concerned.
I was in Africa during the summer when they — when the mercenaries and the pilots were shooting down Black people in the Congo like flies. It wouldn’t even get mentioned in the Western press. It wasn’t mentioned. If it was mentioned, it was mentioned in the classified section of the newspaper. Someplace where you’d need a microscope to find it.
And at that time the African brothers, at first they weren’t taking hostages. They only began to take hostages when they found that these pilots were bombing their villages. And then they took hostages, moved them into the village, and warned the pilots that if you drop bombs on the village, you’ll hit your own people. It was a war maneuver. They were at war. They only held a hostage in a village to keep the mercenaries from murdering on a mass scale the people of those villages. They weren’t keeping them as hostages because they were cannibals. Or because they thought their flesh was tasty. Some of those missionaries had been over there for forty years and didn’t get eaten up. [Laughter and applause] If they were going to eat them they would have eaten them when they were young and tender. [Laughter and applause] Why you can’t even digest that old white meat on an old chicken. [Laughter]
It’s imagery. They use their ability to create images, and then they use these images that they’ve created to mislead the people. To confuse the people and make the people accept wrong as right and reject right as wrong. Make the people actually think that the criminal is the victim and the victim is the criminal.
Even as I point this out, you may say, “What does this all have to do with the Black man in America? And what does it have to do with the Black and white relations here in Rochester?”
You have to understand it. Until 1959 the image of the African continent was created by the enemies of Africa. Africa was a land dominated by outside powers. A land dominated by Europeans. And as these Europeans dominated the continent of Africa, it was they who created the image of Africa that was projected abroad. And they projected Africa and the people of Africa in a negative image, a hateful image. They made us think that Africa was a land of jungles, a land of animals, a land of cannibals and savages. It was a hateful image.
And because they were so successful in projecting this negative image of Africa, those of us here in the West of African ancestry, the Afro-American, we looked upon Africa as a hateful place. We looked upon the African as a hateful person. And if you referred to us as an African it was like putting us as a servant, or playing house, or talking about us in the way we didn’t want to be talked.
Why? Because those who oppress know that you can’t make a person hate the root without making them hate the tree. You can’t hate your own and not end up hating yourself. And since we all originated in Africa, you can’t make us hate Africa without making us hate ourselves. And they did this very skillfully.
And what was the result? They ended up with 22 million Black people here in America who hated everything about us that was African. We hated the African characteristics, the African characteristics. We hated our hair. We hated our nose, the shape of our nose, and the shape of our lips, the color of our skin. Yes we did. And it was you who taught us to hate ourselves simply by shrewdly maneuvering us into hating the land of our forefathers and the people on that continent.
As long as we hated those people, we hated ourselves. As long as we hated what we thought they looked like, we hated what we actually looked like. And you call me a hate teacher. Why, you taught us to hate ourselves. You taught the world to hate a whole race of people and have the audacity now to blame us for hating you simply because we don’t like the rope that you put around our necks. [Applause]
When you teach a man to hate his lips, the lips that God gave him, the shape of the nose that God gave him, the texture of the hair that God gave him, the color of the skin that God gave him, you’ve committed the worst crime that a race of people can commit. And this is the crime that you’ve committed.
Our color became a chain, a psychological chain. Our blood — African blood — became a psychological chain, a prison, because we were ashamed of it. We believe — they would tell it to your face, and say they weren’t; they were! We felt trapped because our skin was black. We felt trapped because we had African blood in our veins.
This is how you imprisoned us. Not just bringing us over here and making us slaves. But the image that you created of our motherland and the image that you created of our people on that continent was a trap, was a prison, was a chain, was the worst form of slavery that has ever been invented by a so-called civilized race and a civilized nation since the beginning of the world.
You still see the result of it among our people in this country today. Because we hated our African blood, we felt inadequate, we felt inferior, we felt helpless. And in our state of helplessness, we wouldn’t work for ourselves. We turned to you for help, and then you wouldn’t help us. We didn’t feel adequate. We turned to you for advice and you gave us the wrong advice. Turned to you for direction and you kept us going in circles.
But a change has come about. In us. And what from? Back in ’55 in Indonesia, at Bandung, they had a conference of dark-skinned people. The people of Africa and Asia came together for the first time in centuries. They had no nuclear weapons, they had no air fleets, no navy. But they discussed their plight and they found that there was one thing that all of us had in common — oppression, exploitation, suffering. And we had a common oppressor, a common exploiter.
If a brother came from Kenya and called his oppressor an Englishman; and another came from the Congo, he called his oppressor a Belgian; another came from Guinea, he called his oppressor French. But when you brought the oppressors together there’s one thing they all had in common, they were all from Europe. And this European was oppressing the people of Africa and Asia.
And since we could see that we had oppression in common and exploitation in common, sorrow and sadness and grief in common, our people began to get together and determined at the Bandung Conference that it was time for us to forget our differences. We had differences. Some were Buddhists, some were Hindus, some were Christians, some were Muslim, some didn’t have any religion at all. Some were socialists, some were capitalists, some were communists, and some didn’t have any economy at all. But with all of the differences that existed, they agreed on one thing, the spirit of Bandung was, from there on in, to de-emphasize the areas of difference and emphasize the areas that we had in common.
And it was the spirit of Bandung that fed the flames of nationalism and freedom not only in Asia, but especially on the African continent. From ’55 to ’60 the flames of nationalism, independence on the African continent, became so bright and so furious, they were able to burn and sting anything that got in its path. And that same spirit didn’t stay on the African continent. It somehow or other — it slipped into the Western Hemisphere and got into the heart and the mind and the soul of the Black man in the Western Hemisphere who supposedly had been separate from the African continent for almost 400 years.
But the same desire for freedom that moved the Black man on the African continent began to burn in the heart and the mind and the soul of the Black man here, in South America, Central America, and North America, showing us we were not separated. Though there was an ocean between us, we were still moved by the same heartbeat.
The spirit of nationalism on the African continent — It began to collapse; the powers, the colonial powers, they couldn’t stay there. The British got in trouble in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, and other areas of the continent. The French got in trouble in the entire French Equatorial North Africa, including Algeria. Became a trouble spot for France. The Congo wouldn’t any longer permit the Belgians to stay there. The entire African continent became explosive from ’54-’55 on up to 1959. By 1959 they couldn’t stay there any longer.
It wasn’t that they wanted to go. It wasn’t that all of a sudden they had become benevolent. It wasn’t that all of a sudden they had ceased wanting to exploit the Black man of his natural resources. But it was the spirit of independence that was burning in the heart and mind of the Black man. He no longer would allow himself to be colonized, oppressed, and exploited. He was willing to lay down his life and take the lives of those who tried to take his, which was a new spirit.
The colonial powers didn’t leave. But what did they do? Whenever a person is playing basketball, if — you watch him — the players on the opposing team trap him and he doesn’t want to get rid of, to throw the ball away, he has to pass it to someone who’s in the clear, who’s on the same team as he. And since Belgium and France and Britain and these other colonial powers were trapped — they were exposed as colonial powers — they had to find someone who was still in the clear, and the only one in the clear so far as the Africans were concerned was the United States. So they passed the ball to the United States. And this administration picked it up and ran like mad ever since. [Laughter and applause]
As soon as they grabbed the ball, they realized that they were confronted with a new problem. The problem was that the Africans had awakened. And in their awakening they were no longer afraid. And because the Africans were not afraid, it was impossible for the European powers to stay on that continent by force. So our State Department, grabbing the ball and in their new analysis, they realized that they had to use a new strategy if they were going to replace the colonial powers of Europe.
What was their strategy? The friendly approach. Instead of coming over there with their teeth gritted, they started smiling at the Africans. “We’re your friends.” But in order to convince the African that he was their friend he had to start off pretending like they were our friend.
You didn’t get the man to smile at you because you were bad, no. He was trying to impress your brother on the other side of the water. He smiled at you to make his smile consistent. He started using a friendly approach over there. A benevolent approach. A philanthropic approach. Call it benevolent colonialism. Philanthropic imperialism. Humanitarianism backed up by dollarism. Tokenism. This is the approach that they used. They didn’t go over there well meaning. How could you leave here and go on the African continent with the Peace Corps and Cross Roads and these other outfits when you’re hanging Black people in Mississippi? How could you do it? [Applause]
How could you train missionaries, supposedly over there to teach them about Christ, when you won’t let a Black man in your Christ’s church right here in Rochester, much less in the South. [Applause] You know that’s something to think about. It gets me hot when I think about it. [Laughter]
From 1954 to 1964 can easily be looked upon as the era of the emerging African state. And as the African state emerged from ’54 to ’64, what impact, what effect did it have on the Afro-American, the Black American? As the Black man in Africa got independent, it put him in a position to be master of making his own image. Up until 1959 when you and I thought of an African, we thought of someone naked, coming with the tom-toms, with bones in his nose. Oh yeah!
This was the only image you had in your mind of an African. And from ’59 on when they begin to come into the UN and you’d see them on the television you’d get shocked. Here was an African who could speak better English than you. He made more sense than you. He had more freedom than you. Why places where you couldn’t go — [Applause] — places where you couldn’t go, all he had to do was throw on his robes and walk right past you. [Laughter and applause]
It had to shake you up. And it was only when you’d become shook up that you began to really wake up. [Laughter]
So as the African nations gained their independence and the image of the African continent began to change, the things agreed as the image of Africa switched from negative to positive. Subconsciously. The Black man throughout the Western Hemisphere, in his subconscious mind, began to identify with that emerging positive African image.
And when he saw the Black man on the African continent taking a stand, it made him become filled with the desire also to take a stand. The same image, the same — just as the African image was negative — and you hear about old hat in the hand, compromising, fearful looks — we were the same way. But when we began to read about Jomo Kenyatta and the Mau Mau and others, then you find Black people in this country began to think along the same line. And more closely along the same line than some of them really want to admit.
When they saw — just as they had to change their approach with the people on the African continent, they also then began to change their approach with our people on this continent. As they used tokenism and a whole lot of other friendly, benevolent, philanthropic approaches on the African continent, which were only token efforts, they began to do the same thing with us here in the States.
Tokenism. They came up with all kinds of programs that weren’t really designed to solve anybody’s problems. Every move they made was a token move. They never made a real down-to-earth move at one time to really solve the problem. They came up with a Supreme Court desegregation decision that they haven’t put into practice yet. Not even in Rochester, much less in Mississippi. [Applause]
They fooled the people in Mississippi by trying to make it appear that they were going to integrate the University of Mississippi. They took one Negro to the university backed up with about 6,000-15,000 troops, I think it was. And I think it cost them $6 million. [Laughter]
And three or four people got killed in the act. And it was only an act. Now, mind you, after one of them got in, they said there’s integration in Mississippi. [Laughter]
They stuck two of them in the school in Georgia and said there’s integration in Georgia. Why you should be ashamed. Really, if I was white, I’d be so ashamed I’d crawl under a rug. [Laughter and applause] And I’d feel so low while I was under that rug I wouldn’t even leave a hump. [Laughter]
This tokenism, this tokenism was a program that was designed to protect the benefits of only a handful of handpicked Negroes. And these handpicked Negroes were given big positions, and then they were used to open up their mouths to tell the world, “Look at how much progress we’re making.” He should say, look at how much progress he is making. For while these handpicked Negroes were eating high on the hog, rubbing elbows with white folk, sitting in Washington, D.C., the masses of Black people in this country continued to live in the slum and in the ghetto. The masses, [Applause] the masses of Black people in this country remain unemployed, and the masses of Black people in this country continue to go to the worst schools and get the worst education.
Along during the same time appeared a movement known as the Black Muslim movement. The Black Muslim movement did this: Up until the time the Black Muslim movement came on the scene, the NAACP was regarded as radical. [Laughter] They wanted to investigate it. They wanted to investigate it. CORE and all the rest of them were under suspect, under suspicion. King wasn’t heard of. When the Black Muslim movement came along talking that kind of talk that they talked, the white man said, “Thank God for the NAACP.” [Laughter and applause]
The Black Muslim movement has made the NAACP acceptable to white folks. It made its leaders acceptable. They then began to refer to them as responsible Negro leaders. [Laughter] Which meant they were responsible to white folk. [Applause] Now I am not attacking the NAACP. I’m just telling you about it. [Laughter] And what makes it so bad, you can’t deny it. [Laughter]
So this is the contribution that that movement made. It frightened a lot of people. A lot of people who wouldn’t act right out of love begin to act right out of fear. Because Roy [Wilkins] and [James] Farmer and some of the others used to tell white folk, look if you don’t act right by us you’re going to have to listen to them. They used us to better their own position, their own bargaining position. No matter what you think of the philosophy of the Black Muslim movement, when you analyze the part that it played in the struggle of Black people during the past twelve years you have to put it in its proper context and see it in its proper perspective.
The movement itself attracted the most militant, the most dissatisfied, the most uncompromising elements of the Black community. And also the youngest elements of the Black community. And as this movement grew, it attracted such a militant, uncompromising, dissatisfied element.
The movement itself was supposedly based upon the religion of Islam and therefore supposedly a religious movement. But because the world of Islam or the orthodox Muslim world would never accept the Black Muslim movement as a bona fide part of it, it put those of us who were in it in a sort of religious vacuum. It put us in a position of identifying ourselves by a religion, while the world in which that religion was practiced rejected us as not being bona fide practicers, practitioners of that religion.
Also the government tried to maneuver us and label us as political rather than religious so that they could charge us with sedition and subversion. This is the only reason. But although we were labeled political, because we were never permitted to take part in politics we were in a vacuum politically. We were in a religious vacuum. We were in a political vacuum. We were actually alienated, cut off from all type of activity with even the world that we were fighting against.
We became a sort of a religious-political hybrid, all to ourselves. Not involved in anything but just standing on the sidelines condemning everything. But in no position to correct anything because we couldn’t take action.
Yet at the same time, the nature of the movement was such that it attracted the activists. Those who wanted action. Those who wanted to do something about the evils that confronted all Black people. We weren’t particularly concerned with the religion of the Black man. Because whether he was a Methodist or a Baptist or an atheist or an agnostic, he caught the same hell.
So we could see that we had to have some action, and those of us who were activists became dissatisfied, disillusioned. And finally dissension set in and eventually a split. Those who split away were the real activists of the movement who were intelligent enough to want some kind of program that would enable us to fight for the rights of all Black people here in the Western Hemisphere.
But at the same time we wanted our religion. So when we left, the first thing we did we regrouped into a new organization known as the Muslim Mosque, headquartered in New York. And in that organization we adopted the real, orthodox religion of Islam, which is a religion of brotherhood. So that while accepting this religion and setting up an organization which could practice that religion — and immediately this particular Muslim Mosque was recognized and endorsed by the religious officials of the Muslim world.
We realized at the same time we had a problem in this society that went beyond religion. And it was for that reason we set up the Organization of Afro-American Unity in which anybody in the community could participate in an action program designed to bring about complete recognition and respect of Black people as human beings.
And the motto of the Organization of Afro-American Unity is By Any Means Necessary. We don’t believe in fighting a battle that’s going to — in which the ground rules are to be laid down by those who suppress us. We don’t believe that we can win in a battle where the ground rules are laid down by those who exploit us. We don’t believe that we can carry on a struggle trying to win the affection of those who for so long have oppressed and exploited us.
We believe that our fight is just. We believe that our grievances are just. We believe that the evil practices against Black people in this society are criminal and that those who engage in such criminal practices are to be looked upon themselves as nothing but criminals. And we believe that we are within our rights to fight those criminals by any means necessary.
This doesn’t mean that we’re for violence. But we do — we have seen that the federal government has shown its inability, its absolute unwillingness, to protect the lives and the property of Black people. We have seen where organized white racists, Klansmen, Citizens’ Councilmen, and others can come into the Black community and take a Black man and make him disappear and nothing be done about it. We have seen that they can come in — [Applause]
We reanalyzed our condition. When we go back to 1939, Black people in America were shining shoes. Some of the most educated were shining in Michigan, where I came from, in Lansing, the capital. The best jobs you could get in the city were carrying trays out at the country club to feed white people. And usually the waiter at the country club was looked upon as the town big shot ‘cause he had a good job around “good” white folks, you know. [Laughter]
He had the best education, but he’d be shining shoes right at the State House, the capitol. Shining the governor’s shoes, and the attorney general’s shoes, and this made him in the know, you know, ‘cause he could shine white folks’ shoes who were in big places. Whenever the people downtown wanted to know what was going on in the Black community, he was their boy. He was what’s known as the “town Negro,” the Negro leader. And those who weren’t shining shoes, the preachers, also had a big voice in the community. That’s all they’d let us do is shine shoes, wait on tables, and preach. [Laughter]
In 1939, before Hitler went on the rampage, or rather at the time — yeah, before Hitler went on the rampage, a Black man couldn’t even work in the factory. We were digging ditches on WPA. Some of you all have forgotten too quick. We were ditch digging on the WPA. Our food came from the welfare, they were stamped “not to be sold.” I got so many things from the store called “not to be sold,” I thought that was a store some place. [Laughter]
This is the condition the Black man was in, and that’s till 1939. . . . Until the war started, we were confined to these menial tasks. When the war started, they wouldn’t even take us in the army. A Black man wasn’t drafted. Was he or was he not? No! You couldn’t join the navy. Remember that? Wouldn’t draft one. This was as late as 1939 in the United States of America!
They taught you to sing “sweet land of liberty” and the rest of that stuff. No! You couldn’t join the army. You couldn’t join the navy. They wouldn’t even draft you. They only took white folks. They didn’t start drafting us until the Negro leader opened up his big mouth, [Laughter] talking about, “If white folks must die, we must die too.” [Laughter and applause]
The Negro leader got a whole lot of Negroes killed in World War II who never had to die. So when America got into the war, immediately she was faced with a manpower shortage. Up until the time of the war, you couldn’t get inside of a plant. I lived in Lansing, where Oldsmobile’s factory was and Reo’s. There was about three in the whole plant and each one of them had a broom. They had education. They had gone to school. I think one had gone to college. But he was a “broomologist.” [Laughter]
When times got tough and there was a manpower shortage, then they let us in the factory. Not through any effort of our own. Not through any sudden moral awakening on their part. They needed us. They needed manpower. Any kind of manpower. And when they got desperate and in need, they opened up the factory door and let us in.
So we began to learn to run machines. Then we began to learn how to run machines, when they needed us. Put our women in as well as our men. As we learned to operate the machines, we began to make more money. As we began to make more money, we were able to live in a little better neighborhood. When we moved to a little better neighborhood, we went to a little better school. And when we went to that better school, we got a little better education and got in a little better position to get a little better job.
It was no change of heart on their part. It was no sudden awakening of their moral consciousness. It was Hitler. It was Tojo. It was Stalin. Yes, it was pressure from the outside, at the world level, that enabled you and me to make a few steps forward.
Why wouldn’t they draft us and put us in the army in the first place? They had treated us so bad, they were afraid that if they put us in the army and give us a gun and showed us how to shoot it — [Laughter] they feared that they wouldn’t have to tell us what to shoot at. [Laughter and applause]
And probably they wouldn’t have had. It was their conscience. So I point this out to show that it was not change of heart on Uncle Sam’s part that permitted some of us to go a few steps forward. It was world pressure. It was threat from outside. Danger from outside that made it — that occupied his mind and forced him to permit you and me to stand up a little taller. Not because he wanted us to stand up. Not because he wanted us to go forward. He was forced to.
And once you properly analyze the ingredients that opened the doors even to the degree that they were forced open, when you see what it was, you’ll better understand your position today. And you’ll better understand the strategy that you need today. Any kind of movement for freedom of Black people based solely within the confines of America is absolutely doomed to fail. [Applause]
As long as your problem is fought within the American context, all you can get as allies is fellow Americans. As long as you call it civil rights, it’s a domestic problem within the jurisdiction of the United States government. And the United States government consists of segregationists, racists. Why the most powerful men in the government are racists. This government is controlled by thirty-six committees. Twenty congressional committees and sixteen senatorial committees. Thirteen of the twenty congressmen that make up the congressional committees are from the South. Ten of the sixteen senators that control the senatorial committees are from the South. Which means, that of the thirty-six committees that govern the foreign and domestic directions and temperament of the country in which we live, of the thirty-six, twenty-three of them are in the hands of racists. Outright, stone-cold, dead segregationists. This is what you and I are up against. We are in a society where the power is in the hands of those who are the worst breed of humanity.
Now how are we going to get around them? How are we going to get justice in a Congress that they control? Or a Senate that they control? Or a White House that they control? Or from a Supreme Court that they control?
Look at the pitiful decision that the Supreme Court handed down. Brother, look at it! Don’t you know these men on the Supreme Court are masters of legal — not only of law, but legal phraseology. They are such masters of the legal language that they could very easily have handed down a desegregation decision on education so worded that no one could have gotten around. But they come up with that thing worded in such a way that here ten years have passed, and there’s all kind of loopholes in it. They knew what they were doing. They pretend to give you something while knowing all the time you can’t utilize it.
They come up last year with a civil rights bill that they publicized all around the world as if it would lead us into the promised land of integration. Oh yeah! Just last week, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King come out of the jail house and went to Washington, D.C., saying he’s going to ask every day for new legislation to protect voting rights for Black people in Alabama. Why? You just had legislation. You just had a civil rights bill. You mean to tell me that that highly publicized civil rights bill doesn’t even give the federal government enough power to protect Black people in Alabama who don’t want to do anything but register? Why it’s another foul trick, ’cause they . . . tricked us year in and year out. Another foul trick. [Applause]
So, since we see — I don’t want you to think I’m teaching hate. I love everybody who loves me. [Laughter] But I sure don’t love those who don’t love me. [Laughter]
Since we see all of this subterfuge, this trickery, this maneuvering — it’s not only at the federal level, the national level, the local level, all levels. The young generation of Blacks that’s coming up now can see that as long as we wait for the Congress and the Senate and the Supreme Court and the president to solve our problems, you’ll have us waiting on tables for another thousand years. And there aren’t no days like those.
Since the civil rights bill — I used to see African diplomats at the UN crying out against the injustice that was being done to Black people in Mozambique, in Angola, the Congo, in South Africa, and I wondered why and how they could go back to their hotels and turn on the TV and see dogs biting Black people right down the block and policemen wrecking the stores of Black people with their clubs right down the block, and putting water hoses on Black people with pressure so high it tear our clothes off, right down the block. And I wondered how they could talk all that talk about what was happening in Angola and Mozambique and all the rest of it and see it happen right down the block and get up on the podium in the UN and not say anything about it.
But I went and discussed it with some of them. And they said that as long as the Black man in America calls his struggle a struggle of civil rights — that in the civil rights context, it’s domestic and it remains within the jurisdiction of the United States. And if any of them open up their mouths to say anything about it, it’s considered a violation of the laws and rules of protocol. And the difference with the other people was that they didn’t call their grievances “civil rights” grievances, they called them “human rights” grievances. “Civil rights” are within the jurisdiction of the government where they are involved. But “human rights” is part of the charter of the United Nations.
All the nations that signed the charter of the UN came up with the Declaration of Human Rights and anyone who classifies his grievances under the label of “human rights” violations, those grievances can then be brought into the United Nations and be discussed by people all over the world. For as long as you call it “civil rights” your only allies can be the people in the next community, many of whom are responsible for your grievance. But when you call it “human rights” it becomes international. And then you can take your troubles to the World Court. You can take them before the world. And anybody anywhere on this earth can become your ally.
So one of the first steps that we became involved in, those of us who got into the Organization of Afro- American Unity, was to come up with a program that would make our grievances international and make the world see that our problem was no longer a Negro problem or an American problem but a human problem. A problem for humanity. And a problem which should be attacked by all elements of humanity. A problem that was so complex that it was impossible for Uncle Sam to solve it himself and therefore we want to get into a body or conference with people who are in such positions that they can help us get some kind of adjustment for this situation before it gets so explosive that no one can handle it.
Thank you. [Applause]
(1947) W.E.B. DuBois, “An Appeal to the World : A Statement of Denial of Human Rights to Minorities in the Case of citizens of Negro Descent in the United States of America and an Appeal to the United Nations for Redress.”
There are in the Unites States of America, fifteen millions or more of native-born citizens, something less than a tenth of the nation, who form largely a segregated caste, with restricted legal rights, and many illegal disabilities. They are descendants of the Africans brought to America during the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries and reduced to slave labor. This group has no complete biological unity, but varies in color from white to black, and comprises a great variety of physical characteristics, since many are the off-spring of white European-Americans as well as of Africans. Similarly, there is an equal and perhaps even larger number of white Americans who also descend from Negroes but who are not counted in the colored group nor subject to caste restrictions because the preponderance of white blood conceals their descent.
The so-called American Negro group, therefore, while it is in no sense absolutely set off physically from its fellow Americans, has nevertheless a strong, hereditary cultural unity, born of slavery, of common suffering, prolonged prescription and curtailment of political and civil rights; and especially because of economic and social disabilities. Largely from this fact have arisen their cultural gifts to America—their rhythm, music and folk-song’ their religious faith and customs; their contribution to American art and literature; their defense of their country in every war, on land and sea; and especially the hard, continuous toil upon which the prosperity and wealth of this continent has largely been built.
The group has long been internally divided by dilemma as to whether its striving upward, should be aimed at strengthening its inner cultural and group bonds, both for intrinsic progress and for offensive power against caste; or whether it should seek escape wherever and however possible into the surrounding American culture. Decision in this matter has been largely determined by outer compulsion rather than inner plan; for rabid and prolonged policies of segregation and discrimination have involuntarily welded the mass almost into a nation with an nation with its own schools, churches, hospitals, newspapers, and often other business enterprises.
The result has been to make American Negroes to a wide extent provincial, introvertive, self-conscious, and narrowly race loyal; but it has also inspired them to frantic and often successful effort to achieve, to deserve, to show the world their capacity to share modern civilization. As a result there is almost no area of American civilization in which the Negro has not made credible showing in the face of all his handicaps.
If however the effect of the color caste system on the American Negro has been both good and bad, its effect on white America has been disastrous. It has repeatedly led the greatest modern attempt at democratic government to deny its political ideals, to falsify its philanthropic assertions, and to make its religion a vast hypocrisy. A nation which boldly declared “All men equal,” proceeded to build its economy on chattel slavery; masters who declared race-mixture impossible, sold their own children into slavery and left a mulatto progeny which neither law nor science can today disentangle; churches which excused slavery as calling the heathen to God, refused to recognize the freedom of converts or admit them to equal communion. Sectional strife over the vast profits of slave labor and conscientious revolt against making human beings real estate led to bloody civil war, and to a partial emancipation of slaves which nevertheless even to this day is not complete. Poverty, ignorance, disease, and crime have been forced on these unfortunate victims of greed to an extent far beyond any social necessity; and a great nation, which today ought to be in the forefront of the march toward peace and democracy, finds itself continuously making common cause with race hate, prejudiced exploitation and oppression of the common man. Its high and noble words are tuned against it, because they are contradicted in every syllable by the treatment of the American Negro for three hundred and twenty-seven years.
In the Constitution of the United States, Negroes are referred to as fellows although the word “slave” is carefully avoided before the thirteenth amendment. Article I (1787) Section 2, apportionment of members of the House of Representatives: “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.” “Other persons” means Negro slaves. Article I, Section, 9 “The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.” “Each person” refers to Negro slaves. Article IV, (1787) Section 2, “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered upon claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” This refers particularly to fugitive slaves. Article XIII (1865) Section 1. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” Article XIV, (1868) Section 1. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, not deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, representatives in Congress, the executive or judicial offers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the Untied States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State. Section 3. No person shall be a senator or representative in Congress, or elector of President or Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who having previously taken an oath as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each house, remove such disability. Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the Untied States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations, and claims shall be held illegal and void. Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” Article XV, (1870) Section 1. “The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
We appeal to the world to witness that this attitude of America is far more dangerous to mankind than the Atom bomb; and far, far more clamorous for attention than disarmament or treaty. To disarm the hidebound minds of men is the only path to peace; and as long as Great Britain and the United States profess democracy with one hand and deny it to millions with the other, they convince none of their sincerity, least of all themselves. Not only that, but they encourage the aggression of smaller nations: so long as the Union of South Africa defends Humanity and lets two million whites enslave ten million colored people, its voice spells hypocrisy. So long as Belgium holds in both economic and intellectual bondage, a territory seventy-five times her own size and larger in population, no one can sympathize with her loss of dividends based on serf labor at twenty-five to fifty cents a day. Seven million “white” Australians cannot yell themselves into championship of democracy for seven hundred million Asiatics.
Therefore, Peoples of the World, we American Negroes appeal to you; our treatment in America is not merely an internal question of the United States. It is a basic problem of humanity; of democracy; of discrimination because of race and color; and as such it demands your attention and action. No nation is so great that the world can afford to let it continue to be deliberately unjust, cruel and unfair toward its own citizens.
This is our plea to the world; and to show its validity; we are presenting you with the proof. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, with more than a half million members, has asked four scholars under my editorship to present chapters showing in detail the status of American Negroes in the past and today, in law, administration and social condition; and the relation of this situation to the Charter of the United Nations.
Milton R. Konvitz who writes Chapter one is a white American of Jewish descent. He is associate professor and director of research, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University; he is a member of national legal committee, NAACP; and author of The Constitution and Civil Rights (Columbia University Press, 1946), and The Alien and the Asiatic in American Law (Cornell University Press, 1946).
The writer of the second chapter is an American Negro, Earl Dickerson of Chicago. Mr. Dickerson is a practicing lawyer and formerly a member of the legislature of the state of Illinois.
The third chapter is by William R. Ming, Jr. of the federal office of Price Administration and recently had been made a member of the institute of social scientists and lawyers of the University of Chicago.
Rayford R. Logan the writer of the fourth chapter is a Harvard doctor of philosophy and history; 1st Lieutenant in World War I and now professor of history at Howard University. He has written Diplomatic Relations of the United States and Haiti, The Operation of the Mandate System in Africa, and The Negro in the Post-War World. He was editor and contributor to What the Negro Wants.
Some inspiring words to help you get going…
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965
entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19
The States Parties to this Convention,
Considering that the Charter of the United Nations is based on the principles of the dignity and equality inherent in all human beings, and that all Member States have pledged themselves to take joint and separate action, in co-operation with the Organization, for the achievement of one of the purposes of the United Nations which is to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,
Considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out therein, without distinction of any kind, in particular as to race, colour or national origin,
Considering that all human beings are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law against any discrimination and against any incitement to discrimination,
Considering that the United Nations has condemned colonialism and all practices of segregation and discrimination associated therewith, in whatever form and wherever they exist, and that the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples of 14 December 1960 (General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV)) has affirmed and solemnly proclaimed the necessity of bringing them to a speedy and unconditional end,
Considering that the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 20 November 1963 (General Assembly resolution 1904 (XVIII)) solemnly affirms the necessity of speedily eliminating racial discrimination throughout the world in all its forms and manifestations and of securing understanding of and respect for the dignity of the human person,
Convinced that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere,
Reaffirming that discrimination between human beings on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin is an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations among nations and is capable of disturbing peace and security among peoples and the harmony of persons living side by side even within one and the same State,
Convinced that the existence of racial barriers is repugnant to the ideals of any human society,
Alarmed by manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas of the world and by governmental policies based on racial superiority or hatred, such as policies of apartheid, segregation or separation,
Resolved to adopt all necessary measures for speedily eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and manifestations, and to prevent and combat racist doctrines and practices in order to promote understanding between races and to build an international community free from all forms of racial segregation and racial discrimination,
Bearing in mind the Convention concerning Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation adopted by the International Labour Organisation in 1958, and the Convention against Discrimination in Education adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1960,
Desiring to implement the principles embodied in the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Al l Forms of Racial Discrimination and to secure the earliest adoption of practical measures to that end,
Have agreed as follows:
1. In this Convention, the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
2. This Convention shall not apply to distinctions, exclusions, restrictions or preferences made by a State Party to this Convention between citizens and non-citizens.
3. Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as affecting in any way the legal provisions of States Parties concerning nationality, citizenship or naturalization, provided that such provisions do not discriminate against any particular nationality.
4. Special measures taken for the sole purpose of securing adequate advancement of certain racial or ethnic groups or individuals requiring such protection as may be necessary in order to ensure such groups or individuals equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms shall not be deemed racial discrimination, provided, however, that such measures do not, as a consequence, lead to the maintenance of separate rights for different racial groups and that they shall not be continued after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved.
1. States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, and, to this end: (a) Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to en sure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation;
(b) Each State Party undertakes not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organizations;
(c) Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists;
(d) Each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization;
(e) Each State Party undertakes to encourage, where appropriate, integrationist multiracial organizations and movements and other means of eliminating barriers between races, and to discourage anything which tends to strengthen racial division.
2. States Parties shall, when the circumstances so warrant, take, in the social, economic, cultural and other fields, special and concrete measures to ensure the adequate development and protection of certain racial groups or individuals belonging to them, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. These measures shall in no case en tail as a con sequence the maintenance of unequal or separate rights for different racial groups after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved.
States Parties particularly condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction.
States Parties condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination and, to this end, with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights expressly set forth in article 5 of this Convention, inter alia:
(a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;
(b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law;
(c) Shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination.
In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights:
(a) The right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice;
(b) The right to security of person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm, whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual group or institution;
(c) Political rights, in particular the right to participate in elections-to vote and to stand for election-on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, to take part in the Government as well as in the conduct of public affairs at any level and to have equal access to public service;
(d) Other civil rights, in particular:
(i) The right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the State;
(ii) The right to leave any country, including one’s own, and to return to one’s country;
(iii) The right to nationality;
(iv) The right to marriage and choice of spouse;
(v) The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;
(vi) The right to inherit;
(vii) The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
(viii) The right to freedom of opinion and expression;
(ix) The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
(e) Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular:
(i) The rights to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, to just and favourable remuneration;
(ii) The right to form and join trade unions;
(iii) The right to housing;
(iv) The right to public health, medical care, social security and social services;
(v) The right to education and training;
(vi) The right to equal participation in cultural activities;
(f) The right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks.
States Parties shall assure to everyone within their jurisdiction effective protection and remedies, through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions, against any acts of racial discrimination which violate his human rights and fundamental freedoms contrary to this Convention, as well as the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination.
States Parties undertake to adopt immediate and effective measures, particularly in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or ethnical groups, as well as to propagating the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and this Convention.
1. There shall be established a Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) consisting of eighteen experts of high moral standing and acknowledged impartiality elected by States Parties from among their nationals, who shall serve in their personal capacity, consideration being given to equitable geographical distribution and to the representation of the different forms of civilization as well as of the principal legal systems.
2. The members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a list of persons nominated by the States Parties. Each State Party may nominate one person from among its own nationals.
3. The initial election shall be held six months after the date of the entry into force of this Convention. At least three months before the date of each election the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall address a letter to the States Parties inviting them to submit their nominations within two months. The Secretary-General shall prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons thus nominated, indicating the States Parties which have nominated them, and shall submit it to the States Parties.
4. Elections of the members of the Committee shall be held at a meeting of States Parties convened by the Secretary-General at United Nations Headquarters. At that meeting, for which two thirds of the States Parties shall constitute a quorum, the persons elected to the Committee shall be nominees who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of States Parties present and voting.
(a) The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of four years. However, the terms of nine of the members elected at the first election shall expire at the end of two years; immediately after the first election the names of these nine members shall be chosen by lot by the Chairman of the Committee;
(b) For the filling of casual vacancies, the State Party whose expert has ceased to function as a member of the Committee shall appoint another expert from among its nationals, subject to the approval of the Committee.
6. States Parties shall be responsible for the expenses of the members of the Committee while they are in performance of Committee duties.
1. States Parties undertake to submit to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for consideration by the Committee, a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which they have adopted and which give effect to the provisions of this Convention: (a) within one year after the entry into force of the Convention for the State concerned; and
(b) thereafter every two years and whenever the Committee so requests. The Committee may request further information from the States Parties.
2. The Committee shall report annually, through the Secretary General, to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its activities and may make suggestions and general recommendations based on the examination of the reports and information received from the States Parties. Such suggestions and general recommendations shall be reported to the General Assembly together with comments, if any, from States Parties.
1. The Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure.
2. The Committee shall elect its officers for a term of two years.
3. The secretariat of the Committee shall be provided by the Secretary General of the United Nations.
4. The meetings of the Committee shall normally be held at United Nations Headquarters.
1. If a State Party considers that another State Party is not giving effect to the provisions of this Convention, it may bring the matter to the attention of the Committee. The Committee shall then transmit the communication to the State Party concerned. Within three months, the receiving State shall submit to the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, that may have been taken by that State.
2. If the matter is not adjusted to the satisfaction of both parties, either by bilateral negotiations or by any other procedure open to them, within six months after the receipt by the receiving State of the initial communication, either State shall have the right to refer the matter again to the Committee by notifying the Committee and also the other State.
3. The Committee shall deal with a matter referred to it in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article after it has ascertained that all available domestic remedies have been invoked and exhausted in the case, in conformity with the generally recognized principles of international law. This shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged.
4. In any matter referred to it, the Committee may call upon the States Parties concerned to supply any other relevant information.
5. When any matter arising out of this article is being considered by the Committee, the States Parties concerned shall be entitled to send a representative to take part in the proceedings of the Committee, without voting rights, while the matter is under consideration.
1. (a) After the Committee has obtained and collated all the information it deems necessary, the Chairman shall appoint an ad hoc Conciliation Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) comprising five persons who may or may not be members of the Committee. The members of the Commission shall be appointed with the unanimous consent of the parties to the dispute, and its good offices shall be made available to the States concerned with a view to an amicable solution of the matter on the basis of respect for this Convention;
(b) If the States parties to the dispute fail to reach agreement within three months on all or part of the composition of the Commission, the members of the Commission not agreed upon by the States parties to the dispute shall be elected by secret ballot by a two-thirds majority vote of the Committee from among its own members.
2. The members of the Commission shall serve in their personal capacity. They shall not be nationals of the States parties to the dispute or of a State not Party to this Convention.
3. The Commission shall elect its own Chairman and adopt its own rules of procedure.
4. The meetings of the Commission shall normally be held at United Nations Headquarters or at any other convenient place as determined by the Commission.
5. The secretariat provided in accordance with article 10, paragraph 3, of this Convention shall also service the Commission whenever a dispute among States Parties brings the Commission into being.
6. The States parties to the dispute shall share equally all the expenses of the members of the Commission in accordance with estimates to be provided by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
7. The Secretary-General shall be empowered to pay the expenses of the members of the Commission, if necessary, before reimbursement by the States parties to the dispute in accordance with paragraph 6 of this article.
8. The information obtained and collated by the Committee shall be made available to the Commission, and the Commission may call upon the States concerned to supply any other relevant information.
1. When the Commission has fully considered the matter, it shall prepare and submit to the Chairman of the Committee a report embodying its findings on all questions of fact relevant to the issue between the parties and containing such recommendations as it may think proper for the amicable solution of the dispute.
2. The Chairman of the Committee shall communicate the report of the Commission to each of the States parties to the dispute. These States shall, within three months, inform the Chairman of the Committee whether or not they accept the recommendations contained in the report of the Commission.
3. After the period provided for in paragraph 2 of this article, the Chairman of the Committee shall communicate the report of the Commission and the declarations of the States Parties concerned to the other States Parties to this Convention.
1. A State Party may at any time declare that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications from individuals or groups of individuals within its jurisdiction claiming to be victims of a violation by that State Party of any of the rights set forth in this Convention. No communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State Party which has not made such a declaration.
2. Any State Party which makes a declaration as provided for in paragraph I of this article may establish or indicate a body within its national legal order which shall be competent to receive and consider petitions from individuals and groups of individuals within its jurisdiction who claim to be victims of a violation of any of the rights set forth in this Convention and who have exhausted other available local remedies.
3. A declaration made in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article and the name of any body established or indicated in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article shall be deposited by the State Party concerned with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the other States Parties. A declaration may be withdrawn at any time by notification to the Secretary-General, but such a withdrawal shall not affect communications pending before the Committee.
4. A register of petitions shall be kept by the body established or indicated in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article, and certified copies of the register shall be filed annually through appropriate channels with the Secretary-General on the understanding that the contents shall not be publicly disclosed.
5. In the event of failure to obtain satisfaction from the body established or indicated in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article, the petitioner shall have the right to communicate the matter to the Committee within six months.
(a) The Committee shall confidentially bring any communication referred to it to the attention of the State Party alleged to be violating any provision of this Convention, but the identity of the individual or groups of individuals concerned shall not be revealed without his or their express consent. The Committee shall not receive anonymous communications;
(b) Within three months, the receiving State shall submit to the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, that may have been taken by that State.
(a) The Committee shall consider communications in the light of all information made available to it by the State Party concerned and by the petitioner. The Committee shall not consider any communication from a petitioner unless it has ascertained that the petitioner has exhausted all available domestic remedies. However, this shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged;
(b) The Committee shall forward its suggestions and recommendations, if any, to the State Party concerned and to the petitioner.
8. The Committee shall include in its annual report a summary of such communications and, where appropriate, a summary of the explanations and statements of the States Parties concerned and of its own suggestions and recommendations.
9. The Committee shall be competent to exercise the functions provided for in this article only when at least ten States Parties to this Convention are bound by declarations in accordance with paragraph I of this article.
1 . Pending the achievement of the objectives of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, the provisions of this Convention shall in no way limit the right of petition granted to these peoples by other international instruments or by the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
(a) The Committee established under article 8, paragraph 1, of this Convention shall receive copies of the petitions from, and submit expressions of opinion and recommendations on these petitions to, the bodies of the United Nations which deal with matters directly related to the principles and objectives of this Convention in their consideration of petitions from the inhabitants of Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories and all other territories to which General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) applies, relating to matters covered by this Convention which are before these bodies;
(b) The Committee shall receive from the competent bodies of the United Nations copies of the reports concerning the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures directly related to the principles and objectives of this Convention applied by the administering Powers within the Territories mentioned in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, and shall express opinions and make recommendations to these bodies.
3. The Committee shall include in its report to the General Assembly a summary of the petitions and reports it has received from United Nations bodies, and the expressions of opinion and recommendations of the Committee relating to the said petitions and reports.
4. The Committee shall request from the Secretary-General of the United Nations all information relevant to the objectives of this Convention and available to him regarding the Territories mentioned in paragraph 2 (a) of this article.
The provisions of this Convention concerning the settlement of disputes or complaints shall be applied without prejudice to other procedures for settling disputes or complaints in the field of discrimination laid down in the constituent instruments of, or conventions adopted by, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and shall not prevent the States Parties from having recourse to other procedures for settling a dispute in accordance with general or special international agreements in force between them.
1. This Convention is open for signature by any State Member of the United Nations or member of any of its specialized agencies, by any State Party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, and by any other State which has been invited by the General Assembly of the United Nations to become a Party to this Convention.
2. This Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1. This Convention shall be open to accession by any State referred to in article 17, paragraph 1, of the Convention. 2. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1. This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the twenty-seventh instrument of ratification or instrument of accession.
2. For each State ratifying this Convention or acceding to it after the deposit of the twenty-seventh instrument of ratification or instrument of accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or instrument of accession.
1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall receive and circulate to all States which are or may become Parties to this Convention reservations made by States at the time of ratification or accession. Any State which objects to the reservation shall, within a period of ninety days from the date of the said communication, notify the Secretary-General that it does not accept it.
2. A reservation incompatible with the object and purpose of this Convention shall not be permitted, nor shall a reservation the effect of which would inhibit the operation of any of the bodies established by this Convention be allowed. A reservation shall be considered incompatible or inhibitive if at least two thirds of the States Parties to this Convention object to it.
3. Reservations may be withdrawn at any time by notification to this effect addressed to the Secretary-General. Such notification shall take effect on the date on which it is received.
A State Party may denounce this Convention by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Denunciation shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary General.
Any dispute between two or more States Parties with respect to the interpretation or application of this Convention, which is not settled by negotiation or by the procedures expressly provided for in this Convention, shall, at the request of any of the parties to the dispute, be referred to the International Court of Justice for decision, unless the disputants agree to another mode of settlement.
1. A request for the revision of this Convention may be made at any time by any State Party by means of a notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. The General Assembly of the United Nations shall decide upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such a request.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States referred to in article 17, paragraph 1, of this Convention of the following particulars:
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under articles 17 and 18;
(b) The date of entry into force of this Convention under article 19;
(c) Communications and declarations received under articles 14, 20 and 23;
(d) Denunciations under article 21.
1. This Convention, of which the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.
2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of this Convention to all States belonging to any of the categories mentioned in article 17, paragraph 1, of the Convention.