Appeal to African Heads of State

Speech by Malcolm X

Chairman, Organization of Afro-American Unity

Throughout June, 1964, MALCOLM X spoke, agitated, educated and organized to create a new, non-religious movement to promote black unity and work for freedom “by any means necessary.” On June 28, this new movement was born under the name of the Organization of Afro-American Unit, its “statement of basic aims and objectives” was released to the public, and Malcolm was designated chairman.

Shortly thereafter, on July 9, Malcolm again left the United States for Africa and the Middle East. His immediate objective was to attend the “African Summit”—the second meeting of the Organization of African Unity, which had been formed in 1963 to bring about joint action by the independent African governments.

The OAU conference was held in Cairo July 17–21, and was attended by nearly all the heads of the thirty-four member states. The welcoming address was made by President Gamal Abdel Nasser of the United Arab Republic who, while reviewing the events of the previous year, hailed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that had recently been enacted in the United States.

Malcolm was accepted as an observer at the conference. In this capacity he was permitted to submit to the delegates an eight-page memorandum urging their support of the Negro struggle in the United States and their help in bring the plight of the American Negro before the United Nations. The memorandum, which follows, was delivered to the delegates on July 17, one day before the events that came to be called “the Harlem riots.”

Your Excellencies:

The Organization of Afro-American Unity has sent me to attend this historic African summit conferences as an observer to represent the interests of 22 million African-American whose human rights are being violated daily by the racism of American imperialists.

The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) has been formed by a cross-section of America’s African-American community, and is patterned after the letter and spirit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Just as the Organization of African Unity has called upon all African leaders to submerge their differences and unite on common objectives for the common good of all Africans—in America the Organization of Afro-American Unity has called upon Afro-American leaders to submerge their differences and find areas of agreement wherein we can work in unity for the good of the entire 22 million African-Americans.

Since the 22 million of us were originally Africans, who are now in America, not by choice but only by a cruel accident in our history, we strongly believe that African problems are our problems and our problems are African problems.

Your Excellencies:

We also believe that as heads of the Independent African states you are the shepherd of all African peoples everywhere, whether they are still at home on the mother continent or have been scattered abroad.

Some African leaders at this conference have implied that they have enough problems here on the mother continent without adding the Afro-American problem.

With all due respect to your esteemed positions, I must remind all of you that the good shepherd will leave ninety-nine sheep, who are safe at home, to go to the aid of the one who is lost and has fallen into the clutches of the imperialist wolf.

We, in America, are your long-lost brothers and sisters, and I am here only to remind you that our problems are your problems. As the African-Americans “awaken” today, we find ourselves in a strange land that has rejected us, and, like the prodigal son, we are turning to our elder brothers for help. We pray our pleas will not fall upon deaf ears.

We were taken forcibly in chains from this mother continent and have now spend over 300 years in America, suffering the most inhuman forms of physical and psychological tortures imaginable.

During the past ten years the entire world has witnessed our men, women, and children being attacked and bitten by vicious police dogs, brutally beaten by police clubs, and washed down the sewers by high-pressure water hoses that would rip the clothes from our bodies and the flesh from our limbs.

And all of these inhuman atrocities have been inflicted upon us by the American governmental authorities, the police themselves, for no reason other than we seek the recognition and respect granted our human beings in America.

Your Excellencies:

The American government is either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property of your 22 million African-American brothers and sisters. We stand defenseless, at the mercy of American racists who murder us at will for no reason other than we are black and of African descent.

Two black bodies were found in the Mississippi River this week; last week an unarmed African-American educator was murdered in cold blood in Georgia; a few days before that three civil-rights workers disappeared completely, perhaps murdered also, only because they were teaching our people in Mississippi how to vote and how to secure their political rights.

Our problems are your problems We have lived for over 300 years in that American den of racist wolves in constant fear of losing life and limb. Recently, three students from Kenya were mistaken for American Negroes and were brutally beaten by New York police. Shortly after that, two diplomats from Uganda were also beaten by the New York City police, who mistook them for American Negroes.

If Africans are brutally beaten while only visiting in America, imagine the physical and psychological suffering received by your brothers and sisters who have lived there for over 300 years.

Our problem is your problem. No matter how much independence Africans get here on the mother continent, unless you wear your national dress at all times, when you visit America, you may be mistaken for one of us and suffer the same psychological humiliation and physical mutilation that is an everyday occurrence in our lives.

Your problems will never be fully solved until and unless ours are solved. You will never be fully respected until and unless we are also respected. You will never be recognized as free human beings until and unless we are also recognized and treated as human beings.

Our problem is your problem. It is not a Negro problem, nor an American problem. This is a world problem; a problem for humanity. It is not a problem of civil rights but a problem of human rights.

If the United States Supreme Court justice, Arthur Goldberg, a few weeks ago, could find legal grounds to threaten to bring Russia before the United Nations and charge her with violating the human rights of less than three million Russian Jews, what makes our African brothers hesitate to bring the Untied States government before the United Nations and charge her with violating the human rights of 22 million African-Americans?

We pray that our African brothers have not freed themselves of European colonialism only to be overcome and held in check now by American dollarism. Don’t let American racism be “legalized” by American dollarism.

America is worse than South Africa, because not only is America racist, but she also is deceitful and hypocritical. South Africa preaches segregation and practices segregation. She, at least, practices what she preaches. American preaches integration and practices segregation. She preaches one thing while deceitfully practicing another.

South Africa is like a vicious wolf, openly hostile towards black humanity. But America is cunning like a fox, friendly and smiling, but even more vicious and deadly than the wolf.

The wolf and the fox are both enemies of humanity; both are canine; both humiliate and mutilate their victims. Both have the same objectives, but differ only in methods.

If South Africa is guilty of violating the human rights of Africans here on the mother continent, then America is guilty of worse violations of 22 million Africans on the American continent. And if South Africa racism is not a domestic issue, then American racism also is not a domestic issue.

Many of you have been led to believe that the much publicized, recently passed civil-rights bill is a sign that America is making a sincere effort to correct the injustices we have suffered there. This propaganda maneuver is part of her deceit and trickery to keep the African nations from condemning her racist practices before the United Nations, as you are now doing as regards the same practices of South Africa.

The United States Supreme Court passed a law ten years ago making America’s segregated school system illegal. But the federal government has yet to enforce this law even in the North. If the federal government cannot enforce the law of the highest court in the land when it comes to nothing but equal rights to education for African Americans, how can anyone be so naïve as to think all the additional laws brought into being by the civil-rights bill will be enforced?

These are nothing but tricks of the century’s leading neo-colonialist power. Surely, our intellectually mature African brothers will not fall for this trickery.

The Organization of Afro-American Unity, in cooperation with a coalition of other Negro leaders and organizations, has decided to elevate our freedom struggle above the domestic level of civil rights. We intend to “internationalize” it by placing it at the level of human rights. Our freedom struggle for human dignity is no longer confined to the domestic jurisdiction of the United States government.

We beseech the independent African states to help us bring our problem before the United Nations, on the grounds that the United States government is morally incapable of protecting the lives and the property of 22 million African-Americans. And on the grounds that our deteriorating plight is definitely becoming a threat to world peace.

Out of frustration and hopelessness our young people have reached the point of no return. We no longer endorse patience and turning-the-other-cheek. We assert the right of self-defense by whatever means necessary, and reserve the right of maximum retaliation against our racist oppressors, no matter what the odds against us are.

From here on in, if we must die anyway, we will die fighting back and we will not die alone. We intend to see that our racist oppressors also get a taste of death.

We are well aware that our future efforts to defend ourselves by retaliating—by meeting violence with violence, eye for eye and tooth for tooth—could create the type of racial conflict in America that could easily escalate into a violent, world-wide, bloody race war.

In the interests of world peace and security, we beseech the heads of the independent African states to recommend an immediate investigation into our problem by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

If this humble plea that I am voicing at this conference is not properly worded, then let our elder brothers, who know the legal language, come to our aid and word our plea in the proper language necessary for it to be heard.

One last word, my beloved brothers at this African summit:

“No one knows the master better than his servant.” We have been servants in America for over 300 years. We have a thorough, inside knowledge of this man who calls himself “Uncle Sam.” Therefore, you must heed our warning: Don’t escape from European colonialism only to become even more enslaved by deceitful, “friendly” American dollarism.

May Allah’s blessings of good health and wisdom be upon you all. Salaam Alaikum.

* * * * *

Malcolm X Speaks • George Breitman, editor • © Copyright 1965 by Merit Publishers and Betty Shabazz • Grove Press • New York, NY 10003 Remembering Malcolm Malcolm X Videos

posted 21 February 2006

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Feb. 21, 2006–41 years ago

Malcolm X was gunned down at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem

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Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro

By Barbara Foley

A carefully argued, nuanced presentation of the genesis of the Harlem Renaissance. Foley’s breadth of knowledge in American radical history is impressive.—American Literature

Foley’s book is a lucid and useful one… A heavyweight intervention, it prompts significant rethinking of the ideological and representational strategies structuring the era.—Journal of American Studies

Foley does a masterful job of analyzing the racial and political theories of a wide range of black and white figures, from the radical Left to the racist Right… Students of African American political and cultural history in the early twentieth century cannot ignore this book. Essential.—Choice

In our current time of crisis, when ruling classes busily promote nationalism and racism to conceal the class nature of their inter-imperialist rivalries, one can only hope that readers will not be daunted by Foley’s dedication to analyzing the ideological milieu of the 1920s that contributed to the eclipse of New Negro radicalism by New Negro nationalism.—Science & Society

With the New Negro movement and the Harlem Renaissance, the 1920s was a landmark decade in African American political and cultural history, characterized by an upsurge in racial awareness and artistic creativity. In Spectres of 1919 Barbara Foley traces the origins of this revolutionary era to the turbulent year 1919, identifying the events and trends in American society that spurred the black community to action and examining the forms that action took as it evolved.

Unlike prior studies of the Harlem Renaissance, which see 1919 as significant mostly because of the geographic migrations of blacks to the North, Spectres of 1919 looks at that year as the political crucible from which the radicalism of the 1920s emerged. Foley draws from a wealth of primary sources, taking a bold new approach to the origins of African American radicalism and adding nuance and complexity to the understanding of a fascinating and vibrant era.—

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan / The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll / Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804 / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti

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BCP Digital Printing

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updated 19 October 2007

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  1. Jammu Africa Says:

    Brother, you have every right to think and feel the way you do, I empathizes and sympathize with you! I understand your position on the so-called major religions and their pagan practices and origins. We follow the Diin of Noah (Diin meaning Trust), given through divine revelation as Al-Hanifiyyah (The Upright Way).
    In addition, we follow what is called Millata Ibrahima Haniifaa (Haniifaa is another way to say Al-Hanifiyyah)which is what Prophet Muhammad was ordered to follow. We reject Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and the rest of those practice that are rejected by the Most High. The Tawraah, The Instruction (so-called Law) given to our Black ancestor Musa (Moses) and the Qur’an (Less the Lies written into it by lying scribes after Muhammad was murdered by his two white wives Ayesha and Hafsa) is what Allah has ordered us to follow. We are Aramaean Misraian (Egyptian) Israilites, descended from the Ishmailites, and Isralities that settled in West Africa (this is not a claim we have genetic proof). We are Aramaean because Musa (Moses) says that we are and our ancestors are Aramaean (from Abraham, Ishaaq, Ishmail and Ya’cuub). Please read our Declaration of Independence, and our Appeals to these various groups. We reject the Oppressors religion and history of the world, we reject the Colonizers religion and history of the world, We Will Tell Our Own Story! Please do not let no or little knowledge of what you are hearing deter you from studying what is presented to you. We are growing fast, people are signing up everyday, former Muslims, former Christians, and others because of the Truth that they hear from us. Our West African brothers and sisters support our move, American White people support our move and most importantly the U.S. Court supports our move to repatriate. Mark my word Brother, within ten years The New United Republic will be a world recognized Nation/State, independent country! You must know that things in America will never change for African Americans no matter how much Black Consciouness they get, the White society rejects Black Consciousness and Blacks in general unless you are in their camp and they approve of your efforts! Join Us, add your strength to our power, keep your positions of leadership, but know that we will not take any of these religions with us, in fact they will be banned, and prohibited on our “Land” in West Africa. Visit our web site, take our Opinion Poll and read our Declaration of Independence, and of course sign up to “Repatriate to West Africa”!!!!!!!!

    Respectfully Submitted
    Imamaa Bilal Sabir

    • the realest Says:

      First of all thanks God(ALLAH) we all are black people who love africa as a whole.When you say “Join Us, add your strength to our power, keep your positions of leadership, but know that we will not take any of these religions with us, in fact they will be banned, and prohibited on our “Land” in West Africa.” Then how are you any different from any other current oppressors or past oppressors? By refusing one to have the right to follow their own religion or beliefs you demonstrate the qualities of an oppressor.In Islam we do not force people to become muslim, we do not hurt people if they dont accept our religion. Islam is peace the Quran is 100% right. This new religion that you are talking about i have not heard.These claims of being an Israelite is the same of saying you are a descendant of a Hebrews.key word “Israel”,but what i dont know is why would you say or talk about banning religions???? Malcom X was a Great man indeed, in fact he is my main hero other then Prophet Muhammed PBUH.You need to change your views. I respect that you have your own religion and i respect you as a person. But you need to respect other people and their views. Talk about Africa as a whole please stop seeing it as west,east,south,north.White people gave it these names to separate all black people and to make us hate each other.

  2. Jammu Africa Says:

    Salaamun Alaykum: Brother Al-Hajji Malik Shabazz made his appeal years ago to our so-called African brethren, “We beseech the independent African states to help us bring our problem before the United Nations, on the grounds that the United States government is morally incapable of protecting the lives and the property of 22 million African-Americans. And on the grounds that our deteriorating plight is definitely becoming a threat to world peace”. Our African brethren have turned a deaf ear toward our problems and concerns, as evidenced and witnessed by this appeal and others. However, we have taken up the causes of these same African states and leaders bringing them in many cases needed help and international attention to their problems and needs. We marched and lobbied for South Africa, we lobbied for more economic aid and for forgiving the enormous debt of our African brethren, but still we cannot get them to be responsive to our cries for help. The New United Republic is seeking “Repatriation to West Africa”, between the countries of Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Mali. The New United Republic publicly and openly seek the assistance of the four African countries in getting the “Land” requested for our new nation-state. Africans should open their hearts and land to us, by virtue of our being brethren and that our original place of “Domicile” is in West Africa. We in The New United Republic hope that we do not have to take this issue of the ‘Right of Return” and the issue of “Land” to the World Court for a decision.

    • the realest Says:

      To be honest your plight is understandable in that you are saying you have pain and suffering.But if you had your own state being in Africa and another person came to you i doubt that you would give those people a part or piece of your land.Another thing is how can your post be similar to what this web page is talking about? Anyone or any group of people can come and say they deserve a certain amount of land the question is what evidence do you have which gives your religion, your people the right to certain lands?”The Right Of Return” is a interesting comment that you have made. The question is do you have proof? i doubt that.Africa has tribes im guessing this is a tribal issue not one of people because in one of those 4 countries there exists more then 20 tribes

  3. Abbey Mustapha Says:

    Africans need to be repariated by the western world, trust me.
    We ‘Africans” have been oppressed for no reason in and out of our own country so the BLOOD of our ancestors are still crying of our emancipation

  4. Johnny Eklou Says:

    MX,there is no Capital without a Racism.

  5. organization Says:

    theory organizationa…


  6. Bilalii Beyy Says:


  7. unknown122 Says:

    malcolm X R.I.P

  8. Devon Barzey Says:


  9. Aduloju olufemi o Says:

    Im proud to be black.

  10. Rayshard Wallace Says:

    We are well aware that our future efforts to defend ourselves by retaliating—by meeting violence with violence, eye for eye and tooth for tooth—could create the type of racial conflict in America that could easily escalate into a violent, world-wide, bloody race war.

    We must remember that Whites are only our first target. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, nor Brother Minister Malcolm X understood the depth of the problem in the 1960’s and 1970’s. They both claimed that Whites came from the breeding out of blackness by the evil scientist Yacub. I agree. This would mean that the Brown, Red, and Yellow Races have various degrees of wickedness in them. It’s true that Whites are the ultimate devils. We must not stop with the elimination of Whites. If the World started 66 Trillion years ago with ONLY the BLACK MAN. It is our responsibility to get back to the original Earth. An Earth where there were nothing but black faces. All these other non-black people must be prevented from breeding and producing inferior offspring. Once we rule the world once again, these races should be sterilized in order to get back to the “Pure Original Black Race.” This may seem like an overwhelming project. But id Yacub was patient enough to create these inferior races, we certainly can be patient enough to reverse this curse and bring the World back to a Black Only Planet. What an exciting time to live in. OUR TIME HAS FINALLY COME!!!

  11. Denis Ishie Says:

    Much as I love the boldness of Malcolm X and follow discernably his teachings, I would love to differ on most of his writings and statements he posited…..One, Africans from Origin, were neither Muslim nor Christians. Both Religions are foreign and were introduced into Africa in the Northern Nations of Africa by Arab muslim traders who settled there and decided to trade with the people of the sub-Saharan Vasal States in West Africa. Same Arab muslims traders Killed, mamed, raped, and decapitated Africans for refusal to convert to Islam. So please point of Correction, to those who are spreading the falsehood..get the facts straight..I am an African, A royal Prince ad I know my people and my history…..Brothers should ask questions and not base their knowledged on diluted and well crafted lies and baises taught by some muslim fundamentalist.

    • the realest Says:

      To answer such a remark in such a way truley makes one wonder how do we know if you are a prince .Regardless of that statement just because you are a prince doesnt mean you know the real history.Islam freed black people from slavery due to in Islam (muslim) there is only one who is worshiped and that is god (ALLAH)

  12. Jamar Sanders Says:

    Malcom X has inspired me to be a better man, husband, and father.

  13. alfonzo7107 Says:

    Brother Malcom X was a great leader before my time.I embrace some of his teaching and believe he was heaven sent,to resolve differences of this troubled world.Thank you for your fight to take a stand for our people and the next generation must not forget.One of life’s greatest black hero;s.

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  15. Janina Portis Says:

    love this

  16. mimibear! :) yeah buddie! Says:

    hmmmm r.i.p he was a good man 🙂
    he would change the world if he was stil alive but something tells me he already did lol 🙂

  17. Mohamed Says:

    He was a good and he mended his ways when he went to macca.

    He will changed the world even more if he was still alive today.

    He spread his wisdom all around the world.

  18. Logosu Says:

    I love Malcolm X for his inspirations but the two major religions are just copies of our old Mystery System. The power is still there. The so-called pasters and others always come back for the power to do their miracles. Come back to the old root!!!

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  20. SHAHZADA Says:

    Malcolm in Mecca

    Finally, the actual pilgrimage: “My vocabulary cannot describe the new mosque that was being built around the Ka’aba,” he wrote, describing the sacred site as “a huge black stone house in the middle of the Great Mosque. It was being circumambulated by thousands upon thousands of praying pilgrims, both sexes, and every size, shape, color, and race in the world. […] My feeling here in the House of God was numbness. My mutawaf (religious guide) led me in the crowd of praying, chanting pilgrims, moving seven times around the Ka’aba. Some were bent and wizened with age; it was a sight that stamped itself on the brain.

    It was that sight that inspired his famous “Letters from Abroad”—three letters, one from Saudi Arabia, one from Nigeria and one from Ghana—that began redefining Malcolm X’s philosophy. “America,” he wrote from Saudi Arabia on April 20, 1964, “needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases the race problem from its society.” He would later concede that “the white man is not inherently evil, but America’s racist society influences him to act evilly.

  21. SHAHZADA Says:

    On April 13, 1964, Malcolm X left the United States on a personal and spiritual journey through the Middle East and West Africa. By the time he returned on
    May 21, he’d visited Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Ghana,
    Morocco and Algeria.

    In Mecca, he’d experienced what amounted to the second life-changing epiphany in his life as he accomplished the Hajj,
    or pilgrimage to Mecca, and discovered
    an authentic Islam of universal respect and brotherhood.
    The experience changed Malcolm’s world view.
    Gone was the belief in whites as exclusively evil.
    Gone was the call for black separatism. His voyage to
    Mecca helped him discover the atoning power of Islam
    as a means to unity as well as self-respect:
    “In my thirty-nine years on this earth,” he would write in his autobiography,
    “the Holy City of Mecca had been the first time I had ever stood before the Creator of All and felt like a complete human being.”

    It had been a long journey in a brief life.

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