“Ballot or the Bullet” Speech Summary, Text, & Analysis

February 20, 2023

35 min read

"The Ballot or the Bullet" speech was a passionate call to political action by Malcolm X, emphasizing the power of voting and the need for African Americans to take control of their own destiny. Check out our “Ballot or the Bullet” speech summary, text, and analysis.

In 1964, civil rights leader Malcolm X delivered one of his most famous speeches, “The Ballot or the Bullet.” This speech was given at a time when African Americans were still fighting for their basic human rights, including the right to vote. In this speech, Malcolm X passionately argued that African Americans must take control of their own destiny and use their voting power to demand change. He emphasized the importance of political action and encouraged his audience to use their ballots as a means of achieving their goals. This speech remains a powerful and thought-provoking message on the role of political power in the fight for civil rights. Below is the iconic “Ballot or the Bullet” Speech Summary, Text, & Analysis.

“Ballot or the Bullet” Speech Summary

We ran Malcom X’s speech through Yoodli, the free AI powered speech coaching platform. You can get started at www.yoodli.ai and view results for Malcom here. Here’s a summary of his speech:

  • African Americans must take control of their own destiny: Malcolm X argued that African Americans must stop relying on the goodwill of others to achieve their basic human rights. Instead, they must take control of their own destiny and use their own power to demand change.
  • Voting is a powerful tool: Malcolm X emphasized the importance of voting and encouraged his audience to use their ballots to make their voices heard. He believed that African Americans could use their voting power to elect officials who would work for their interests.
  • Political action is necessary: According to Malcolm X, political action was necessary to achieve civil rights. He encouraged his audience to organize politically and to hold politicians accountable for their actions.
  • Non-violence is not always effective: While Malcolm X did not advocate for violence, he argued that non-violent protests alone were not enough to achieve meaningful change. He believed that African Americans had the right to defend themselves if necessary.
  • Unity is key: Finally, Malcolm X emphasized the importance of unity among African Americans. He believed that African Americans must work together to achieve their goals.

“Ballot or the Bullet” Speech Text

The Yoodli AI-powered speech coach provides this “Ballot or the Bullet” speech text:

"Mr. Moderator, Reverend Klee and Milton brothers and sisters and friends. Can I see some enemies? In fact, I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we had an audience this large and didn’t realize that there were some enemies present. That’s right. This afternoon we want to talk about the ballot or the bullet, the ballot or the bullet explains itself. But before we get into it, since this is the year of the ballot or the bullet, I would like to clarify some things that refer to me personally concerning my own personal position.

I’m still a Muslim. That is, my religion is still Islam. My religion is still Islam. I still credit Mr. Muhammad for what I know and what I am. He’s the one who opened my eyes at present. I’m the minister of the newly founded, uh, Muslim Mosque Incorporated, which has its offices in the Teresa Hotel right in the heart of Harlem. That’s the black belt in New York City. And when we realize that Adam Clayton Paul is a Christian minister, he’s the, he has Aen Baptist Church, but at the same time, he’s more famous for his political struggling.

And Dr. King is a Christian minister in Atlanta from Atlanta, Georgia, or in Atlanta, Georgia. But he’s become more famous for being involved in the civil rights struggle. There’s another in New York. Reverend Goon, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him out here. He’s a Christian minister from Brooklyn, but has become famous for his fight against his segregated school system in Brooklyn. Reverend Cle right here is a Christian minister here in Detroit.

He’s the head of the Freedom Now Party. All of these are Christian ministers. All of these are Christian ministers, but they don’t come to us as Christian ministers. They come to us as spiders in some other category. I’m a Muslim minister, the same as they are Christian ministers. I’m a Muslim minister, and I don’t believe in fighting today in any one front, but on all fronts. In fact, I’m a black nationalist freedom fighter.

Islam is my religion. But I believe my religion is my personal business. It governs my personal life, my personal morals, and my religious philosophy is personal between me and the God in whom I believe. That’s right. Just as the religious philosophy of these others is between them and the God in whom they believe. And this is best this way, where we could come out here discussing religion. We’d have too many differences from the outstart and we could never get together.

So today though, Islam is my religious philosophy. My political, economic and social philosophy is black nationalism. You and I, as I say, if we bring up religion, we’ll have differences. We’ll have arguments. We’ll never be able to get together. But if we keep our religion at home, keep our religion in the closet, keep our religion between ourselves and our God. But when we come out here, we have a fight that’s common to all of us against the enemy who is common to all of us.

The political philosophy of black nationalism only means that the black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community. The the time, the time when white people can come in our community and get us to vote for them so that they can be our political leaders and tell us what to do and what not to do is long gone. By the same token, the time when that same white man knowing that your eyes are too far open, can send another negro into the community, get you and me to support him so he can use him to lead us astray those days along gone.

The political philosophy of black nationalism only means that if you and I are going to live in a black community, and that’s where we’re going to live. Cause as soon as you move into one of their com, soon as you move out of the black community into their community, it’s midst for a period of time. But they’re gone. And you right there all by yourself. We must, we must understand the politics of our community, and we must know what politics is supposed to produce.

We must know what part politics play in our lives. And until we become politically mature, we will always be misled, letter stray or deceived or maneuvered into, uh, supporting someone politically who doesn’t have the good of our community at heart. So the political philosophy of black nationalism only means that we will have to carry on a program, a political program of re-education to open our people’s eyes, make us become more politically conscious, politically mature, and then we will, whenever we get ready to cast our ballot, that ballot will be classed for, uh, will be cast for a man of the community who has the good of the community at heart.

The economic philosophy of black nationalism only means that we should own and operate and control the economy of our community. You would never find, you can’t open up a black store in a white community. White man won’t even patronize you. And he’s not wrong. He’s, he got sense enough to look out for himself. You, you don’t have enough to look out for yourself. The white man, the white man is too intelligent to let someone else come and gain control of the economy of his community.

That’s right. But you will let anybody come in and control the economy of your community, control the housing, control the education, control the jobs, control the businesses, uh, under the pretext that you wanna integrate. No, you’re outta your mind . The political, the economic philosophy of black nationalism only means that we have to become involved in a program of re-education to educate our people into the importance of knowing that when you spend your dollar out of the community in which you live, the community, uh, in which you spend your money becomes richer and richer.

The community, out of which you take your money, becomes poorer and poor. And because these negroes who have been misled, misguided, are breaking their necks to take their money and spend it with the man, the man is becoming richer and richer. And you are becoming poorer and poorer. And then what happens? The community in which you live becomes a slum. It becomes a ghetto. The conditions become rundown. And then you have the audacity to com to complain about poor housing in a rundown community.

Why? You are running down yourself when you take your, and you and I are in a double track because not only do we lose by taking our money someplace else and spending it when we try and spend it in our own community, we’re trapped because we haven’t had since enough to set up stores and control the businesses of our community. The man who’s controlling the stores in our community is a man who doesn’t look like we do.

He’s a man who doesn’t even live in the community. So you and I, even when we try and spend our money in the block where we live, or the area where we live, we’re spending it with a man who, when the sun goes down, takes that basket full of money in another part of the town, . So we’re trapped tramped, double trapped, triple trap. Anywhere we go, we find that we’re trapped.

And every kind of solution that someone comes up with is just another tramp. But the political and economic philosophy of black nationalism, the economic philosophy of black nationalism shows our people the importance of setting up these little stores and developing them and expanding them into linger operations. Woolworth didn’t start out big like they are today. They started out with a dime store and expanded and expanded them and expanded until today they’re all over the country and all over the world and they get in some of everybody’s money.

Now, this what you and I in General Motors the same way, didn’t start out like it, is, it started out just a little rant, race type operation. And it expanded and expanded until today is where it is right now. And you and I have to make a stop. And the best place to start is right in the community where we live. So our people not only have to be, uh, reeducated to the importance of supporting black business, but the black man himself has to be, uh, made aware of the importance of going into business.

And once you and I go into business, we own and operate at least the businesses in our community. What we will be doing is developing a situation we’re in. We will actually be able to create employment for the people in the community. And once you can create some, employ some employment in the community where you live, it will eliminate the necessity of you and me having to act ignorantly and disgracefully, boycotting and picketing some cracker someplace else, trying to dig him for a job.

Anytime you have to rely upon your enemy for a job, you’re in bad shape when you and he’s your enemy. Anything, you wouldn’t be in this country if some enemy hadn’t kidnapped you and brought you here. On the other hand, some of you think you came here on the Mayflower. So as you can see, uh, uh, brothers and sisters today, this afternoon is not our intention to discuss religion. Uh, we we’re going to forget religion.

If we bring up religion, we’ll be in an argument. And the best way to, uh, keep away from arguments and differences, as I said earlier, put your religion at home in the closet. Keep it between you and your God. Because if it hasn’t done anything more for you than it has, you need to forget it anyway. Whether you are, whether you are a Christian or a Muslim or a nationalist, we all have the same problem.

They don’t hang you because you are a Baptist. They hang me, hang you cause you blind. They don’t attack me because I’m a Muslim. They attack me cause I’m blank. They attack all of us for the same reason. All of us catch hell from the same enemy. We’re all in the same bag. In the same boat. We suffer political oppression, economic exploitation, and social degradation. All of them from the same enemy.

That’s right. The government has failed us. You can’t deny that anytime you’ll live in the 20th century, 1964 and you walking around here singing, we shall overcome, the government has failed. This is part of what’s wrong with you. You do too much singing today. It’s time to stop singing and start swinging. You can’t sing up on freedom, but you can swing up on some caius clay and sing. But singing didn’t help him to become the heavyweight champ of the world.

Swinging helped him. So this government has failed us. The government itself has failed us. And the white liberals who have been posing as our friends have failed us. And once we see that all these other sources to which we’ve turned have failed, we stopped turning to them and turned to ourselves. That’s right. We need a self-help program. Uh, do it for uh, do it yourself philosophy. Uh, do it right now. Philosophy.

That’s right. Uh, it’s already too late. Philosophy. This is what you and I need to get with. And the only time, the only way we’re going to, uh, solve our problem is with a self-help program. Before we can get a self-help program started, we have to have a self-help philosophy. That’s right. Black nationalism is a self-help philosophy. What’s so good about it? You can stay right in the church where you are and still take black nationalism as your philosophy.

You can stand any kind of civic organization that you belong to and still take black nationalism as your philosophy. You can be an atheist and still take black nationalism as your philosophy. This is a philosophy that eliminates the necessity for a division in argument. Cause if you are black, you should be thinking black. And if you are black and you’re not thinking black at this late date, well, I’m sorry for you .

Once you change your philosophy, you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your, your attitude. Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern. And then you go on into some action. As long as you got a sit down philosophy, you’ll have a sit down thought pattern. And as long as you think that old sit down thought you’ll be, uh, in some kind of sit down action that’ll have you sitting in everywhere, it’s not so good to refer to what you’re going to do as a city.

Then right there castrate you right there. It brings you down. What what goes with it? What? Think of the image of a someone sitting. An old woman can sit, an old man can sit a chump, can sit, a coward can sit anything, can sit. Well, you and I have been sitting long enough and it is time today for us to start doing some standing and some funk to back that up. When we look at other parts of this earth upon which we live, we find that black, brown, red, and yellow people in Africa and Asia are getting their independence.

They’re not getting it by singing. We shall overcome. No, they’re getting it through nationalism. That’s right. It is nationalism that brought about the independence of the people in Asia. Every nation in Asia gained its independence through the philosophy of nationalism. Every nation on the African continent that has gotten its independence brought it about through the philosophy of nationalism and it will take black nationalism. That to bring about the freedom of 22 million Afro-Americans here in this country where we have suffered colonialism for the past 400 years.

America is just as much a colonial power as England ever was. America is just as much a colonial power as France ever was. In fact, America is more so a colonial power than they because she’s a hypocritical colonial power behind it. What is 20th? What, what do you call second class citizenship? Why that’s colonization. Second class citizenship is nothing but 20th century slavery. That’s right. How you going to tell me you are a second class citizen?

They don’t have second class citizenship in any other government on this earth. They just have slaves and people who are free. Well, this country is a hypocrite. They try and make you think they set you free by calling you a second class citizen. No, you are nothing but our 20th century slave. Just as it took nationalism to move, to remove colonialism from Asia and Africa. It’ll take black nationalism today to remove colonialism from the banks and the minds of, uh, 22 million Afro-Americans here in this country.

And 1964 looks like it might be the year of the ballot or the bush. Why does it look like it might be the year of the ballot or the bullet? Because Negroes have listened to the trickery and the lies and the false promises of the white man now for too long. And they’re fed up. They’ve become disenchanted, they’ve become disillusioned, they’ve become dissatisfied. And all of this has built up frustrations in the black community that’s makes the black community throughout America today more explosive than all of the atomic bombs the Russians can ever invent.

Whenever you got a racial powder keg sitting in your lap, you are in more trouble than if you had an atomic powder keg sitting in your lap. When a racial powder keg goes off, it doesn’t care who it knocks out the way. Understand this, it’s dangerous. And in 1964, this seems to be the year because what can the white men use now to fool us after he put down that march on Washington?

And you see all through that now, he tricked you, had you marching down to Washington. Yes. Had you marching back and forth between the feet of a dead man named Lincoln and another, another dead man named George Washington singing We shall overcome. He made a chump out of him. He made a fool out of you. He made you think you were going somewhere and you end up going nowhere. But between Lincoln and Washington .

So today our people are disillusioned. They’ve become disenchanted, they’ve become dissatisfied, and in their frustrations they want action. And in 1964, you see this young black man, this new generation asking for the bull ballot for the book, that old Uncle Tom action is outdated. The young generation don’t want to hear anything about. The odds are against us. What do we care about? Odds. When this country here was first being founded, there were 13 colonies that the whites were colonized, they were fed up with this taxation without representation.

So some of them stood up and said, liberty or death. Though I went to a white school over here in Mason, Mason, Michigan, the white man made the mistake of letting me read his history books. He made the mistake of teaching me Patrick Henry was a patriot. And George Washington wasn’t nothing non-violent about Old Pat or George Washington. Liberty or death was what brought about the freedom of whites in this country from the English, they didn’t care about the arts.

Why they faced the wrath of the entire British empire. And in those days, they used to say that the British Empire was so vast and so powerful when the sun, the sun would never set on it. This is how big it was. Yet these 13 little scrawny states tired of taxation without representation, tired of being exploited and oppressed and degraded told that big British empire, liberty or death. And here you have 22 million Afro-American black people today catching more hell than Patrick Henry Atal.

And I’m, I’m here to tell you in case you don’t know it, this, you got a new, you got a new generation of black people in this country who don’t care anything whatsoever about ours. They don’t want to hear you owe Uncle Tom handkerchief heads talking about, uh, the, this is a new generation. If they’re going to draft these young black men and send them over to Korea or South Vietnam to face 800 million Chinese.

If you’re not afraid of those odds, you shouldn’t be afraid of these odds. , why is America, why does this loom to be such an explosive political year? Because this is the year of politics. This is the year when all of the white politicians are going to come into the Negro community. You never seen them until election time. You can’t blame them until election time. They’re going to come in with false promises.

And as they make these false promises, they’re going to feed our frustrations. And this will only serve to make matters worse, I’m no politician. I’m not even a student of politics. Thank you. I’m not a Republican nor a Democrat nor an American. And God sense enough to know I’m one of the 22 million black victims of the Democrats, one of the 22 million black victims of the Republicans and one of the 22 million black victims of Americanism.

And when I speak, I don’t speak as a Democrat or a Republican nor an American. I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy. All we’ve seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who have, who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism.

We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced only the American nightmare. We haven’t benefited from America’s democracy. We’ve only suffered from America’s hypocrisy. And the generation that’s coming up now can see it and are not afraid to say it. If you, if you go to jail, so what if you’re blank? You were born in jail, right? Right. If you black, you were born in jail in the north as well as the south.

Right? Stop talking about the south. Long as you south of the long as you south of the Canadian border, you are south. Don’t call Governor Wallace a Dixie Governor. Remini is a Dixie governor. 22 million black victims of Americanism are waking up and they’re gaining a new political consciousness becoming politically mature. And as they become, uh, develop this political maturity, they’re able to see the recent trends in these, uh, political elections.

They see that the whites are so evenly divided that every time they vote, uh, the race is so close, they have to go back and count the votes all over again. And which means that any block, any minority that has a block of votes that stick together is in a strategic position. Either way you go. That’s who gets it. You’re you’re in a position to determine who go to the White House and who’s stay in the dog house.

. You’re the one who has that power. You can keep Johnson in Washington DC or you can send him back to his Texas cotton patch. You’re the one who sent Kennedy to Washington. You’re the one who put the prison Democratic Administration in Washington dc The whites were evenly divided. It was the fact that you threw 80% of your votes behind the Democrats that put the Democrats in the White House. When you see this, you can see that the Negro vote is the key factor.

And despite the fact that you are in a position to to be the determining factor, what do you get out of it? The Democrats have been in Washington DC only because of the Negro vote. They’ve been down there four years and they’re all other legislation they wanted to bring up. They’ve brought it up and gotten it out of the way. And now they bring up you and now they bring up you, you put them first and they put you Lance cause a political in Washington DC in the House of Representatives there are 257 who are Democrats?

Only 177 are Republican in the Senate there are 67 uh, Democrats. Only 33 are Republicans. The party that you badge controls two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate. And still they can’t keep their promise to you cause you are a chump . Anytime you throw your weight behind the political party that controls two thirds of the government and that party can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election time and you are dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that party, you are not only a jump but your traitor to your race.

And what kind of alibi do they come up with? They try and pass the buck to the dixie cracks. Now, back during the days when you were blind, deaf and dumb, ignorant, politically immature, naturally you went along with that. But today as your eyes come open and you develop political maturity, you’re able to see and think for yourself. And you can see that a dcr is nothing but a Democrat in this guys.

You look at the structure of the, uh, government that controls this country is controlled by 16 senatorial committees and 20 congressional committees. Of the 16 senatorial committees that run the government, 10 of them are in the hands of southern segregationist of the 20 congressional committees that run the government, 12 of them in the are in the hands of southern segregationist. And they going to tell you and me that the south lost the wall.

you today have are in the hands of a government of segregationist racists white supremacists who belong to the Democratic party but disguise themselves as Dixiecrats. Uh, dran is nothing but a Democrat. Whoever runs the Democrats is also the father of the dixiecrats. And the father of all of ’em is sitting in the White House. I say, and I say it again, you got a president who’s nothing but a southern segregationist from the state of Texas.

They’ll lease you in Texas as quick as they’ll lynch you in Mississippi, only in in Texas, they lynch you with a Texas accent In Mississippi, they lynch you with a Mississippi accent. And the first thing the cracker does when he comes in power, he takes all the negro leaders and invites him for a coffee to show that he’s all right. And those can’t pass up the, they come away from the coffee table telling you and me that this man is all right .

Cause he’s from the south. And since he’s from the south, he can deal with the south. Well look at the logic that they’re using. What about Eastland? He’s from the South. Make, make him the president. Kiki, if, if Johnson is a good man, cause he’s from Texas and, and being from Texas will enable him to deal with the South Eastman can deal with the South better than Johnson. No, I say you’ve been misled.

You’ve been here, you’ve been took, I was in Washington a couple of weeks ago while the senators were filibustering. And I noticed in the back of the Senate a huge man. And on this map it showed the distribution of Negroes in America. And surprisingly, the same senators that were involved in the filibuster were from the states where there were the most Negroes. Why were they filibustering the civil rights legislation? Because the Civil rights legislation is supposed to guarantee voting rights to Negroes in those states.

And those senators from those states know that if the Negroes in those states can vote, those senators are down the drain. The representatives of those states go down the drain. And in the constitution of this country, it has a stipulation where in whenever the rights, the voting rights of people in a certain district are violated, then the representative who rep who’s from that particular district, according to the Constitution, is supposed to be expelled from the now.

If this particular aspect of the Constitution was enforced, while you wouldn’t have a tracker in Washington DC but what would happen when you expelled the dcr, you’re expelling the Democrat. When you destroy the power of theocrat, you’re destroying the power, power of the Democratic party. So how in the well can the Democratic party in the south actually side with you in sincerity when all of its power is based in the, in the south?

These northern Democrats are in cahoots with the Southern Democrats. They’re playing a giant con game, a political con game. You know how it goes. One of one of ’em comes to you and make bleeds for you. And he’s in cahoots with the other one that’s not for you quiet because neither one of ’em is for you. But they got to make you a goal with one of ’em or the younger. So this is a con game and this is what they’ve been doing with you and me all these years.

First thing Johnson got off the plane when he become president, he asked, where’s Dickie? You know who Dickie is? Dickie is old southern cracker. Richard Ru Richard Russell. Look here. Yes. Lyndon Johnson’s best friend is the one who is ahead, who’s heading the forces that are filibustering civil rights legislation. You tell me, how in the hell is he gonna be Johnson’s best friend? How can Johnson be his friend and your friend too?

Now that man is too tricky, especially if his friend is still old Dickie. Whenever the Negroes keep the Democrats in power, they’re keeping the dixiecrats in power. Is this true? A vote for a Democrat is nothing but a vote for a dixiecrat. I know you don’t like me saying that, but I I’m not the person who come here to say what you like. I’m going to tell you the truth whether you like it or not.

I’m hearing the north, you have the same thing. The Democratic party don’t, don’t do. It doesn’t. They don’t do it that way. They got a thing that they call gerrymandering. They maneuver you outta power even though you can vote, they fix it. So you voting for nobody out. They got you going and coming in the south, they’re outright political wolves in the north, they’re political foxes. A fox and a of both canine both belong to the now you take your choice, you’re going choose a northern dog or a southern dog because either dog you choose, I guarantee you you’ll still be in the dog house.

This is why I saying it’s the ballot of the bullets. It’s liberty or it’s dead. It’s freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody. America today brings himself in a unique situation, historically revolutions or bloody. Oh yes they are. They never had a blood less revolution or a non-violent revolution that don’t happen. Even in Hollywood, you revolution in which you love your enemy, then you don’t have a revolution in which you’re begging the system of exploitation to integrate you into revolution.

Overturn systems revolution. A revolution is what America is in a unique position. She’s the only country in history in a position actually to become involved in a bloodless revolution. The Russian revolution was Chinese revolution was revolution, was bloody Cuban revolution was bloody and there was nothing more bloody than the American Revolution. But today, this country can become involved in a revolution that won’t take bloodshed. All she’s got to do is give the black man in this country everything is doing everything.

I hope that the white man can see this cause if you don’t see it, you’re finished. If you don’t see it, you’re gonna be coming. You’re gonna become involved in some action and wish you don’t have a chance. We don’t care anything about your atomic bond. If, if useless because other countries have atomic bombs. When two or three different countries have atomic bombs, nobody can use them. So it means that the white man today is without a weapon.

If you going, if you want some action, you gotta come on down to earth. And there’s more black people on earth than there are white people. I only got a couple more minutes. The white man can never win another war on the ground. His days of war victory, his great, his days of background victory. Can I prove it? Yes. Take all the action is going on on this earth right now that he’s involved in.

Tell me where he’s winning. Nowhere. Some, some some rice eaters ran him. Yes, they ran him race with nothing but Jim’s shoes and a rifle and a balled ice took him and his tanks and his knee and all that other action. He’s supposed to have him. Why? Cause the, that he can win on the ground is pass up in, uh, Frenching, no China. Those little peasants, race growers took on the mic of the French and ran all the Frenchmen.

You remember then the same thing happened in Algeria, in Africa, they didn’t have anything but a, the French had all these highly mechanized instruments of, but they put some gorilla action on. And a and a white man can’t fight a gorilla. Gorilla accent takes hot, takes nerve. And he doesn’t have that. He’s brave when he’s got cakes. He’s brave when he’s got planes. He’s brave when he’s got bonds. He’s brave when he got a whole of company along with him.

But you take that little man from Africa in Asia, him loosen the woods with a blade. That’s all he all. And when the sun comes down, goes down and his this the ballot or the, today our people can see that we’re faced with a government conspiracy. This government has failed us. The senators are filibustering concerning you and my rights. That’s the government. Don’t say it’s southern senators cause it’s the governments a government filibuster.

It’s not a segregation’s, a government that takes place on the Congress or the, that’s the government. Any kinda deli downing, that’s the government. Any kinda pussy footing that’s the government. Any kinda act that’s designed to delay or deprive you and me right now of getting full ranks. That’s the government that’s responsible. And any time you find the government involved in a conspiracy to violate the citizenship for the civil rights of a people in 1964, then you are wasting your time going to that government expecting redress.

Instead, you have to take that government to the world court and accuse it of genocide and all of the other crimes that he’s guilty of today. So those of us who’s political and economic and social philosophy is black nationalism have become involved in the civil rights struggle. We have injected ourselves into the civil rights struggle and we intend to expand it from the level of civil rights to the level of human rights.

As long as you, as long as you fight on the level of civil rights, you are under Uncle Sam’s jurisdiction. You’re going to his court expecting him to correct the problem. He created the problem. He’s the criminal. You don’t take your case to the criminal. You take, you’re criminal to court. When the government of South Africa began to trample upon the human rights of the people of South Africa, they were taken to the un When the government of Portugal began to trample upon the, the ranks of our brothers and sisters in Angola.

It was taken before the un but even the white man took the Hungarian question to the un And just this week Chief Justice Goldberg was crying over, uh, 3 million Jews in Russia about their rights taunting Russia with violating the UN charter because of its, uh, mistreatment of the human rights of dues in Russia. Now you tell me how can the plight of on this earth reach the halls of the United Nations when you have 22 million Afro Americans whose churches are being bombed, whose little girls are being murdered, whose leaders are being shot down in broad daylight.

Now you tell me why the leaders of this struggle have never taken. So our next move just to take the entire civil rights struggle into the United Nations and let the think that uncle guilty of violating the human rights of 22 million Afro-Americans of the year 1964 and still has the, of the, the nerve to stand up in representing himself as the leader of the free world. Not only is he’s a standing up in front of the blood of your mind, mothers and fathers on his hands, would the black down as jaw like a bloody jaw wolf and still got the nerve to point his finger And other countries in 1964.

You can’t even get civil rights legislation in. This man has got the nerve to stand up and talk about South Africa or talk about Nancy Germany or talk about Che. No more days like those. So I I say in my conclusion, the only way we’re gonna solve it, gotta your names, we gotta work together in unity and harmony then black nationalism is the key, right? How we gonna, uh, overcome the tendency to be at each other’s throats that always exists in our neighborhood.

And the reason this tendency exists, the uh, strategy of the white man has always been divide and conquer. He keeps us divided in order to conquer us. He tells you, I’m for separation and you for integration and keep us fighting with each other. No, I’m not for separation and you’re not for integration, but you and I are for is freedom only. You think that integration will get your freedom. I think separation will get me freedom.

We go through the same objective. We just got different ways of getting. So, uh, I I, I studied this man, Billy Graham who preaches white nationalism. That’s what he preaches. I say that’s what he preaches. The halls Church structure in this country is white nationalism. You go inside a white church, that’s what they’re preaching. White nationalism. They got Jesus, white, Mary, white God white, everybody white. That’s white nationalism. So what he does, the way he, the way he, the way he circumvents the, the, uh, jealousy and envy that he ordinarily would incur among the heads of the church, whenever you go into an area where the church already is, you gonna run into trouble.

Cause they got that thing, what you call it, uh, syndicated. They got a syndicate just like the Racketeers have. I’m gonna say what’s on my mind. Cause church already preaches already prove to you that they got a syndicate. And when you’re out in the ranks, whenever you get in another man’s territory, you know they gang up on you. And that’s the same way with you. You run into the same thing. So how Billy Graham gets around that instead of going into somebody else’s territory, like he gonna start a new, new church.

He don’t try, he doesn’t try and start a church. He just goes in preaching Christ. And he says, everybody who believe in him, you go wherever you go, wherever you find him. So this helps all the churches. And so since it helps all the churches, they don’t find him. Well, uh, we gonna do the same thing. Only our gospel is black nationalism. This gospel is white nationalism. Our gospel is black nationalism.

And the gospel of black nationalism, as I told you, means you should control your own. The politics of your community, the economy of your community, and all of the society in which you live should be under your control. And when, and, and once you, uh, be, uh, feel that this philosophy will solve your problem, go join any church where this preach. Don’t join a church where white nationalism is preached. Well, you can go to a negro church and expose to white nationalism.

Cause when you on and you walk in a Negro church and you see a white Jesus and a white Mary and some white angels, that Negro church is preaching white nationalism . But when you go to a church and you see the pastor of that church with a philosophy and a program that’s designed to bring black people together and elevate black people, join that church, join that church. If you see where the NAACP is preaching and practicing that which is designed to, uh, make black nationalism materialize, join naacp, join any kind of organization, civic, religious, returnal, political or otherwise.

That’s based on lifting the black man up and making him venture of his own community."

Ballot or the Bullet” Speech Analysis

Malcolm X demonstrated excellent rhetoric, delivery, and audience connection in the “Ballot or the Bullet” speech. We ran this speech through Yoodli’s AI-powered speech coach, and got back an analysis on various aspects of word choice and delivery. You can view the full results here.

Word Choice

Malcolm X’s powerful word choice in the speech inspired urgency and action for civil rights. Yoodli’s analysis reflects this, showing nearly no filler words (just 1%!), and very few weak words (also 1%).

However, Malcom X did have a few instances of non-inclusive language, using terms like “guys” or “man up.” Yoodli suggested that “folks” or “toughen up” could be alternate language he could’ve used. Although it’s likely that at the time, these phrases were more commonplace and not considered offensive.


In the Delivery category, Yoodli provides scores on Centering, Pacing, Pauses, and Eye Contact. Malcom scored quite well here. The highlight metric to look at here was his pace. He had a relatively fast pace, at 160 words per minute. However, he had a great deal of fluctuation, making his speech all the more engaging to his audience, often excusing the pace.

Wrapping Up

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