21 Quotes from Malcom X

On the what would’ve been his 88th birthday today, we reflect on the words he left us with – here are 21 quotes from  al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (aka Malcom X) – a true leader who taught so many the meaning of struggle, justice, courage, freedom, self-critique and compassion.

  1. Malcolm X

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

  2.  “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
  3. “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”
  4. “Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the gun down.”
  5. “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”
  6. “To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.”
  7. “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”
  8. “So early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.”
  9. “Truth is on the side of the oppressed.”
  10.  “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.”
  11. “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
  12. “How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what is yours?”
  13.  “To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace”
  14. “I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence.”
  15. “Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”
  16. “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”
  17. “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”
  18. “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.”
  19. “And just because you have colleges and universities doesn’t mean you have education.”
  20. “Anytime you find someone more successful than you are, especially when you’re both engaged in the same business – you know they’re doing something that you aren’t.”
  21.  “Read absolutely everything you get your hands on because you’ll never know where you’ll get an idea from…”

RIP Malcolm.


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