Credit: Eric Kim Photography
Malcolm X quotes provide passionate words from one of the greatest human rights activists.
Malcolm X is considered as one of the most renowned and remarkable human rights activist. He was one of the effective black leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Malcolm X spent most of his life fighting for racism. He was not only an outstanding leader but a good speaker too. Malcolm was able to convince a lot of people to join the Nation of Islam, a certain revolutionary group that is composed of black Muslims. Unfortunately, he did not get the chance to continue with his task since he was assassinated on February 21, 1965, while he was attending a meeting in Harlem. Even if he is not with us anymore, Malcolm X quotes are still remembered up to this day.
A Bit About Malcolm X Quotes
Malcolm X quotes depict his journey towards fighting for the rights of the African Americans. Even if he had a brief life, he was able to initiate a civil rights movement. He used his own strategy which is “by any means necessary” in his effort to achieve systemic change.
Credit: Eric Kim Photography
Who was Malcolm X?
Malcolm X’s birth name was Malcolm Little. Malcolm’s mother, Louise Little, gave birth to him in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. When he was still a child, he and his family suffered from racial discrimination which prompted them to transfer from one location to another. Sadly, Malcolm’s father was killed in 1931. His mother got depressed and endured mental illness. As a result, Malcolm and his siblings were either sent to foster homes or parented by their relatives.
What can we glean from Malcolm X quotes?
Malcolm X does not want to be defined by others. He wanted to define himself. He was born as Malcolm Little yet he chose to replace “Little” with “X”. Malcolm refused to use this surname because it was used by his ancestors during their slavery days. He opted for “X” because it signifies as the unknown.
Malcolm X quotes show his struggles in life and his motivation to fight for racism. Despite his difficulties, he performed excellently at school. However, he decided to dropped out when his teacher told him that there’s no way that he can become a lawyer since he was black.
10 Phenomenal Malcolm X Quotes That Are Still Relevant Today
Malcolm X was a great advocate for freedom. Regardless what your race and religion is, you can get inspired by his words of wisdom. In this regard, we will give you some of his powerful Malcolm X quotes that deal with liberty, justice, love, and life itself. Enjoy!
1. “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
Malcolm X quotes teach us that it’s impossible for us to make everyone happy. If there’s one thing that you can learn from life or from interacting with other people is that you can’t make everyone happy. Although you can try to make each and everyone happy, at the end of the day, you will just get disappointed.
The only thing that you can do is to try to make yourself happy. Perhaps your happiness can also influence others to be happy. We should not live for anyone else cause we might lose ourselves. Obviously, it’s noble and commendable if we can make the people around us happy. However, you should also consider your own happiness? So, where does that leave you if you can make everyone happy?
Some people choose to remain on your side only because you keep on making them happy by agreeing to their wishes. Actually, these are not the type of people that you should choose to go through life with. Keep in mind that they can’t make you a better person. There will always be some people who don’t concur with what you say or do. These people are out there to challenge you and your views. This is just fine. Undoubtedly, any person is entitled to their own beliefs and convictions.
What makes us special is our own unique opinions. It can help us grow and move forward. There is a reason why we are different from the others. It is only natural for us to evolve.
2. “If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success.”
There are a lot of lessons that we can learn from Malcolm X quotes. One of them is the fact that anyone can be a critic. Actually, it is much easier to make a judgment than to build. It seems that there will always be critics all around us. Sometimes critics can be beneficial because they can make you improve based on their feedback. The trick is you must learn how to deal with criticisms without feeling insensitive.
Accept the fact that there will always be several smart people in your workplace who will give you their opinions which can sometimes end up in heated arguments. You should feel lucky if the best people in your company will criticize your work. At first, it can be tough. However, as time goes by you will learn how to use these criticisms to your own advantage. The most important thing is you should not take it personally.
You will learn how to view it from different angles. Try to assess the exact sources of these criticisms. Then, determine how to put other people’s beliefs in perspective. Sooner or later, you will learn how to take advantage of these feedback so they can be useful. On the other hand, irrelevant feedback should be ignored. Eventually, if you will be able to accept high-quality criticisms then you can disregard the common ones. You must have a metaphor in your life.
Share your gift to others. There are some smart people who do not wish to share what they have.
3. “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
This is one of the most powerful Malcolm X quotes. These words of wisdom puts more importance on education. According to Malcolm X, education can provide you with a better future. However, education may not be easy. It requires discipline and hard work. This quote implies the association between yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Most often, we think that the future cannot be affected by today’s circumstances. This is a wrong philosophy. You should give importance and value to the present. If you have the power to control your today, then you can surely have a brighter future. Perhaps one day, you could be the master of your fate.
This quote is perfect for the youth who are enthusiastic to learn in order to succeed. When you think of your aspirations, you must make sure that it is enduring. The younger generation is the future of tomorrow. Hence, the decision that they make today can greatly affect their tomorrow. They must show their courage and boldness so they can ensure a brighter tomorrow. Always remember the struggles that your parents had to undergo so you can have a secured future. You can only achieve success if you are well prepared for it.
Malcolm X quotes will certainly last forever. In fact, it is even more meaningful now! He left us a legacy that can last for the generations to come. Education can provide you with peace and freedom. Even if Malcolm X is gone, we can always reflect on his inspirational words. If you are in your darkest night, then you can always find light through inner peace. And the only way that you can find peace is by acquiring knowledge. One way of obtaining knowledge is through education.
4. “If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.”
Malcolm X’s birth surname was “Little”. However, he chose to drop it and replaced his surname with “X”. According to him, his given surname “Little” is considered a slave name. He wanted to use the “X” since it represents his lost tribal name. Malcolm X was sent to prison for burglary. After he served his sentence, he decided to continue with his education. Later on, he became one of the members of the Nation of Islam (NOI), a certain African American political and religious movement that was just developed. Malcolm X was given the name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz.
As the spokesperson of NOI, Malcolm X spread the objective of NOI all over the US. NOI quickly gained a lot of members since Malcolm X has superb oratory skills. He was also smart and charming. Unfortunately, he encountered a conflict with NOI after making a remark about President Kennedy’s assassination. He said, “Kennedy never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon.”
After leaving NOI, Malcolm X established his own movement and called it, The Muslim Mosque, Inc. When he was still an active member of NOI, Malcolm was not aware that FBI agents have already penetrated on the organization. One of them was even Malcolm’s bodyguard. These agents secretly monitored his activities by installing wiretaps, bugs, cameras, and other types of surveillance equipment.
Malcolm X was able to escape from different assassination attempts. Unfortunately, on February 21, 1965, he was not lucky enough because he was assassinated. He was killed by Norman 3X Butler, Talmadge Hayer, and Thomas 15X Johnson, who were all members of NOI.
5. “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I am a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925, and was killed on February 21, 1965. Even if he has only lived a short life, yet his existence had an intense effect on the African American community. He was determined to fight for the Black people to save them from national oppression and give them true freedom. This is an inspiring act for all the oppressed all over the world. Malcolm became a Muslim in 1952 and continued to become one until his death. He was one of the most effective revolutionary internationalists. Malcolm X quotes were truly a great inspiration to all the Black people out there. Even after Malcolm X’s death, his outlooks and ideas remained to be relevant to African Americans.
Most often, black people were considered a threat to white society. As was Malcolm stated, “the media should try to convince the Black people and the white society that the oppressors and exploiters are on the other side even if the truth is contradictory.”
During the early days, slavery was the source of wealth that is why it was hard to give up. But it is noteworthy to know that the slave trade was prohibited in 1808 and was completely abolished in the 1830s. The leaders of the American independence made a deal to eliminate slavery after the victory of the Independence war.
After the Civil War has ended, Lincoln created the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves, however, it was only restricted to the revolutionary states. The Black people fought for the Independence war and the Civil War, yet there was still uncertainty on their freedom. That is why some black people decided to go to Canada.
6. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
Feb. 21, 1965 was the day when Malcolm X was shot and killed. He was one of the most appealing and controversial Black leaders during his time. Malcolm was shot several times in front of many people as he was about to start his speech. This unfortunate incident occurred at Audubon Ballroom in New York City. Betty Shabazz, Malcolm’s wife, along with four of his six children were able to witness his assassination. During that time he was no longer a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI), hence, he tried to distance himself from this organization.
This quote will make you recognize that you are free, hence, you always have your own choice. At the same time, you will be responsible for the choices that you make. Then, you can assure yourself that you won’t become a victim so you can go to this creative place and perform your work. This is what Malcolm X describes as the place where you can enjoy freedom and peace.
There are a lot of things that we can learn from the people who have fought against social and political issues. Malcolm X’s case seems to be more interesting since he dealt with multiple fights simultaneously. Ultimately, Malcolm X can be considered as the modern version of Julius Caesar. He was killed by the people who chose him as their spokesman. Aside from battling for equality and justice, he also needs to deal with black leaders who oppose his ideas. Consequently, Malcolm was accused by the organization which he supported for years.
7. “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.”
This is one of the greatest Malcolm X quotes which shows that Malcolm X was an advocate of change. He understood that failure can make anyone a stronger and a better person. Malcolm taught us that we can learn from our failures. Furthermore, after failure comes success. Aside from being one of the most powerful civil rights activists, he was also innovative. He used his Islamic beliefs in making the society understand the African Americans.
Malcolm X is one of the most prominent leaders since he helped black people gain more respect from society. Malcolm X continuously struggled so as to uplift the self-esteem of African Americans. This is the reason why he was the most influential civil rights leaders and greatly admired by the black people. Malcolm X was the son of Earl Little and Louise Norton Little. He was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska.
When Malcolm was still young he was involved in a lot of troubles. In fact, when he was 20 years old, he got arrested and was imprisoned for seven years due to burglary. However, even if was in jail, he tried to uplift himself through Islamic religion. When he was finally released, he became a new man and aspired to transform the society. He wanted to go to the extremes so as to achieve his goal.
Malcolm used his Islamic beliefs in formulating a plan for restructuring the society. Eventually, he wanted to help the Black people regain their self-respect. Even though he was not known as a collective leader yet he was very effective in his strategies.
8. “Stumbling is not falling.”
Malcolm X quotes are truly meaningful. The lines that he used in his speeches and writings are so expressive, making it last forever. Today, his words are more relevant than ever. Malcolm X was recognized by a lot of things. He was excellent in delivering speech and has an extraordinary talent in writing. He used these abilities in conquering his ultimate goal which is to acquire equality for the oppressed individuals.
Malcolm X’s writings have very powerful messages. He delivered his speeches articulately so the people can comprehend his fight for equality. When writing, it is very important that you should not give up immediately after you have failed. Rather, you must keep on trying again and again so you can improve and finally succeed. With regards to Malcolm X’s fight for equality, this particular quote might just hold a greater meaning.
While fighting for equality, you can’t prevent people from pushing you down. However, you should not easily give up. There is always a possibility that you can get back. If you have a broad goal, then small battles wouldn’t matter anymore. In case you’ve lost small battles, then you should not lose all your hope and give up too quickly. And most importantly, you should not quit. Even if you stumble, you should not surrender right away. This means that it is essential that you should know the distinctions between stumbling and falling. Martin Luther King Jr. never give up even if some of his protests and rallies were unsuccessful.
9. “Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it.”
The disappointment of Malcolm X with the Nation of Islam started with minor issues. However, it got bigger when he discovered that the children of Elijah Muhammad were born out of wedlock. When Malcolm knew about this, he immediately confronted Muhammad instead of keeping it to himself. After exposing this secret, Malcolm X got suspended from the Nation of Islam. Even if he was punished, he did not have any regrets with his choice.
Malcolm X is humble enough to admit his mistakes. In fact, during those times when he was still the spokesperson for the Nation of Islam, he spoke openly about racial injustice as well as his negative perception of the white people. However, after a while, upon learning the teachings of Islam and performing the pilgrimage, his views changed. He willingly confessed that his previous beliefs were wrong. Malcolm X admitted that he was responsible for his previous commentaries and actions.
Upon returning from his pilgrimage, he explained, “You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions.”
Essentially, Malcolm X had provided us with a greater impact. We can learn a lot of lessons from Malcolm X quotes. He taught us forgiveness and humility. He reminds us that we cannot bring any change until we change ourselves. We cannot expect any forgiveness if we do not forgive others.
10. “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.”
According to the people of today, Malcolm X does not have sufficient subtlety. A few of his followers identify him as a fierce civil rights leader. Apparently, they are not aware that Malcolm constantly ignored some values and objectives of the movement. Most often, his critics depict him as a racist villain regardless of his intolerance from racism in the later part of his life.
The facts of Malcolm’s life will divulge the evolution of a misinterpreted person. From being a bad person to a prophet, then from being a castaway to a martyr. Born as Malcolm Little in 1925, he experienced a tough life while he was still a child. His father was a preacher who constantly received death threats. This incident forced the family to transfer from one place to another. Their house was burned when Malcolm was still two years old. After two years, his father was killed. The threats have finally ended, however, the family struggled severely.
Malcolm’s challenges in life worsened as he turned into a teenager. His mother was brought to a mental facility after suffering from a nervous breakdown. He and his siblings were placed in the foster care. Malcolm lived with his older half-sister in Boston. Malcolm have always dreamed of having a legal career. However, his teacher discouraged him and told him that it is “not a realistic goal for a nigger.”
Later on, Malcolm left home and got involved in several notorious activities such as gambling, robbery, dealing drugs, extortion, and others. He was caught and was sentenced to ten years for burglary.
What can you say about Malcolm X’s life?
Malcolm X quotes is an extensive reflection of his life and beliefs. He fought for equality, freedom, and justice till his last breath. Malcolm X’s legacy will forever live in our hearts. Throughout his life, he achieved a lot of things. He successfully transformed his attitude and turned his life around so he can become a role model.
No matter if Malcolm had a very controversial life, he was able to make people ponder upon racism and how to address it. We hope that these Malcolm X quotes have inspired you to conquer your fears so you can reach your dreams. Please share this article to motivate others too! What is your favorite Malcolm X quotes? Please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear it!
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