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BYP WakeUpCall

Black History Spotlight: Malcolm X’s ‘The Ballot or the Bullet’

The Black Youth Project is of the opinion that every day is Black History Day, and every month should be Black History Month.

But since February is our country’s designated Black History Month, we figured we’d participate in our own special way. Every day of this month, we will highlight a standout person, moment, song, speech, event, or work of art in the history of Black America.

Today, we bring to you Malcolm X’s famous speech, “The Ballot or the Bullet.” Considered one of the greatest speeches in American history, “The Ballot or the Bullet” marked a pivotal moment in X’s career, in which his divergence from the Nation of Islam was now on full display.

X advocates for the putting aside of religious differences, and the exercising of one’s right to vote in the Black community; with the strong caveat that more drastic measures may be necessary if the needs of the Black community are still ignored.

“The Ballot or the Bullet” is arguably Malcolm X’s crowning oratorical moment; one that feels shockingly relevant today (especially with the 2012 election right around the corner).

Enjoy “The Ballot or the Bullet” below!

“No, I’m not an American. I’m one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy. So, I’m not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver — no, not I. I’m speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.”