Malcolm X made this speech (later entitled “The Last Message”) in Detroit under unusual circumstances. The night before the speech his house had been bombed, a local physician had given him a sedative just before the talk, hence his rhetorical style is unusually subdued but he maintains his characteristic sharp insight, penetrating wit, and command of vernacular culture. One week later he was assassinated in New York City.

Malcolm X used this talk to sum up three basic points:

  1. The global situation involves the contradiction between the former colonial powers (US, France, England, etc.) versus the African revolution.

  2. African is viewed as a threat because of the external threat of the African Revolution and the internal threat of the African Americans joining with the African Revolution against a common enemy.

  3. Armed resistance is necessary to fight a violent oppressive system.

He had traveled and spoken with many African leaders - hence we need to study those men to learn the lessons that might have been passed on to Malcolm X. When the archive of his material currently being organized at the Schomburg is opened, we will be able to study the notes he took in these meetings. He met with the following leaders:

  1. Gamal Nasser (1918-1970)

  2. Jomo Kenyatta (1889-1978)

  3. Julius Nyerere (1922-1999)

  4. Sekou Toure (1922-1984)  

  5. Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972)

  6. Nnamdi Azikiwe (1904-1996)  

 Malcolm X tried to prepare Black militants for the armed phase of the spontaneous uprisings that rocked the 1960’s.

  1. He discusses his position of responding to all attacks and assassinations with “Maximum retaliation!”

  2. He warns against mercenaries - private security forces used by corporations to control the cities.

  3. He warns against the lies, distortions, and silences of the media.

  4. He calls for the Old Testament biblical logic of “an eye for an eye.”