ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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A man who tosses worms in the river isn’t necessarily a friend of the fish.  All

the fish who take him for a friend, who think the worm got no hook in it, usually

end up in the frying pan.  All of these things dangled before us by the white

liberal posing as a friend and benefactor have turned out to be nothing but

bait to make us think we’re making progress. 



Books by & About Malcolm X

Malcolm X: The Man and His Times  /  Seventh Child: A Family Memoir of Malcolm X  / Martin and Malcolm and America 

Ghosts in Our Blood: With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean

 The Black Muslims in America The Autobiography of Malcolm X  / Malcolm X Speaks / By Any Means Necessary

February 1965: The Final Speeches

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Malcolm X and Civil Rights

An Interview


malcolm x: … I know the time is near when the white man will be finished.  The signs are all around us.  Ten years ago you couldn’t have paid a Southern Negro to defy local customs.  The British Lion’s tail has been snatched off in black Africa.  The Indonesians have booted out such would-be imperialists as the Dutch.  The French, who felt for a century that Algeria was theirs, have had to run for their lives back to France.  Sir, the point I make is that all over the world, the old day of standing in fear and trembling before the almighty white man is gone!

question: You refer to whites as the guilty and the enemy; you predict divine retribution against them; you preach absolute separation from the white community.  Do not these views substantiate that your movement is predicated on race hatred?

malcolm x: … The Honorable Elijah Muhammad doesn’t teach hate.  The white man’s isn’t important enough for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his followers to spend any time hating him.  The white man has brainwashed himself into believing that all the black people in the world want to be cuddled up next to him. . . . When we tell him we don’t want to be around him, we don’t want to be like he is, he’s staggered.  It makes him re-evaluate his three-hundred-year myth about the black man.  What I want to know is how the white man, with the blood of black people dripping off his fingers, can have the audacity to be asking black people do they hate him.  That takes a lot of nerve.

question: How do you reconcile your disavowal of hatred with the announcement you made last year that Allah had brought you “the good news” that one hundred and twenty white Atlantans has just been killed in an air crash en route to America from Paris?

malcolm x: Sir, as I see the law of justice, it says as you sow, so shall you reap. . . . We Muslims believe that the white race, which is guilty of having oppressed and exploited and enslaved our people here in America, should and will be the victims of God’s divine wrath.  All civilized societies in their courts of justice set a sentence of execution against those deemed to be enemies of society, such as murderers and kidnapers.  The presence of twenty million black people here in America is proof that Uncle Sam is guilty of kidnapping—because we didn’t come here voluntarily on the Mayflower.  And four hundred years of lynching condemn Uncle Sam as a murderer. . . .

question: Many white religious leaders have also gone on record against the Black Muslims.  Writing in the official NAACP magazine, a Catholic priest described you as “a fascist-minded hate group,” and B’nai B’rith has accused you of being not only anti-Christian but anti-Semitic.  Do you consider this true?

malcolm x: Insofar as the Christian world is concerned, dictatorships have existed only in areas or countries where you have Roman Catholicism.  Catholicism conditions your mind for dictators.  Can you think of a single Protestant country that has ever produced a dictator? . . . .  Where did fascism start?  Where’s the second-largest Communist party outside of Russia?  The answer to both is Italy.  Where is the Vatican? . . . .

Let me say just a word about the Jew and the black man.  The Jew is always anxious to advise the black man.  But they never advise him how to solve the problem the way the Jew solved their problem.  The Jew never went sitting in and crawling in and sliding in and freedom-riding, like he teaches and helps Negroes to do.  The Jews stood up, and stood together, and they used their ultimate power, the economic weapon.  

That’s exactly what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is trying to teach black men to do.  The Jews pooled their money and bought the hotels that barred them.  They bought Atlantic City and Miami Beach and anything else they wanted.  Who owns Hollywood?  Who runs the garment industry, the largest industry in New York?  

But the Jew that’s advising the Negro joins the NAACP, CORE, the Urban League, and others.  When money donations, the Jew gains control, then he sends the black man doing all this wading in, boring in, even burying in—everything but burying.  Never shows him how to set up factories and hotels.  Never advises how to own what he wants.  No, when there’s something worth owning, the Jew’s got it.

question: Isn’t it true that many Gentiles have also labored with dedication to advance integration and economic improvement for the Negro, as volunteer workers for the NAACP, CORE, and many other interracial agencies?

malcolm x: A man who tosses worms in the river isn’t necessarily a friend of the fish.  All the fish who take him for a friend, who think the worm got no hook in it, usually end up in the frying pan.  All of these things dangled before us by the white liberal posing as a friend and benefactor have turned out to be nothing but bait to make us think we’re making progress.  The Supreme Court decisions have never been enforced.  Desegregation has never taken place.  The promises have never been fulfilled.  We have received only tokens, substitutes, trickery, and deceit. …

question: You say that white men are devils by nature.  Was Christ a devil?

malcolm x: Christ wasn’t white.  Christ was a black man. . . .  Only the poor, brainwashed American Negro has been made to believe that Christ was white, to maneuver him into worshiping the white man.  After becoming a Muslim in prison, I read almost everything I could put my hands on in the prison library.  I began to think back on everything I had read and especially with the histories.  I realized that nearly all of them read by the general public have been made into white histories.  I found out that the history-whitening process either had left out great things that black men had done, or some of the great black men had gotten whitened.

question: Would you list a few of these men?

malcolm x: Well, Hannibal, the most successful general that ever lived, was a black man.  So was Beethoven; Beethoven’s father was one of the blackamoors, that hired themselves out in Europe as professional soldiers.  Havdn, Beethoven’s teacher, was of African descent.  Columbus,  the discoverer of America, was a half-black man. . . .

Whole black empires, like the Moorish, have been whitened to hide the fact that a great black empire had conquered a white empire even before America was discovered.  The Moorish civilization—black Africans—conquered and ruled Spain; they kept the light burning in Southern Europe.  The word “Moor” means “black,” by the way.  

Egyptian civilization is a classic example of how the white man stole great African cultures and makes them appear today as white European. . . . The Incas, the Aztecs, the Mayans, all dark-skinned Indian people, had a highly developed culture here in America, in what is now Mexico and northern South America.  These people had mastered agriculture at the time when European white people were still living in mud huts and eating weeds.  But white children, or black children, or grownups here today in America don’t get to read this in the average books they are exposed to. . . .

question: [Do you regard the white race] as inferior in quality as well as quantity to what you call the “black nation”?

malcolm x: Thoughtful white people know they are inferior to black people.  Even Eastland knows it.  Anyone who has studied the genetic phase of biology knows that white is considered recessive and black is considered dominant.  When you want it light, you want it weak, integrated with white milk.  Just like these Negroes who weaken themselves and their race by this integrating and intermixing with whites.  If you want bread with no nutritional value, you ask for white bread.  All the good that was in it has been bleached out of it, and will constipate you.  If you want pure flour, you ask for dark flour, whole-wheat flour.  If you want pure sugar, you want dark sugar.

question: If all whites are devilish by nature, as you have alleged, and if black and white are essentially opposite, as you have just stated, do you view all black men—with the exception of their non-Muslim leaders—as fundamentally angelic?

malcolm x: No, there is plenty wrong Negroes.  They have no society.  They’re robots, automatons.  No minds of their own.  I hate to say that about us, but it’s the truth.  They are a black body with a white brain.  Like the monster Frankenstein.  The top part is your bourgeois Negro.  He’s your integrator.  He’s not interested in his poor black brothers.  

He’s usually so deep in debt from trying to copy the white man social habits that he doesn’t have time to worry about nothing else.  They buy the most expensive clothes and cars and eat the cheapest food.  They act more like the white man than the white man does himself.  These are the ones that hide their sympathy for Mr. Muhammad’s teachings.  

It conflicts with the sources from which they get their white-man’s crumbs.  This class to us are the other eye on the Muslims.  They’ll jump whichever way they see the wind blowing.  Then there’s the middle class of the Negro masses, the ones not in the ghetto, who realize that life is a struggle, who are conscious of all the injustices being done and of the constant state of insecurity in which they live.  

They’re ready to take some stand against everything that’s against them.  Now, when this group hears Mr. Muhammad’s teachings, they are the ones who come forth faster and identify themselves, and take immediate steps toward trying to bring into existence what Mr. Muhammad advocates.  At the bottom of the social heap is the black man in the big-city ghetto.  He lives night and day with the rats and cockroaches and drowns himself with alcohol and anesthetizes himself with dope, to try and forget where and what he is.  

That Negro has given up all hope.  He’s the hardest one for us to reach, because he’s the deepest in the mud.  But when you get him, you’ve got the best kind of Muslim.  Because he makes the most drastic change.  He’s the most fearless.  He will stand the longest.  He has nothing to lose, even his life, because he didn’t have that in the first place. …

question: Do you feel that the Administration’s successful stand on the integration of James Meredith into the University of Mississippi has demonstrated that the government—far from being hypocritical—is sympathetic with the Negro’s aspirations for equality?

malcolm x: What was accomplished?  It took 15,000 troops to put Meredith in the University of Mississippi.  Those troops and $3,000,000—that’s what was spent—to get one Negro in.  That $3,000,000 could have been used much more wisely by the federal government to elevate the living standards of all the Negroes in Mississippi. …

question: Has any American president, in your opinion—Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy—accomplished anything for the Negro?

malcolm x: None of them have ever done anything for Negroes.  All of them have tricked the Negro, and made false promises to him at election times which they never fulfilled.  Lincoln’s concern wasn’t freedom for the blacks but to save the Union. … 

question: Despite the fact that the goal of racial equality is not yet realized, many sociologists—and many Negro commentators—agree that no minority group on earth has made as much social, civil, and economic progress as the American Negro in the past one hundred years.  What is your reaction to this view?

malcolm x: . . . Every immigrant ethnic group that has come to this country is now a genuinely first-class citizen group—every one of them but the black man, who was here when they came. …  You talk about the progress of the Negro—I’ll  tell you, mister, it’s just because the Negro has been in America while America has gone forward that the Negro appears to have gone forward.  

The Negro is like a man on a luxury commuter train doing ninety miles an hour.  He looks out of the window, along with all the white passengers in their Pullman chairs, and he thinks he’s doing ninety, too.  Then he gets to the men’s room and looks in the mirror—and he sees he’s not really getting anywhere at all.  His reflection shows a black man standing there in the white uniform of a dining-car steward.  He may get on the 5:10, all right, but he sure won’t be getting off at Westport.

question: Is there anything then, in your opinion, that could be done—by either whites or blacks—to expedite the social and economic progress of the Negro in America?

malcolm x: . . . The white man must realize that the sins of the fathers are about to be visited upon the heads of the children who have continued those sins only in more sophisticated ways. …

But there is something the white man can do to avert this fate.  He must atone—and this can only be done by allowing black men, those who choose, to leave this land of bondage and go to a land of our own.  But if he doesn’t want a mass movement of our people away from this house of bondage, then he should separate this country.  He should give us several states here on American soil, where those of us who wish to can go and set up our own government, our own economic system, our own civilization.  

Since we have given over three hundred years of our own slave labor to the white man’s America, helped to build it up for him, it’s only right that white America should give us everything we need in finance and materials for the next twenty-five years, until our own nation is able to stand on its feet.  Then, if the Western Hemisphere is attacked by outside enemies, we would have both the capability and the motivation to join in defending the hemisphere, in which we would then have a sovereign stake. …

Source: Westin, Alan F., ed.  FREEDOM NOW!  The Civil-Rights Struggle in America. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1964.

posted 9 May 2005

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John Coltrane, "Alabama"  /  Kalamu ya Salaam, "Alabama"  / A Love Supreme

A Blues for the Birmingham Four  /  Eulogy for the Young Victims   / Six Dead After Church Bombing 

Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Jefferson's Pillow

The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism

By Roger W. Wilkins

 In Jefferson's Pillow, Wilkins returns to America's beginnings and the founding fathers who preached and fought for freedom, even though they owned other human beings and legally denied them their humanity. He asserts that the mythic accounts of the American Revolution have ignored slavery and oversimplified history until the heroes, be they the founders or the slaves in their service, are denied any human complexity. Wilkins offers a thoughtful analysis of this fundamental paradox through his exploration of the lives of George Washington, George Mason, James Madison, and of course Thomas Jefferson. He discusses how class, education, and personality allowed for the institution of slavery, unravels how we as Americans tell different sides of that story, and explores the confounding ability of that narrative to limit who we are and who we can become. An important intellectual history of America's founding, Jefferson's Pillow will change the way we view our nation and ourselves.

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Representing the Race

The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer

By Kenneth W. Mack

Representing the Race tells the story of an enduring paradox of American race relations, through the prism of a collective biography of African American lawyers who worked in the era of segregation. . . . Mack reorients what we thought we knew about famous figures such as Thurgood Marshall, who rose to prominence by convincing local blacks and prominent whites that he was—as nearly as possible—one of them. But he also introduces a little-known cast of characters to the American racial narrative. These include Loren Miller, the biracial Los Angeles lawyer who, after learning in college that he was black, became a Marxist critic of his fellow black attorneys and ultimately a leading civil rights advocate; and Pauli Murray, a black woman who seemed neither black nor white, neither man nor woman, who helped invent sex discrimination as a category of law. The stories of these lawyers pose the unsettling question: what, ultimately, does it mean to “represent” a minority group in the give-and-take of American law and politics? / For Love of Liberty

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To the Mountaintop

My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement

By Charlayne Hunter-Gault

A personal history of the civil rights movement from activist and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. On January 20, 2009, 1.8 million people crowded the grounds of the Capitol to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Among the masses was Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She had flown from South Africa for the occasion, to witness what was for many the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights in the United States. In this compelling personal history, she uses the event to look back on her own involvement in the civil rights movement, as one of two black students who forced the University of Georgia to integrate, and to relate the pivotal events that swept the South as the movement gathered momentum through the early 1960s. With poignant black-and-white photos, original articles from the New York Times, and a unique personal viewpoint, this is a moving tribute to the men and women on whose shoulders Obama stood.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Related files: The Unpredictable Negro  The Meaning Of Malcolm X