The famous speech, “A Message to the Grassroots,” by Malcolm X has caught my attention as a great speech that youth need to hear.
In the speech, he speaks about Black people’s mentality traced back all the way to slavery. He speaks of house Negroes and field Negroes as two different people that have two opposite views on their existence and role. A house Negro is a Black person who is clearly mistreated and held captive but has the mindset that their maltreatment is normal or called for. On the other hand, field Negroes were historically treated worse, hated, despised and fought against the master.
Comparing that to his current time period, Malcolm connected slave and house Negroes with the “Uncle Toms” that he considered to be the Negro leaders at the time. He defined the Uncle Tom as the one who the white slave master dressed up so other slaves would look up to him. He would convince the other slaves to calm down their uprising and keep people from uniting or running away.
He likened that character to leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Whitney young and other who were around at the time spreading a message of integration and “suffering peacefully”. He told of documents that showed those same leaders partnering up with white millionaires and getting paid to be in the spotlight and have the media at their disposal. He felt that the white influence on the march on Washington weakened the revolutionary stance and thus turned out to be a circus.
This speech is valuable not only because of the wisdom that Malcolm drops but also because of the history and knowledge he shares about the psychology that Black people have towards one another and with themselves.
You can download the full speech here or listen below: