Malcolm presents the Nation of Islam call for reparations.
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 23 January 1963.
Transcribed text from audio excerpt. [read entire speech]
Number one, what Mr. Muhammad says is this, that every effort on the part of the government up till now to solve this problem by bringing about a just, equitable situation between whites and Blacks mixed up together here in this house has failed. Has failed absolutely. So he says that since you can't give the Negro justice in your house, let us leave this house and go back home.
Now at the same time that he says let us go back home to our own people and our own homeland, the government itself is the leading opposer toward any mass element of Black people becoming orientated in the direction of home. They put forth the effort to stop this. So what he says is, since you can't give it to us here mixed up in your house, and you don't want us to go home back to our own people, then the only alternative is to separate the house. Give us part of this country and let us live in that part. [Laughter]
You've asked me to explain. Now you want me to explain? You may think its funny, but one of these days you won't. [Applause]... He says that in this section that will be set aside for Black people, that the government should give us everything we need to start our own civilization. They should give us everything we need to exist for the next twenty-five years. And when you stop and consider the--you shouldn't be shocked, you give Latin America $20 billion and they never fought for this country. They never worked for this country. You send billions of dollars to Poland and to Hungary, they're Communist countries, they never contributed anything here. [Applause]
This is what you should realize. The greatest contribution to this country was that which was contributed by the Black man. If I take the wages, just a moment, if I take the wages of everyone here, individually it means nothing, but collectively all of the earning power or wages that you earned in one week would make me wealthy. And if I could collect it for a year, I'd be rich beyond dreams. Now, when you see this, and then you stop and consider the wages that were kept back from millions of Black people, not for one year but for 310 years, you'll see how this country got so rich so fast. And what made the economy as strong as it is today. And all that, and all of that slave labor that was amassed in unpaid wages, is due someone today. And you're not giving us anything.
SOURCE: X, Malcolm. "The Race Problem." African Students Association and NAACP Campus Chapter. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 23 January 1963.