Malcolm explains that black people benefited economically and politically during wartime, not because of America's good will, but because of a need for labor.
Hotel Teresa, New York. 31 December 1964
Transcribed text from audio excerpt. [read entire speech]
Realize that prior to 1939, our people were in a very menial position or condition. Most of us were waiters and porters and bellhops and janitors and waitresses and things of that sort. It was not until war was declared with Germany, and America became involved in a manpower shortage in regards to her factories plus her army, and it was only then that the black man in this country was permitted to make a few strides forward. It was never out of some kind of moral enlightenment or moral awareness on the part of Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam only let the black man take a step forward when he himself had his back to the wall.
SOURCE: X, Malcolm. "Think for Yourself." Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Hotel Teresa, New York. 31 December 1964