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Malcolm X Quotes about Life, Justice and Freedom

Looking for powerful Malcolm X Quotes about Life, Justice and Freedom? Here you go!

These Malcom X quotes will inspire you to take control of your life and live up to your full potential.

Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim leader and human rights activist who’s widely admired for his courageousness in advocating for the rights of blacks.

Born on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm was only 6 years old when he lost his father, and thirteen when his mother was placed in a mental hospital. Thereafter, Malcolm and his siblings were sent to foster homes or to live with family members.

At age 20, he was sent to prison, where he underwent a conversion and became a member of the Nation of Islam. He changed his birth name Malcolm Little to Malcolm X because he considered the name “Little” to have originated with white slaveholders.

After his release from prison, Malcolm became one of the Nation of Islam’s most influential leaders and helped make many of social achievements. In his final years, he continued to emphasize black self-determination, Pan-Africanism, and black-self defense. He was assassinated on February 21, 1965, at the age of 39.

Malcolm X was an advocate for universal freedom. People of all colors and religions can draw inspiration from his words of wisdom.

In his honor, below are some powerful Malcolm X quotes and sayings about life, love, equality and freedom.

Powerful Malcolm X quotes about Life, Justice and Freedom

1. “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” – Malcolm X 

2. “Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”  – Malcolm X 

3. “We are nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us.”  – Malcolm X 

4. “My alma mater was books, a good library… I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.” – Malcolm X 

5. “Stumbling is not falling.” – Malcolm X 

6. “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”  – Malcolm X 

7. “They put your mind right in a bag, and take it wherever they want.”  – Malcolm X 

8. “Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.” – Malcolm X 

9. “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.” – Malcolm X 

10. “A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own self hood, it can never fulfill itself.”  – Malcolm X 

11. “If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.” – Malcolm X 

12. “I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.”  – Malcolm X 

13. “I feel like a man who has been asleep somewhat and under someone else’s control. I feel that what I’m thinking and saying is now for myself.”  – Malcolm X 

14. “The thing that you have to understand about those of us in the Black Muslim movement was that all of us believed 100 percent in the divinity of Elijah Muhammad. We believed in him. We actually believed that God, in Detroit by the way, that God had taught him and all of that. I always believed that he believed in himself. And I was shocked when I found out that he himself didn’t believe it.”  – Malcolm X 

Malcolm X Quotes on The Future

15. “I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.” – Malcolm X 

16. “Without education, you’re not going anywhere in this world. – Malcolm X 

17. “You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being.”  – Malcolm X 

18. “When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won’t do to get it, or what he doesn’t believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn’t believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom.” – Malcolm X 

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19. “Dr. King wants the same thing I want. Freedom.” – Malcolm X 

20. “I want Dr. King to know that I didn’t come to Selma to make his job difficult. I really did come thinking I could make it easier. If people realize what the alternative is, perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King. – Malcolm X 

21. “I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.”  – Malcolm X 

22. It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely. – Malcolm X 

23. We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary. – Malcolm X 

24. Power never takes a step back except in the face of more power. – Malcolm X 

Also read out list of the best lawyer quotes about justice for all.

Malcolm X Quotes on Doing the Right Thing

25. My alma mater was books, a good library. I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity. – Malcolm X 

26. “In all our deeds, the proper value and respect for time determines success or failure.” – Malcolm X 

27. You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker. – Malcolm X 

28. I believe in a religion that believes in freedom. Any time I have to accept a religion that won’t let me fight a battle for my people, I say to hell with that religion. – Malcolm X 

29. The only way we’ll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world. We are blood brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba — yes Cuba too. – Malcolm X 

30. Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. – Malcolm X 

31. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it. – Malcolm X 

32. If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country. – Malcolm X

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of quotes from black women for a boost of inspiration.

Malcom X quotes about change and freedom 

33. Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change. – Malcolm X 

34. Speaking like this doesn’t mean that we’re anti-white, but it does mean we’re anti-exploitation, we’re anti-degradation, we’re anti-oppression. – Malcolm X 

35. I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment. – Malcolm X 

36. Nonviolence is fine as long as it works. – Malcolm X 

37. Change Is Only a Good Thing If You Change in a Good Way. – Malcolm X 

38. You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. – Malcolm X 

Also read these Braveheart quotes that will inspire you to find your freedom.

Malcolm X quotes about education and reading

39. Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. – Malcolm X

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40. Education is an important element in the struggle for human rights. It is the means to help our children and thereby increase self-respect. – Malcolm X 

41. When you live in a poor neighborhood, you are living in an area where you have poor schools. When you have poor schools, you have poor teachers. When you have poor teachers, you get a poor education. When you get a poor education, you can only work in a poor-paying job. And that poor-paying job enables you to live again in a poor neighborhood. So, it’s a very vicious cycle. – Malcolm X 

42. Only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.– Malcolm X 

43. Read absolutely everything you get your hands on because you never know where you’ll get an idea from. – Malcolm X 

44. I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke in me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive. – Malcolm X 

45. Early in life I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise. – Malcolm X 

46. You can’t legislate good will – that comes through education. – Malcolm X 

Other Powerful Malcolm X quotes

47. I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he’s wrong, than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil. – Malcolm X 

48. The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.– Malcolm X 

49. If you turn the other cheek, you can be enslaved for 1,000 years. – Malcolm X 

50. Anytime you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing something you aren’t. – Malcolm X 

Don’t forget to also check out these powerful protest and activism quotes to inspire you to action.

Malcolm X quotes

51. “Truth does not change, only our awareness of it.”― Malcolm X

52. “Who taught you to hate yourself?”― Malcolm X

53. “History is a people’s memory, and without a memory, a man is demoted to the lower animals.”― Malcolm X

54. “Time is more important to me than distance.”― Malcolm X

55. “America’s greatest crime against the black man was not slavery or lynching, but that he was taught to wear a mask of self-hate and self-doubt.”― Malcolm X

56. “No man has believed perfectly until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”― Malcolm X

57. “It is only after the deepest darkness that the greatest joy can come”― Malcolm X

58. “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.”― Malcolm X

59. “People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.”― Malcolm X

60. “If something is yours by right, then fight for it or shut up.”― Malcolm X

Powerful Malcolm X quotes to inspire you

61. “You will never catch me with a free fifteen minutes in which I’m not studying something I feel might be able to help the black man.”― Malcolm X

62. “I was going through the hardest thing, also the greatest thing, for any human being to do; to accept that which is already within you, and around you.”― Malcom X

63. “I came here to tell the truth – and if the truth condemns America, then she stands condemned!”― Malcolm X

64. “Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate. Being here in America doesn’t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American.”― Malcolm X

65. “It is the process of mis-education that inhibits the full potential of a nation.”― Malcolm X

66. “Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. You don’t need anything else.”― Malcolm X

67. “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress …”― Malcolm X

68. “Any time you beg another man to set you free, you will never be free. Freedom is something that you have to do for yourselves.”― Malcolm X

69. “In any organization, someone must be the boss. If it’s even just one person, you’ve got to be the boss of yourself.”― Malcolm X

70. “The truth can be quickly received, or received at all, only by the sinner who knows and admits that he is guilty of having sinned much.”― Malcolm X

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Thought-provoking Malcolm X quotes

71. “If you form the habit of taking what someone else says about a thing without checking it out for yourself, you’ll find that other people will have you hating your friends and loving your enemies.” – Malcolm X

72. “How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours?” –
Malcolm X

73. “The mother is the first teacher of the child. The message she gives that child, that child gives to the world.” – Malcolm X

74. “So over you is the greatest enemy a man can have — and that is fear. I know some of you are afraid to listen to the truth — you have been raised on fear and lies. But I am going to preach to you the truth until you are free of that fear…” – Malcolm X

75. “Only those who have already experienced a revolution within themselves can reach out effectively to help others.” – Malcolm X

76. “I’m not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner.” – Malcolm X

77. “You and I have never seen democracy; all we’ve seen is hypocrisy.” – Malcolm X

78. “Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world.!” –Malcolm X

79. “Just as a tree without roots is dead, a people without history or cultural roots also becomes a dead people.” – Malcolm X

80. “Reform is for people who have government connections, revolution is for the people!” – Malcolm X

You might also like these Howard Thurman quotes that helped shape a movement.

More Malcolm X quotes and sayings

81. “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality.” – Malcolm X

82. “Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the Gun down.” – Malcolm X

83. “To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.” – Malcolm X

84. “If someone puts their hands on you make sure they never put their hands on anybody else again.” – Malcolm X

85. “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.” – Malcolm X

86. “We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” – Malcolm X

87. “If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success.” – Malcolm X

88. “A wise man can play the part of a clown, but a clown can’t play the part of a wise man.” – Malcolm X

89. “Once he is motivated no one can change more completely than a person who has been at the bottom.” – Malcolm X

90. “We cannot teach what we do not know and we cannot lead where we will not go.” – Malcolm X

Malcolm X quotes about power and life

91. “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” — Malcolm X

92. “America preaches integration and practices segregation.” — Malcolm X

93. “I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence.” — Malcolm X

94. “America is the first country… that can actually have a bloodless revolution.” — Malcolm X

95. “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.” — Malcolm X

96. “You don’t have a peaceful revolution. You don’t have a turn-the-cheek revolution. There’s no such thing as a nonviolent revolution.” — Malcolm X

97. “The Negro revolution is controlled by foxy white liberals, by the Government itself. But the Black Revolution is controlled only by God.” — Malcolm X

98. “I am for violence if non-violence means we continue postponing a solution to the American black man’s problem just to avoid violence.” — Malcolm X

99. “Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action.” — Malcolm X

100. “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” — Malcolm X

What’s your favorite Malcolm X quote?

Malcolm X accomplished a lot in his life. He changed his mindset and turned his life around to become a role model. He stood up for himself and set an example of courage.

And no matter how controversial, he got a lot of people thinking about the race problem and alternative ways to address it.

Hopefully, these Malcolm X quotes have motivated you to conquer your weaknesses and reach your full potential.

Did you enjoy these Malcolm X quotes? What other quotes by Malcolm X would you add to the list? Tell us in the comment section below.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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  1. Aruk Yahu

    February 18, 2020 at 7:36 PM

    Though I cannot espouse a religion of violence, read the quran, and haddith before replying please. I do believe that so much insight was never fully embraced, He believed in doing to others as you would have, and as had been done. he believed that the white dem liberal would be the ruin of the black community, it has!He espoused dialogue, kindness and love without violence, unless defending yourself (actually Constitutionally protected), that truth was not subjective or personal, it was and is absolute! That a wise man could play the idiot, but an idiot cannot be a wise man, He believed in knowing all history, not just cherry picking some making up the rest and destroying truth. He believed in individual responsibility and thought, not group mob mentality.He was pro-life, pro-family, pro-male, pro education, pro self reliance, in short, He had nothing in common with many in the white or black communities of today! Today he would considered a sell out an uncle t-m. He would be utterly ashamed of what is passing for independence today!

  2. Robert Vahle

    July 26, 2019 at 11:00 AM

    Interesting, glad to learn more about this man, and his philosophy.

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