25 Malcolm X Quotes about Life, Justice and Freedom

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These Malcolm 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 social achievements.

In his final years, he emphasized:

  • black self-determination
  • Pan-Africanism
  • black-self defense

He was assassinated on February 21, 1965, at 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.

If you enjoy this article, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily motivation. 

Browse our entire collection of inspirational quotes for more motivating ideas and concepts.

Top 5 Malcolm X quotes

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

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

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

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

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

Powerful Malcolm X quotes about life, justice, and freedom

6. “Stumbling is not falling.”  Malcolm X 

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7. “If you turn the other cheek, you can be enslaved for 1,000 years.” — Malcolm X 

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

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

10. “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on us.”  Malcolm X 

11. “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 

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 

If you enjoy this article, check out our collection of Elijah Muhammad quotes on race and nation-building.

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

19. “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 

Malcolm X Quotes on Doing the Right Thing

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 

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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 

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

If you’re enjoying these quotes, read our collection of quotes from black women.

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.

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

And no matter how controversial, he got many 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.

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  1. L T X

    November 5, 2022 at 6:31 PM

    Awesome quotes, Thanks for the knowledge of who we are as a people.

    • Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor

      November 7, 2022 at 10:29 PM

      You are welcome, and we are glad this resonated with you!

  2. 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!

  3. Robert Vahle

    July 26, 2019 at 11:00 AM

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

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