140 Malcolm X Quotes on Fighting for a Brighter Future

These Malcolm X quotes are the best tools you can get to help you gain a new perspective.

So, if what you’re looking for are reminders that will show you how our past is linked to our present and future, then this collection will surely help you broaden your worldview.

Malcolm X was an African American leader during the civil rights movement and was a soldier of Black nationalism and rights.

Through his autobiography, he left a lifelong legacy that serves as a source of inspiration and moral guide for generations moving forward.

Read the full list below.

And make sure to check out these Winston Churchill quotes and Nelson Mandela quotes.

Best Malcolm X Quotes

Malcolm X Quotes on Critics

1. “If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success.”

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

3. “If you’re not ready to die for it, take the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.”

4. “Hence, I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”

Malcolm X Quotes - The media's the most powerful entity on earth.

5. “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.”

6. “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such, I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

7. “We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.”

8. “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”

9. “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 Quotes - If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people.

10. “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

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

12. “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

13. “Truth is on the side of the oppressed.”

14. “Sometimes, you have to pick the gun up to put the gun down.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Putting Hands on People

15. “If someone puts their hands on you, make sure they never put their hands on anybody else again.”

16. “You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.”

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

18. “So early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.”

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

Malcolm X Quotes - We need more light about each other.

20. “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.”

Related: Huey P. Newton Quotes

Malcolm X Quotes on Racism and Inequality

21. “You can’t have capitalism without racism.”

22. “Western interests—imperialism, colonialism, exploitation, racism, and other negative ‘-isms.’”

23. “The white man is not inherently evil, but America’s racist society influences him to act evilly.”

24. “I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream—I see an American nightmare.”

Malcolm X Quotes - The white liberal is the worst enemy to America.

25. “The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man.”

26. “The only people living in the past who think in terms of ‘I’m a Democrat or Republican,’ is the American Negro.”

27. “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.”

28. “The Black man in the Western Hemisphere—North America, Central America, South America, and in the Caribbean—is the best example of how one can be made—skillfully—to hate himself that you can find anywhere on this earth.”

29. “American society makes it next to impossible for humans to meet in America and not be conscious of their color differences.”

Malcolm X Quotes - If you are born in America with a black skin, you're in prison.

30. “If you are born in America with a black skin, you’re in prison.”

31. “I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think it will be based on the color of the skin.”

32. “White people are divided into two groups—liberals and conservatives.”

33. “The Democrats who are conservative, vote with the Republicans who are conservative.”

34. “The Democrats who are liberal, vote with the Republicans that are liberal.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Independence

35. “The white liberal aren’t white people who are for independence, who are moral and ethical in their thinking. They are just a faction of white people that are jockeying for power.”

36. “The worst enemy that the Negro has is this white man that runs around here drooling at the mouth professing to love Negros and calling himself a liberal, and it is following these white liberals that has perpetuated problems that Negros have.”

37. “The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the smiling fox. One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.”

38. “It is only after slavery and prison that the sweetest appreciation of freedom can come.”

39. “I saw all races, all colors, blue eyed blondes to black skinned Africans in true brotherhood! In unity! Living as one! Worshiping as one! No segregationists, no liberals; they would not have known how to interpret the meaning of those words.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Going Through the Hardest Thing.

40. “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.”

41. “Ignorance of each other is what has made unity impossible in the past.”

42. “Don’t be bitter. Remember Lot’s wife when they kill me, and they surely will. You have to use all of your energy to do what it is you have to do.”

43. “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.”

44. “The young people are the ones who most quickly identify with the struggle and the necessity to eliminate the evil conditions that exist.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Colonialism

45. “You can cuss out colonialism, imperialism, and all other kinds of ‘ism,’ but it’s hard for you to cuss that dollarism. When they drop those dollars on you, your soul goes.”

46. “Thoughtful white people know they are inferior to black people.”

47. “My family was so poor we were close to eating the holes inside of doughnuts.”

48. “A man curses because he doesn’t have the words to say what’s on his mind.”

49. “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”

Malcolm X Quotes - I actually believed that after living as fully as humanly possible, one should then die violently.

50. “I actually believed that after living as fully as humanly possible, one should then die violently. I expected then as I still expect today.”

51. “Even Samson, the world’s strongest man, was destroyed by the woman who slept in his arms. She was the one whose words hurt him.”

52. “Society has produced and nourished a psychology which brings out the lowest, most base part of human beings.”

53. “Men are attracted by spirit. By power, men are forced. Love is engendered by spirit. By power, anxieties are created.”

54. “Power, in defense of freedom, is greater than power on behalf of tyranny and oppression.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Fighting for Freedom and Justice

Malcolm X Quotes on Soul

55. “In our mutual sincerity, we might be able to show a road to the salvation of America’s very soul.”

56. “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.”

57. “The greatest miracle Christianity has achieved in America is that the black man in white Christian hands has not grown violent.”

58. “It is a miracle that the American black people have remained a peaceful people, while catching all the centuries of hell that they have caught, here in white man’s heaven!”

59. “I came here to tell the truth—and if the truth condemns America, then she stands condemned!”

Malcolm X Quotes - You are either free or not free.

60. “You are either free or not free.”

61. “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.”

62. “I think I deliberately invited death in many, sometimes insane, ways.”

63. “These Negros aren’t asking for no nation. They wanna crawl back on the plantation.”

64. “You cannot separate peace and freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Understanding That Africa Becomes More Positive.

65. “To the same degree that your understanding of and attitude towards Africa becomes more positive, your understanding of and attitude towards yourself will also become more positive.”

66. “To tell a woman not to talk too much was like telling Jesse James not to carry a gun, or a hen not to cackle.”

67. “We didn’t land on Plymouth rock, Plymouth rock landed on us”.

68. “I’m a man who believes that I died 20 years ago, and I live like a man who is dead already. I have no fear whatsoever of anybody or anything.”

69. “I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.”

Malcolm X Quotes - I don't advocate violence.

70. “I don’t advocate violence; but if a man steps on my toes, I’ll step on his.”

71. “There is nothing better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”

72. “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”

73. “You get your freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get it. Then you’ll get it. It’s the only way you’ll get it.”

74. “In fact, once he is motivated, no one can change more completely than the man who has been at the bottom. I call myself the best example of that.”

Malcolm X Quotes About the Black Man

75. “The only way that our problem will be solved is when the black man wakes up, cleans himself up, stands on his own feet, and stops begging the white man, and takes immediate steps to do for ourselves the things that we have been waiting on the white man to do for us.”

76. “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.”

77. “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.”

78. “How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what is yours?”

79. “I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Freedom and Justice

80. “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 system of exploitation.”

81. “The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.”

82. “I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Education and Wisdom

83. “Just because you have colleges and universities doesn’t mean you have education.”

84. “If you are in a country that is progressive, the woman is progressive. If you’re in a country that reflects the consciousness toward the importance of education, it’s because the woman is aware of the importance of education. But in every backward country, you’ll find the women are backward. And in every country where education is not stressed, it’s because the women don’t have education.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Being Undereducated

85. “They know that as long as they keep us undereducated, or with an inferior education, it’s impossible for us to compete with them for job openings.”

86. “It is the process of miseducation that inhibits the full potential of a nation.”

87. “When I am dead, I say it that way because from the things I know, I do not expect to live long enough to read this book in its finished form. I want you to just watch and see if I’m not right in what I say—that the white man, in his press, is going to identify me with hate.”

88. “The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”

89. “Read absolutely everything you get your hands on because you’ll never know where you’ll get an idea from.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Being a Victim

90. “Concerning non-violence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.”

91. “Who taught you to hate yourself?”

92. “I’m sorry to say that the subject I most disliked was mathematics. I have thought about it. I think the reason was that mathematics leaves no room for argument. If you made a mistake, that was all there was to it.”

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

94. “Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Doing Anything

95. “As long as you are convinced you have never done anything, you can never do anything.”

96. “One day, may we all meet together in the light of understanding.”

97. “If you dont stand for something, you fall for everything.”

98. “Later on in life, if I were continuously losing in any gambling situation, I would watch very closely.”

99. “They cripple the bird’s wing, and then condemn it for not flying as fast as they.”

Malcolm X Quotes About Colleges

100. “I imagine that one of the biggest troubles with colleges is there are too many distractions, too much panty-raiding, fraternities, and boola-boola and all of that.”

101. “Only, the mistakes were mine.”

102. “History is a people’s memory, and without a memory, a man is demoted to the lower animals.”

103. “Anyone who has studied the genetic phase of biology knows that white is considered recessive and black is considered dominant.”

104. “Truth does not change, only our awareness of it.”

Malcolm X Quotes - It seems that some women love to be exploited.

105. “It seems that some women love to be exploited. When they are not exploited, they exploit the man.”

106. “I say, sir, that you can never make an intelligent judgment without evidence.”

107. “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. Stated another way, only guilt admitted accepts truth.”

108. “The hardest test I ever faced in my life was praying.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Lessons for the Future Generations

109. “To have once been a criminal is no disgrace—to remain a criminal is the disgrace.”

Malcolm X Quotes - A wise man can play the part of a clown.

110. “A wise man can play the part of a clown, but a clown can’t play the part of a wise man.”

111. “No matter how much respect, no matter how much recognition whites show towards me, as far as I am concerned, as long as it is not shown to everyone of our people in this country, it doesn’t exist for me.”

112. “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.”

113. “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.”

114. “Anytime you find someone more successful than you are, especially when you’re both engaged in the same business, you know they’re doing something that you aren’t.”

Malcolm X Quotes - I have always kept an open mind.

115. “I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.”

116. “Times change so quickly that if you and I don’t keep up with the times, we’ll find ourselves with an umbrella in our hand, over our head, when the sun is out.”

117. “Once we have more knowledge about each other, we will stop condemning each other and a united front will be brought about.”

118. “You can’t hate your origin without ending up hating yourself.”

119. “You can’t hate the land, your motherland, the place that you come from, and we can’t hate Africa, without ending up hating ourselves.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Writing an Autobiography

120. “How is it possible to write one’s autobiography in a world so fast-changing as this?”

121. “Time is more important to me than distance.”

122. “Mankind’s history has proved, from one era to another, that the true criterion of leadership is spiritual.”

123. “This was my first lesson about gambling—if you see somebody winning all the time, he isn’t gambling, he’s cheating.”

124. “I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being—neither white, black, brown, or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family, there’s no question of integration or intermarriage.”

Malcolm X Quotes - We declare our right on this earth to be a human being.

125. “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.”

126. “Children have a lesson adults should learn—to not be ashamed of failing, but to get up and try again.”

127. “Most of us adults are so afraid, so cautious, so safe, and therefore so shrinking, and rigid, and afraid that it is why so many humans fail.”

128. “Most middle-aged adults have resigned themselves to failure.”

129. “You can’t hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Religion and Islam

Malcolm X Quotes - I believe in a religion that believes in freedom.

130. “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.’”

131. “True Islam taught me that it takes all of the religious, political, economic, psychological, and racial ingredients, or characteristics, to make the human family and the human society complete.”

132. “This religion recognizes all men as brothers. It accepts all human beings as equals before God, and as equal members in the human family of mankind.”

133. “Since I learned the truth in Mecca, my dearest friends have come to include all kinds—some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even atheists! I have friends who are called capitalists, socialists, and communists! Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists—some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!”

134. “I believe in Islam. I am a Muslim, and there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim—nothing wrong with the religion of Islam. It just teaches us to believe in Allah as the God.”

Malcolm X Quotes About Islam

135. “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.”

136. “Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white, but the white attitude had been removed from their minds by the religion of Islam.”

137. “I am and always will be a Muslim. My religion is Islam.”

138. “The religion of Islam actually restores one’s human feelings, human rights, human incentives, human talent.”

139. “I am a Muslim, because it’s a religion that teaches you an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It teaches you to respect everybody, and treat everybody right. But it also teaches you if someone steps on your toe, chop off their foot; and I carry my religious axe with me all the time.”

Malcolm X Quotes on Islam

140. “One of the main things that I read about it that appealed to me was in Islam, a man is honored as a human being and not measured by the color of his skin.”

How Did These Malcolm X Quotes Inspire You to Remain True to Yourself and Your Beliefs?

We are all human beings—no color, race, or religion can change that; and that’s exactly what Malcolm X fought for. He lived his life being pursued by white supremacists, but that didn’t stop him from fighting for what he believed in. He encouraged his fellow Black Americans to protect themselves and fight for freedom. In the end, racial segregation in the America was abolished in 1964. However, discrimination exists until today, and it is up to us to remember Malcolm X’s teachings—fight for what we believe in and strive for unity.

Did these quotes give you the strength you need to fight for your rights? Which quotes had the most effect on your beliefs? Comment them down below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

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