Malcolm X: “Message to the Grass Roots”

Film clip. Voices of a People’s History.
Dramatic reading of Malcolm X’s “Message to the Grass Roots” (1963) by Mos Def.

  • Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship | Reading Levels: High School | Resource Types: Films

Activist Malcolm X. Photo: Emerson Kent.

Malcolm X, “Message to the Grass Roots” (November 10, 1963)

Like members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Malcolm X advocated for the right of armed self-defense for Black and other oppressed groups who lived in so violently a racist society as the United States. Here is a excerpt of this now famous speech Malcolm X delivered in Detroit, Michigan at the Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference. Two years after giving this speech, on Feb. 21, 1965, he was assassinated in New York City.


Film Clip Description

Malcolm X’s message is read here by Mos Def on November 11, 2006, at the Berkeley Community Theatre in Berkeley, Calif. The excerpt is from Voices of a People’s History of the United States edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.

Many more video clips can be found at the Voices of a People’s History website and in the film The People Speak.


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