Select Heroes Who Fight & Die For The Benefit Of Black People, Malcolm Says…
[On being asked if he did not think it important for the new Black generation to know about the slave revolts in America and people like Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass:]
Malcolm: Yes, it’s important, but it’s even more important for us to be reestablished want connected to our roots. Douglass was great. I would rather have been taught about Toussaint L’Ouverture. We need to be taught about people who fought, who bled for freedom and made others bleed.
Questioner: The first guy that was shot at the moment of the Independence War was a Negro.
Malcolm: He wasn’t shot for Negroes. He was shot for America. I don’t want to take away from Crispus Attucks, but he was shoot. He was a slave. His people were slaves.
Questioner: He was a slave perhaps. But not on his knees—on his feet.
Malcolm: Sir, you can take a dog—a big, vicious dog—and sic him on somebody else and he’s fearless. I’d like to give you an example. No matter how fearless a dog is, you catch him out on the street, stamp hour foot—he’ll run because you’re only threatening him. His master has never trained him how to defend himself. But that same dog, if you walk through the master’s gate, will growl and bite. Why will he growl and bite over there and not growl and bite over here? Over there he’s growling and biting for the defense of his master and the benefit of his master, but when his own interests are threatened he has no growl.
Not only Cispus Attucks, but many of us in America have died defending America. We defend our master. We’re the most violent soldiers America has when she sends us to Korea or to the South Pacific or to Siagon, but when our mothers and our own property are being attacked we’re nonviolent. Crispus Attucks laid down his life for America but would he have laid down his life to stop the white man in America from enslaving Black people?
So when you select heroes about which Black people ought to be taught, let them be Black heroes who have died fighting for the benefit of Black people. We never were taught about Christophe or Dessalines. It was the slave revolt in Haiti when slaves, Black slaves, had the soldiers of Napoleon tied down and forced him to sell one-half of the American continent to the Americans. They don’t teach us that. This is the kind of history we want to learn.
Pathfinder, Malcolm X On Afro-American History, 2014, pgs 89-90.