It’ll be the the ballot or it’ll be the bullet. It’ll be liberty or it’ll
be death. And if you’re not ready to pay that price don’t use the word freedom
in your vocabulary.
演讲全文：The Ballot or the Bullet / Malcolm X
Mr. Moderator, Reverend Cleage, Brother Lomax, brothers and sisters, and
friends and I see some enemies. In fact, I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we
had an audience this large and didn’t realize that there were some enemies
This afternoon we want to talk about the ballot or the bullet. The ballot
or the bullet explains itself. But before we get into it, since this is the year
of the ballot or the bullet, I would like to clarify some things that refer to
me personally — concerning my own personal position.
I’m still a Muslim. That is, my religion is still Islam. My religion is
still Islam. I still credit Mr. Mohammed for what I know and what I am. He’s the
one who opened my eyes. At present, I’m the Minister of the newly founded Muslim
Mosque, Incorporated which has its offices in the Teresa Hotel, right in the
heart of Harlem — that’s the black belt in New York city. And when we realize
that Adam Clayton Powell is a Christian minister, he’s the — he heads
Abyssinian Baptist Church, but at the same time, he’s more famous for his
And Dr. King is a Christian Minister, in Atlanta – or from Atlanta Georgia
— or in Atlanta, Georgia, but he’s become more famous for being involved in the
civil rights struggle. There’s another in New York, Reverend Galamison — I
don’t know if you’ve heard of him out here – he’s a Christian Minister from
Brooklyn, but has become famous for his fight against a segregated school system
in Brooklyn. Reverend Clee, right here, is a Christian Minister, here in
Detroit. He’s the head of the “Freedom Now Party.”
All of these are Christian Ministers — All of these are Christian
Ministers, but they don’t come to us as Christian Ministers. They come to us as
fighters in some other category.
I’m a Muslim minister — the same as they are Christian Ministers — I’m a
Muslim minister. And I don’t believe in fighting today in any one front, but on
In fact, I’m a black Nationalist Freedom Fighter.
Islam is my religion, but I believe my religion is my personal business. It
governs my personal life, my personal morals. And my religious philosophy is
personal between me and the God in whom I believe; just as the religious
philosophy of these others is between them and the God in whom they believe.
And this is best this way. Were we to come out here discussing religion,
we’d have too many differences from the outstart and we could never get
together. So today, though Islam is my religious philosophy, my political,
economic, and social philosophy is Black Nationalism. You and I — As I say, if
we bring up religion we’ll have differences; we’ll have arguments; and we’ll
never be able to get together. But if we keep our religion at home, keep our
religion in the closet, keep our religion between ourselves and our God, but
when we come out here, we have a fight that’s common to all of us against a
[sic] enemy who is common to all of us.
The political philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that the black man
should control the politics and the politicians in his own community. The — The
time — The time when white people can come in our community and get us to vote
for them so that they can be our political leaders and tell us what to do and
what not to do is long gone.
By the same token, the time when that same white man, knowing that your
eyes are too far open, can send another negro into the community and get you and
me to support him so he can use him to lead us astray — those days are long
The political philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that if you and I
are going to live in a Black community — and that’s where we’re going to live,
cause as soon as you move into one of their — soon as you move out of the Black
community into their community, it’s mixed for a period of time, but they’re
gone and you’re right there all by yourself again.
We must — We must understand the politics of our community and we must
know what politics is supposed to produce. We must know what part politics play
in our lives. And until we become politically mature we will always be mislead,
lead astray, or deceived or maneuvered into supporting someone politically who
doesn’t have the good of our community at heart.