Malcolm X: “After the Bombing”

(1965)

On February 14, 1965, the African American activist Malcolm X addressed a crowd consisting primarily of college students at the Henry and Edsel Ford Auditorium in Detroit, Michigan, in what would be his final speech, “After the Bombing.” The occasion of his speech was an event that had taken place the night before: the firebombing of his house in Queens, New York. He used this opportunity to address a wide range of issues of concern to him and to the African American community.

Born Malcolm Little in 1925, Malcolm X had witnessed racism firsthand as a child. He turned to a life of crime and was eventually convicted and incarcerated. While he was in prison, he converted to the religion known as the Nation of Islam. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, he was second only to the Nation of Islam’s leader, Elijah Muhammad, as the public face of that organization. The Nation of Islam advocated African American separatism and pan-African unity and denounced nonviolence as a...

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Malcolm X (Library of Congress)

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