This story originally appeared in the March 30, 1964, issue of U.S.News & World Report.
Now comes a Negro leader who opposes integration—and urges American Negroes to arm themselves with guns for defense against white people.
This new negro leader calls himself Malcolm X. He was once a high-ranking minister in the "Black Muslim" religious organization headed by Elijah Muhammad of Chicago.
Malcolm X recently pulled out of the Muslims' religious hierarchy. On March 12 he announced that he is forming a new Negro movement which he describes as "black nationalism."
In that announcement, he said: " In areas where our people are the constant victims of brutality, and the Government seems unable or unwilling to protect them, we should form rifle clubs that can be used to defend our lives and our property in times of emergency."
"When our people are being bitten by dogs, they are within their rights to kill those dogs."
Malcolm X says he is still a Muslim, and the announced aims of his black nationalism are similar to those of the Black Muslims: "Complete separation" of the races, and creation of a separate "homeland" for Negros.
But Malcolm is out to win those aims through a "black political party."
To get a clearer picture of Malcolm X's program and his views, a member of the National Staff of U.S. News & World Report interviewed him in New York City:
Q Malcolm X, why do you oppose integration?
A It won't work. It doesn't solve the problem. Do you know what integration really means? It means intermarriage. That's the real point behind it. You can't have it without intermarriage. And that would result in disintegration of both races. The Negro is better off by himself, so he can develop his character and his culture in accord with his own nature.
Negro leaders in private conversation admit this. But not publicly. They are in a spot, trying to explain to the masses of Negroes what they have got out of integration. The leaders have benefited, but the people they are trying to lead haven't got any benefit.
Q As you see it, has the integration drive failed in this country?
A Yes, it has failed. Schools are becoming more segregated. Housing...all phases. Job segregation is one of the worst situations. Washington D.C., is one of the best examples of how integration has failed. I know about the desegregation of the theaters and restaurants and all that in Washington. But the only Negroes who have been helped by that are the Negro bourgeoisie. They are the only Negroes who can afford to go to the theaters and the white restaurants. New York, which is supposed to be liberal, has more integration problems the Mississippi.
Q Did you think there can ever be real integration of the black and white races in this country?
A No. If it were possible, you could point to some examples of it. But there is not one place in this country which is really integrated. When people look for examples of integration, they look to other countries, like Brazil. But I don't consider Brazil integrated, either. It is true that the Negroes and whites there have married. But Brazil is only mongrelized. Not one black man is prominent in Brazil. The Negroes there are still at the bottom. Q What do you favor to help solve the race problem in the U.S.?
A I favor, building up living conditions, schools, jobs. That's the heart of the problem. I want to take Negroes out of the ghetto and put them in good neighborhoods in good houses. Q Would that make trouble, cause property values to fall?
A It is bound to depreciate the property of the white man living next door. The first thing that the black man has got to do is straighten out the evil conditions in New York City's Harlem and the other ghettos. Not only materially, but morally and spiritually. We've got to get rid of drunkenness, drug addiction, prostitution and all that. We need a program to educate the people of Harlem to a better sense of values.
When ghetto living seems normal, you have no shame, no privacy. You don't realize that you don't have these values when you've known nothing but ghetto moral conditions.