American Experience
Three Perspectives Three Perspectives

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Select a Clip:Introduction: Dr. Kenneth ClarkMartin Luther KingMalcolm XJames Baldwin

Malcolm X (5:08): part 1 | 2

Dr. Kenneth Clark: Well, do you feel that the Negroes who are attempting to influence the policies and actions of our federal government, the attorney general, the president of the United States, are going in the wrong dir--

Malcolm X: When James Baldwin recently had a conference with Robert Kennedy, he took Lena Horne, who's married to a white man, Lorraine Hansberry, who's married to a white man, [Harry] Belafonte, who's married to a white woman, Edwin Berry of the Urban League, who's married to a white woman, now...

And whenever you have a group of black people sitting down with the white man, supposed to represent the black masses, you can never get anybody who's involved in any intermarriage, in any kind of situation, who will be qualified to represent themselves as spokesmen for the black masses in this country. They were representing their own personal desires. They want to mix and mingle so that they can take their wife, they can go any of these places with their wife, they're involved in a mixed marriage.

But you can't find masses, sir, of black people who will accept any black man who's married to a white man [sic] as a spokesman for black people, or a black woman, who's married to a white man, as a spokesman or a representative of what black people feel and think.

Clark: What do you feel Negroes should do in respect to obtaining even more effective protection from our federal government?

Malcolm X: You never will get protection from the federal government. That's like, King is asking Kennedy to go to Alabama to stand in the doorway, put his body in the doorway. That's like asking the fox to protect you from the wolf.

And when black -- now, the masses of black people can see this. And it is only the Negro leadership, the bourgeois, hand-picked handful of Negroes who think that they're going to get some kind of respect, recognition, or protection from the government.

The government is responsible for what is happening to black people in this country. The president has power; you notice he didn't send any troops into Birmingham to protect the Negroes when the dogs were biting the Negroes. The only time he sent troops into Birmingham was when the Negroes erupted, and then the president sent troops in there, not to protect the Negroes, but to protect them white people down there from those erupting Negroes.