only the mistakes are mine

1965

“Every morning when I wake up, now, I regard it as having another borrowed day. In any city, wherever I go, making speeches, holding meetings of my organization, or attending to other business, black men are watching every move I make, awaiting their chance to kill me. I have said publicly many times that I know that they have their orders. Anyone who chooses not to believe what I’m saying doesn’t know the Muslims in the Nation of Islam.

But I’m also blessed with faithful followers who are, I believe, as dedicated to me as I once was to Mr. Elijah Muhammad. Those who would hunt a man need to remember that a jungle also contains those who hunt the hunters.

I know, too, that I could suddenly die at the hands of some white racists. Or I could die at the hands of some Negro hired by the white man. Or it could be some brainwashed Negro acting on his own idea that by eliminating me he would be helping out the white man, beacuse I talk about the white man the way I do.

Anyway, now, each day I live as if I’m already dead, and I tell you what I would like for you to do. When I am dead -I say it that way because from the things I know, I do not expect to live long enough to read this book in its finished form – I want you to just watch and see if I’m not right in what I say: that the white man, in his press, is going to identify me with “hate”.

He will make use of me dead, as he has made use of me alive, as a convenient symbol of “hatred”- and that will help him to escape facing the truth that all I have been doing is holding up a mirror to reflect, to show, the history of unspeakable crimes that this race has committed against my race.

You watch. I will be labeled as, the best, an “irresponsible” black man. I have always felt about this accusation that the black “leader” whom white man consider to be “responsible” is invariably the black “leader” who never gets any results. You only get action as a black man if you are regarded by the white man as “irresponsible”. In fact, this much I had learned when I was just a little boy. And since I have been some kind of a “leadre” to black people here in the racist society of America, I have been more reassured each time the white man resisted me, or attacked me harder – because each time made more certain that I was on the right track in the American black man’s best interests.

Yes, I have cherished my “demagogue” role. I know that societies often have killed the people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignat in the body of America – then, all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.”

Last entry Malcom X reported to his writer, Alex Haley, for his autobiography in 1965.

On February 21, 1965, Malcom X was killed by some members of the Nation of Islam at the Audubon Ballrom, NYC.

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