Film Clips

Malcolm X: “Message to the Grass Roots”

Film clip. Voices of a People's History.
Dramatic reading of Malcolm X's "Message to the Grass Roots" (1963) by Mos Def.
Time Periods: 20th Century, 1961
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship

Malcolm X. Photo by Emerson Kent.

Like members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Malcolm X advocated for the right of armed self-defense for Black and other oppressed groups who lived in so violently a racist society as the United States.

The video clip below offers an excerpt of “Message to the Grass Roots,” a speech by Malcolm X in Detroit, Michigan on November 10, 1963 at the Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference.

Two years after giving this speech, he was assassinated in New York City on Feb. 21, 1965.

Malcolm X’s message is read here by Mos Def on November 11, 2006, at the Berkeley Community Theatre in Berkeley, Calif. The excerpt is from Voices of a People’s History of the United States edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.

Many more video clips can be found at the Voices of a People’s History website and in the film The People Speak.