“This cultural revolution will be the journey to our rediscovery of ourselves. History is a people’s memory, and without a memory man is demoted to the level of the lower animals. When you have no knowledge of your history, you’re just another animal; in fact, you’re a Negro; something that’s nothing. The only black man on earth who is called a Negro is one who has no knowledge of his history. The only black man on earth who is called a Negro is one who doesn’t know where he came from. That’s the one in America. They don’t call Africans Negroes. Why, I had a white man tell me the other day, ‘He’s not a Negro.’ Here the man was black as night, and the white man told me, ‘He’s not a Negro, he’s an African.’ I said, ‘Well, listen to him.’ I knew he wasn’t, but I wanted to pull old whitey out, you know. But it shows you that they know this. You are Negro because you don’t know who you are, you don’t know what you are, you don’t know where you are, and you don’t know how you got here. But as soon as you wake up and find out the positive answer to all these things, you cease being a Negro. You become somebody.”

Source: Malcolm X’s speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, 1964. 

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