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The Malcolm X Interview

On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was gunned down in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. One witness to the hail of gunfire that killed him was his then four-year old daughter, Qubilah Shabazz, who has now, at age 34, been implicated in a plot to kill her father’s bitter rival, Louis Farrakhan. In light of the continuing controversy over Malcolm X’s death, and life, we now offer visitors to the PLAYBOY WEB SITE the opportunity to read the great spiritual and political leader’s own account of his beliefs, as recounted in a May 1963 PLAYBOY INTERVIEW. The questioner was the late Alex Haley, who would go on to co-author The Autobiography of Malcolm X before completing his own masterpiece of African-American literature, ROOTS.

"I don’t know when Armageddon is supposed to be. But I know that the time is near when the white man will be finished. The signs are all around us."
"Christ wasn’t white. Christ was black. The poor, brainwashed Negro has been made to believe Christ was white to maneuver him into worshiping white men."

"Verwoerd is an honest white man. So are the Barnetts, Eastlands and Rockwells. They want to keep white people white; we want to keep black people black."

Within the past five years, the militant American Negro has become an increasingly active combatant in the struggle for civil rights. Espousing the goals of unqualified equality and integration, many of these outspoken insurgents have participated in freedom rides and protest marches against their segregationist foes. Today, they face opposition from not one, but two inimical exponents of racism and segregation: the white supremacists and the Black Muslims. A relatively unknown and insignificant radical religious Negro cult until a few years ago, the Muslims have grown into a dedicated, disciplined nationwide movement which runs its own school, publishes its own newspaper, owns stores and restaurants in four major cities, buys broadcast time on 50 radio stations throughout the country, stages mass rallies attended by partisan crowds of 10,000 and more, and maintains its own police force of judo-trained athletes called the Fruit of Islam.
Predicated on the proposition that the black man is morally, spiritually and intellectually superior to the white man, who is called a "devil," Muslim doctrine dooms him to extermination in an imminent Armageddon--along with Christianity itself, which is denounced as an opiate designed to lull Negroes--with the promise of
heaven--into passive acceptance of inferior social status. Amalgamating elements of Christianity and Mohammedanism (both of which officially and unequivocally disown it) and spiked with a black-supremacy version of Hitler’s Aryan racial theories, Muslimism was founded in 1931 by Elijah Poole, a Georgia-born
ex-factory worker who today commands unquestioning obedience from thousands of followers as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Messenger of Allah. At the right hand of God’s Messenger stands 36-year-old Malcolm Little, a lanky onetime dining-car steward, bootlegger, pimp and dope pusher who left prison in 1952 to heed Muhammad’s message, abandoned his "slave name," Little, for the symbolic "X" (meaning identity unknown), and took an oath to abstain thereafter from smoking, drinking, gambling, cursing, dancing and sexual promiscuity--as required of every Muslim. The ambitious young man rose swiftly to become the Messenger’s most ardent and erudite disciple, and today wields all but absolute authority over the
movement and its membership as Muhammad’s business manager, trouble shooter, prime minister and heir apparent.
In the belief that knowledge and awareness are necessary and effective antitoxins against the venom of hate, PLAYBOY asked Malcolm X to submit to a cross-examination on the means and ends of his organization. The ensuing interview was conducted at a secluded table in a Harlem restaurant owned by the Muslims.
Interrupting his replies occasionally with a sip of black African coffee and whispered asides to deferential aides, the dark-suited minister of Harlem’s Muslim Temple Number Seven spoke with candor and--except for moments of impassioned execration of all whites--the impersonal tone of a self-assured corporation
Many will be shocked by what he has to say; others will be outraged. Our own view is that this interview is both an eloquent statement and a damning self-indictment of one noxious facet of rampant racism. As such, we believe it merits publication--and reading.



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