Program of the
Organization of Afro-American Unity
Malcolm X, et al. (taken from the
Malcolm X Museum)
- this was originally supposed to be presented on Feb. 15, but since
Malcolm's home was fire-bombed, this was delayed for a week -- Feb.
21, to be exact -- the day he was assassinated...
also, the addresses at the end are probably no longer functional (to
my knowledge, the OAAU no longer exists), so please don't bother sending
cheques or money orders to the OAAU
Afro-Americans, people who originated in Africa and now reside in
America, speak out against the slavery and oppression inflicted upon
us by this racist power structure. We offer to downtrodden Afro-American
people courses of action that will conquer oppression, relieve suffering,
and convert meaningless struggle into meaningful action.
that our purpose will be achieved, we Afro-Americans from all walks
of life make the following known:
stated our determination, confidence, and resolve, the Organization
of Afro-American Unity is hereby established on the 15th day of February,
1965, in the city of New York.
this establishment, the Afro-American people will launch a cultural
revolution which will provide the means for restoring our identity
that we might rejoin our brothers and sisters on the African continent,
culturally, psychologically, economically, and share with them the
sweet fruits of freedom from oppression and independence of racist
The Organization of Afro-American Unity welcomes all persons of
African origin to come together and dedicate their ideas, skills,
and lives to free our people from oppression.
Branches of the Organization of Afro-American Unity may be established
by people of African descent wherever they may be and whatever their
ideology -- as long as they be descendants of Africa and dedicated
to our one goal: freedom from oppression.
The basic program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity which
is now being presented can and will be modified by the membership,
taking into consideration national, regional, and local conditions
that require flexible treatment.
The Organization of Afro-American Unity encourages active participation
of each member since we feel that each and every Afro-American has
something to contribute to our freedom. Thus each member will be
encouraged to participate in the committee of his or her choice.
Understanding the differences that have been created amongst us
by our oppressors in order to keep us divided, the Organization
of Afro-American Unity strives to ignore or submerge these artificial
divisions by focusing our activities and our loyalties upon our
one goal: freedom from oppression.
assert that we Afro-Americans have the right to direct and control
our lives, our history, and our future rather than to have our destinies
determined by American racists, we are determined to rediscover our
true African culture, which was crushed and hidden for over four hundred
years in order to enslave us and keep us enslaved up to today...
Afro-Americans -- enslaved, oppressed, and denied by a society that
proclaims itself the citadel of democracy, are determined to rediscover
our history, promote the talents that are suppressed by our racist
enslavers, renew the culture that was crushed by a slave government
and thereby -- to again become a free people.
believing that the future of Afro-Americans is dependent upon our
ability to unite our ideas, skills, organizations, and institutions...
the Organization of Afro-American Unity pledge to join hands and hearts
with all people of African origin in a grand alliance by forgetting
all the differences that the power structure has created to keep us
divided and enslaved. We further pledge to strengthen our common bond
and strive toward one goal: freedom from oppression.
THE BASIC UNITY
program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity shall evolve from
five strategic points which are deemed basic and fundamental to our
grand alliance. Through our committees we shall proceed in the following
order to enslave the African it was necessary for our enslavers to
completely sever our communications with the African continent and
the Africans that remained there. In order to free ourselves from
the oppression of our enslavers then, it is absolutely necessary for
the Afro-American to restore communications with Africa.
Organization of Afro-American Unity will accomplish this goal by means
of independent national and international newspapers, publishing ventures,
personal contacts, and other available communications media.
Afro-Americans, must also communicate to one another the truths about
American slavery and the terrible effects it has upon our people.
We must study the modern system of slavery in order to free ourselves
from it. We must search out all the bare and ugly facts without shame
for we are still victims, still slaves -- still oppressed. Our only
shame is believing falsehood and not seeking the truth.
must learn all that we can about ourselves. We will have to know the
whole story of how we were kidnapped from Africa; how our ancestors
were brutalized, dehumanized, and murdered; and how we are continually
kept in a state of slavery for the profit of a system conceived in
slavery, built by slaves and dedicated to keeping us enslaved in order
to maintain itself.
must begin to reeducate ourselves and become alert listeners in order
to learn as much as we can about the progress of our motherland --
Africa. We must correct in our minds the distorted image that our
enslaver has portrayed to us of Africa that he might discourage us
from reestablishing communications with her and thus obtain freedom
order to keep the Afro-American enslaved, it was necessary to limit
our thinking to the shores of America -- to prevent us from identifying
our problems with the problems of other peoples of African origin.
This made us consider ourselves an isolated minority without allies
Organization of Afro-American Unity will develop in the Afro-American
people a keen awareness of our relationship with the world at large
and clarify our roles, rights, and responsibilities as human beings.
We can accomplish this goal by becoming well-informed concerning world
affairs and understanding that our struggle is part of a larger world
struggle of oppressed peoples against all forms of oppression. We
must change the thinking of the Afro-American by liberating our minds
through the study of philosophies and psychologies, cultures and languages
that did not come from our racist oppressors. Provisions are being
made for the study of languages such as Swahili, Hausa, and Arabic.
These studies will give our people access to ideas and history of
mankind at large and thus increase our mental scope.
can learn much about Africa by reading informative books and by listening
to the experiences of those who have traveled there, but many of us
can travel to the land of our choice and experience for ourselves.
The Organization of Afro-American Unity will encourage the Afro-American
to travel to Africa, the Caribbean, and to other places where our
culture has not been completely crushed by brutality and ruthlessness.
enslaving us, the slave masters developed a racist educational system
which justified to its posterity the evil deeds that had been committed
against the African people and their descendants. Too often the slave
himself participates so completely in this system that he justifies
having been enslaved and oppressed.
Organization of Afro-American Unity will devise original educational
methods and procedures which will liberate the minds of our children
from the vicious lies and distortions that are fed to us from the
cradle to keep us mentally enslaved. We encourage Afro-Americans themselves
to establish experimental institutes and educational workshops, liberation
schools, and child-care centers in the Afro-American communities.
will influence the choice of textbooks and equipment used by our children
in the public schools while at the same time encouraging qualified
Afro-Americans to write and publish the text books needed to liberate
our minds. Until we completely control our own educational institutions,
we must supplement the formal training of our children by educating
them at home.
the Emancipation Proclamation, when the system of slavery changed
from chattel slavery to wage slavery, it was realized that the Afro-American
constituted the largest homogeneous ethnic group with a common origin
and common group experience in the United States and, if allowed to
exercise economic or political freedom, would in a short period of
time own this country. Therefore racists in this government developed
techniques that would keep the Afro-American people economically dependent
upon the slave masters -- economically slaves -- twentieth-century
Organization of Afro-American Unity will take measures to free our
people from economic slavery. One way of accomplishing this will be
to maintain a technician pool: that is, a bank of technicians. In
the same manner that blood banks have been established to furnish
blood to those who need it at the time it is needed, we must establish
a technician bank. We must do this so that the newly independent nations
of Africa can turn to us who are their Afro-American brothers for
the technicians they will need now and in the future. Thereby we will
be developing an open market for the many skills we possess and at
the same time we will be supplying Africa with the skills she can
best use. This project will therefore be one of mutual cooperation
and mutual benefit.
order to enslave a people and keep them subjugated, their right to
self-defense must be denied. They must be constantly terrorized, brutalized,
and murdered. These tactics of suppression have been developed to
a new high by vicious racists whom the United States government seems
unwilling or incapable of dealing with in terms of the law of this
land. Before the emancipation it was the Black man who suffered humiliation,
torture, castration, and murder. Recently our women and children,
more and more, are becoming the victims of savage racists whose appetite
for blood increases daily and whose deeds of depravity seem to be
openly encouraged by all law enforcement agencies. Over five thousand
Afro-Americans have been lynched since the Emancipation Proclamation
and not one murderer has been brought to justice!
Organization of Afro-American Unity, being aware of the increased
violence being visited upon the Afro-American and of the open sanction
of this violence and murder by the police departments throughout this
country and the federal agencies -- do affirm our right and obligation
to defend ourselves in order to survive as a people.
encourage the Afro-Americans to defend themselves against the wanton
attacks of racist aggressors whose sole aim is to deny us the guarantees
of the United Nations Charter of Human Rights and of the Constitution
of the United States.
Organization of Afro-American Unity will take those private steps
that are necessary to insure the survival of the Afro-American people
in the face of racist aggression and the defense of our women and
children. We are within our rights to see to it that the Afro-American
people who fulfill their obligations to the United States government
(we pay taxes and serve in the armed forces of this country like American
citizens do) also exact from this government the obligations that
it owes us as a people, or exact these obligations ourselves. Needless
to say, among this number we include protection of certain inalienable
rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
areas where the United States government has shown itself unable and/or
unwilling to bring to justice the racist oppressors, murderers, who
kill innocent children and adults, the Organization of Afro-American
Unity advocates that the Afro-American people insure ourselves that
justice is done -- whatever the price and by any means necessary.
Afro-Americans feel receptive toward all peoples of goodwill. We are
not opposed to multiethnic associations in any walk of life. In fact,
we have had experiences which enable us to understand how unfortunate
it is that human beings have been set apart or aside from each other
because of characteristics known as "racial" characteristics.
Afro-Americans did not create the prejudiced background and atmosphere
in which we live. And we must face the facts. A "racial"
society does exist in stark reality, and not with equality for Black
people; so we who are nonwhite must meet the problems inherited from
centuries of inequalities and deal with the present situations as
rationally as we are able.
exclusive ethnic quality of our unity is necessary for self-preservation.
We say this because our experiences backed up by history show that
African culture and Afro-American culture not be accurately recognized
and reported and cannot be respectably expressed nor be secure in
its survival if we remain the divided, and therefore the helpless,
victims of an oppressive society.
appreciate the fact that when the people involved have real equality
and justice, ethnic intermingling can be beneficial to all. We must
denounce, however, all people who are oppressive through their policies
or actions and who are lacking in justice in their dealings with other
people, whether the injustices proceed from power, class, or "race."
We must be unified in order to be protected from abuse or misuse.
consider the word "integration" a misleading, false term.
It carries with it certain implications to which Afro-Americans cannot
subscribe. This terminology has been applied to the current regulation
projects which are supposed]y "acceptable" to some classes
of society. This very "acceptable" implies some inherent
superiority or inferiority instead of acknowledging the true source
of the inequalities involved.
have observed that the usage of the term "integration" was
designated and promoted by those persons who expect to continue a
(nicer) type of ethnic discrimination and who intend to maintain social
and economic control of all human contacts by means of imagery, classifications,
quotas, and manipulations based on color, national origin, or "racial"
background and characteristics.
evaluation of recent experiences shows that "integration"
actually describes the proccess by which a white society is (remains)
set in a position to use, whenever it chooses to use and however it
chooses to use, the best talents of nonwhite people. This power-web
continues to build a society wherein the best contributions of Afro-Americans,
in fact of all nonwhite people, would continue to be absorbed without
note or exploited to benefit a fortunate few while the masses of both
white and nonwhite people would remain unequal and unbenefited.
are aware that many of us lack sufficient training and are deprived
and unprepared as a result of oppression, discrimination, and the
resulting discouragement, despair, and resignation. But when we are
not qualified, and where we are unprepared, we must help each other
and work out plans for bettering our own conditions as Afro-Americans.
Then our assertions toward full opportunity can be made on the basis
of equality as opposed to the calculated tokens of "integration."
Therefore, we must reject this term as one used by all persons who
intend to mislead Afro-Americans.
term, "negro," is erroneously used and is degrading in the
eyes of informed and self-respecting persons of African heritage.
It denotes stereotyped and debased traits of character and classifies
a whole segment of humanity on the basis of false information. From
all intelligent viewpoints, it is a badge of slavery and helps to
prolong and perpetuate oppression and discrimination.
who recognize the emotional thrust and plain show of disrespect in
the Southerner's use of "nigra" and the general use of "nigger"
must also realize that all three words are essentially the same. The
other two. "nigra" and "nigger" are blunt and
undeceptive. The one representing respectability, "negro,"
is merely the same substance in a polished package and spelled with
a capital letter. This refinement is added so that a degrading terminology
can be legitimately used in general literature and "polite"
conversation without embarrassment.
term "negro" developed from a word in the Spanish language
which is actually an adjective (describing word) meaning "black,"
that is, the color black. In plain English, if someone said or was
called a "black" or a "dark," even a young child
would very naturally question: "a black what?" or "a
dark what?" because adjectives do not name, they describe. Please
take note that in order to make use of this mechanism, a word was
transferred from another language and deceptively changed in function
from an adjective to a noun, which is a naming word. Its application
in the nominative (naming) sense was intentionally used to portray
persons in a position of objects or "things." It stamps
the article as being "all alike and all the same." It denotes:
a "darkie," a slave, a subhuman, an ex-slave, a "negro."
must re-analyze and particularly question our own use of this term,
keeping in mind all the facts. In light of the historical meanings
and current implications, all intelligent and informed Afro-Americans
and Africans continue to reject its use in the noun form as well as
a proper adjective. Its usage shall continue to be considered as unenlightened
and objectionable or deliberately offensive whether in speech or writing.
accept the use of Afro-American, African, and Black man in reference
to persons of African heritage. To every other part of mankind goes
this measure of just respect. We do not desire more nor shall we accept
like all other people, have human rights which are inalienable. This
is, these human rights cannot be legally or justly transferred to
another. Our human rights belong to us, as to all people, through
God, not through the wishes nor according to the whims of other men.
must consider that fact and other reasons why a proclamation of "Emancipation"
should not be revered as a document of liberation. Any previous acceptance
of and faith in such a document was based on sentiment, not on reality.
This is a serious matter which we Afro-Americans must continue to
original root-meaning of the word emancipation is: "To deliver
up or make over as property by means of a formal act from a purchaser."
We must take note and remember that human beings cannot be justly
bought or sold nor can their human rights be legally or justly taken
was, and still is, a criminal institution, that is: crime en masse.
No matter what form it takes. subtle rules and policies, apartheid,
etc., slavery and oppression of human rights stand as major crimes
against God and humanity. Therefore, to relegate or change the state
of such criminal deeds by means of vague legislation and noble euphemisms
gives an honor to horrible commitments that is totally inappropriate.
implications and concomitant harvests were generally misunderstood
by our foreparents and are still misunderstood or avoided by some
Afro-Americans today. However, the facts remain; and we, as enlightened
Afro-Americans, will not praise and encourage any belief in emancipation.
Afro-Americans everywhere must realize that to retain faith in such
an idea means acceptance of being property and, therefore, less than
a human being. This matter is a crucial one that Afro-Americans must
continue to reexamine.
time is past due for us to internationalize the problems of Afro-Americans.
We have been too slow in recognizing the link in the fate of Africans
with the fate of Afro-Americans. We have been too unknowing to understand
and too misdirected to ask our African brothers and sisters to help
us mend the chain of our heritage.
African relatives who are in a majority in their own country have
found it very difficult to gain independence from a minority. It is
that much more difficult for Afro-Americans who are a minority away
from the motherland and still oppressed by those who encourage the
crushing of our African identity.
can appreciate the material progress and recognize the opportunities
available in the highly industrialized and affluent American society.
Yet, we who are nonwhite face daily miseries resulting directly or
indirectly from a systematic discrimination against us because of
our God-given colors. These factors cause us to remember that our
being born in America was an act of fate stemming from the separation
of our foreparents from Africa; not by choice, but by force.
have for many years been divided among ourselves through deceptions
and misunderstandings created by our enslavers, but we do here and
now express our desires and intent to draw closer and be restored
in knowledge and spirit through renewed relations and kinships with
the African peoples. We further realize that our human rights, so
long suppressed, are the rights of all mankind everywhere.
light of all of our experiences and knowledge of the past, we, as
Afro-Americans, declare recognition, sympathy, and admiration for
all peoples and nations who are striving, as we are, toward self-realization
and complete freedom from oppression.
civil rights bill is a similarly misleading, misinterpreted document
of legislation. The premise of its design and application is not respectable
in the eyes of men who recognize what personal freedom involves and
entails. Afro-Americans must answer this question for themselves:
What makes this special bill necessary?
only document that is in order and deserved with regard to the acts
perpetuated through slavery and oppression prolonged to this day is
a Declaration of condemnation. And the only legislation worthy of
consideration or endorsement by Afro-Americans, the victims of these
tragic institutions, is a Proclamation of Restitution. We Afro-Americans
must keep these facts ever in mind.
must continue to internationalize our philosophies and contacts toward
assuming full human rights which include all the civil rights appertaining
thereto. With complete understanding of our heritage as Afro-Americans,
we must not do less.
of the Organization of Afro-American Unity:
The Social Committee
The Youth Committee
Finance, Fund-raising, Legal, Membership
further information on the Organization of Afro-American Unity, write:
Organization of Afro-American Unity,
2090 Seventh Ave.,
New York 27, N.Y.
speedier responses, address correspondence to a particular committee.
For example, if you are interested in joining or establishing a chapter:
Organization of Afro-American Unity,
2090 Seventh Ave.,
New York 27, NY.
We welcome your
contributions in the form of checks or money orders.