Malcolm X’s life changed dramatically in the first six months of 1964. On March 8, he left the Nation of Islam. In May he toured West Africa and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, returning as El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. While in Ghana in May, he decided to form the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). Malcolm returned to New York the following month to create the OAAU and on June 28 gave his first public address on behalf of the new organization at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. That address appears below.
Salaam Alaikum, Mr. Moderator, our distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, our friends and our enemies, everybody whos here.
As many of you know, last March when it was announced that I was no longer in the Black Muslim movement, it was pointed out that it was my intention to work among the 22 million non-Muslim Afro-Americans and to try and form some type of organization, or create a situation where the young people – our young people, the students and others – could study the problems of our people for a period of time and then come up with a new analysis and give us some new ideas and some new suggestions as to how to approach a problem that too many other people have been playing around with for too long. And that we would have some kind of meeting and determine at a later date whether to form a black nationalist party or a black nationalist army.
There have been many of our people across the country from all walks of life who have taken it upon themselves to try and pool their ideas and to come up with some kind of solution to the problem that confronts all of our people. And tonight we are here to try and get an understanding of what it is theyve come up with.
Also, recently when I was blessed to make a religious pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca where I met many people from all over the world, plus spent many weeks in Africa trying to broaden my own scope and get more of an open mind to look at the problem as it actually is, one of the things that I