Malcolm X with Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer
In December, 1964, representatives of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party toured Northern cities seeking moral, political and financial support for their campaign to block the seating of Mississippi's five segregationist U. S. representatives when Congress convened on January 4, 1965.
In Harlem, an ad hoc committee supporting the Freedom Democratic Party campaign organized a rally on December 20, 1964. The chief speaker was Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, MFDP candidate for Congress, whose personal testimony about racist brutality had attracted wide attention at the Democratic Party national convention in August, 1964. The meeting was held at the Williams Institutional CME Church in Harlem, with the audience about one-third white.
Malcolm X spoke too, after Mrs. Hamer's moving address and after the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's Freedom Singers had presented various songs, including "Oginga Odinga of Kenya."
Rev. [Joseph] Coles [Jr.], Mrs. Hamer, honored guests, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies; also ABC and CBS and FBI and CIA:
I couldn't help but be very impressed at the outstart when the Freedom Singers were singing the song "Oginga Odinga" because Oginga Odinga is one of the foremost freedom fighters on the African continent. At the time he visited in Atlanta, Georgia, I think he was then the minister of home affairs in Kenya. But since Kenya became a republic last week, and Jomo Kenyatta ceased being the prime minister and became the president, the same person you are singing about, Oginga Odinga, is now Kenyatta's vice president. He's the number-two man in the Kenya government.
The fact that you would be singing about him, to me is quite significant. Two or three years ago, this wouldn't have been done. Two or three years ago, most of our people would choose to sing about someone who was, you know, passive and meek and humble and forgiving. Oginga Odinga is not passive. He's not meek. He's not humble. He's not nonviolent. But he's free.
Oginga Odinga is vice president under Jomo Kenyatta, and Jomo Kenyatta was considered to be the organizer of the Mau Mau; I think you mentioned the Mau Mau in that song. And if you analyze closely those words, I think you'll have the key to how to straighten the situation out in Mississippi. When the nations of Africa are truly independent -- and they will be truly independent because they're going about it in the right way -- the historians will give Prime Minister, or rather, President Kenyatta and the Mau Mau their rightful role in African history. They'll go down as the greatest African patriots and freedom fighters that that continent ever knew, and they will be given credit for bringing about the independence of many of the existing independent states on that continent right now. There was a time when their image was negative, but today they're looked upon with respect and their chief is the president and their next chief is the vice president.
have to take time to mention that because, in my opinion, not only in
Mississippi and Alabama, but right here in New York City, you and I can best
learn how to get real freedom by studying how Kenyatta brought it to his people
in Kenya, and how Odinga helped him, and the excellent job that was done by the
Mau Mau freedom fighters. In fact, that's what we need in Mississippi. In
Mississippi we need a Mau Mau. In Alabama we need a Mau Mau. In Georgia we need
a Mau Mau. Right here in Harlem, in New York City, we need a Mau Mau.
Malcolm X Speaks, pp.105-106