Malcolm X

“I’ve seen black musicians when they’d be jamming at a jam session with white musicians—a whole lot of difference. The white musician can jam on something that he’s heard before. If he’s heard it, then he can duplicate it or he can imitate it or he can read it.

But the black musician, he picks up his horn and starts blowing some sounds that he never thought of before. He improvises, he creates, it comes from within. It’s his soul, it’s that soul music. It’s the only area on the American scene where the black man has been free to create. And he has mastered it. He has shown that he can come up with something that nobody ever thought of on his own before.

Well, likewise he can do the same thing if given intellectual independence. He can come up with a new philosophy. He can come up with a philosophy that nobody has heard of yet. He can invent a society, a social system, an economic system, a political system, that is different from anything that exists or has ever existed anywhere on this earth. He will improvise; he’ll bring it from within himself. And this is what you and I want.”

Malcolm X, Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (1964)