Malcolm X
Civil rights activist Malcolm X talks to two teachers during a visit, Dec. 2, 1964. Getty Images/Hulton Archive/Keystone

Civil rights activist Malcolm X — born Malcolm Little — was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965, in New York City. He was known for his military approach to address civil rights issues and inequality for blacks in the U.S. in the 1950s and the 1960s.

Malcolm X was 39 years old when he was shot dead by three men from the Nation of Islam while he was delivering a speech at the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem.

Initially, Malcolm X gained notoriety for the African-American civil rights movement led by the nonviolent, integrationist leader, Martin Luther King Jr. However, as he gained popularity, his way of militant approach began to subside.

Following are some of the top quotes by Malcolm X:

“We are nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us.”

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”

“Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.”

“If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.”

“A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.”

“Without education, you’re not going anywhere in this world.”

“You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being.”

“I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.”

“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”

“The Negro revolution is controlled by foxy white liberals, by the Government itself. But the Black Revolution is controlled only by God.”

“The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities - he is only reacting to 400 years of the conscious racism of the American whites.”

“America preaches integration and practices segregation.”

“I just don’t believe that when people are being unjustly oppressed that they should let someone else set rules for them by which they can come out from under that oppression.”

“For me, my ‘X’ replaced the white slave master name of 'Little' which some blue-eyed devil named Little had imposed on my parental forebears.”

“To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace.”

“My father didn’t know his real name. My father got his name from his grandfather and he got his name from his grandfather and he got it from the slave master.”

“You have to realize that up until about 1959, Africa was dominated by the colonial powers. And by the colonial powers of Europe having complete control over Africa, they projected Africa always in a negative light - jungles, savages, cannibals, nothing civilized.”

“I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he's wrong. Than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil.”

“If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.”

“I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.”