On April 12, 1964 – just about one month after splitting with the Nation Of Islam, Malcolm X appeared at King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan where he delivered his famous speech “Ballot or the Bullet.” Although he’d given the address nine days earlier in Cleveland, the Detroit version is regarded by some scholars as definitive.

In his April 12, 1964 speech, Malcolm laid out how African Americans should fight for civil-rights in America, emphasizing the importance of voting as a solution to ending discrimination against Blacks and addressed the denial of legitimate voting rights to Blacks and poor voting decisions.

“The Ballot or the Bullet” became one of Malcolm X’s most recognizable phrases, and the speech was one of his greatest orations. Since it was delivered within the context of the presidential campaign of 1964, Malcolm declared it “the year of the ballot or the bullet.” The audience of two thousand, included some of his opponents from the Nation Of Islam.