"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"MALCOLM X"

Screenplay by

Arnold Perl, Spike Lee

and

James Baldwin (uncredited)

Based on the book

"The Autobiography of Malcolm X"

by

Malcolm X and Alex Haley

Fourth Draft

1991



FADE IN:

EXT. ROXBURY STREET - THE WAR YEARS - DAY

It is a bright sunny day on a crowded street on the black
side of Boston. PEOPLE and KIDS are busy with their own
things.

SHORTY bops his way down the street. He is a runty, very
dark young man of 21 with a mission and a smile on his face.
He wears the flamboyant style of the time: the whole zoot-
suit, pegged legs and a wide brim hat with a white feather
stuck in the hat band.

EXT. STREET - DAY

FOLLOW SHOT. Shorty dodges through the crowd with his
packages.

His smile is one of anticipation. He nods to a PAL without
stopping; eyes a COUPLE OF CHICKS dancing on the street, but
is not dissuaded.

INT. BARBER SHOP - DAY

Shorty has his jacket and hat off, his sleeves rolled up. He
is like a surgeon preparing for an operation. His equipment
is spread out on a table: can of lye, large mason jar, wooden
stirring spoon, knife, the eggs. His actions have the
character of a ritual: each thing being done just so, in
time-honored fashion.

He slices the potatoes and drops the thin slices into the
mason jar.

He adds water and makes a paste of the starch.

Behind Shorty is a spirited barbershop conversation. ONE MAN
is getting a haircut; TWO OTHERS are watching (TOOMER, JASON)
one of them from behind a newspaper. A middle-aged barber,
CHOLLY, is doing most of the talking.

CHOLLY
After I hit the number that woman
wasn't no good to me at all.

The men laugh.

ANGLE - Shorty pries open the can of lye, whiffs it. It's
good and strong. He pours some in the mason jar, stirring
with the wooden spoon. He cracks the eggs into the mixture
and stirs. He waits as fumes rise and feels the outside of
the jar as it gets hot.

ANOTHER ANGLE - The barbershop SEEN from a door, slightly
ajar. A woolly head, entirely in shadow, peers out.

CHOLLY'S VOICE
She says I'm cheap cuz I won't cop
her a diamond ring. Had the
indignation to call me a cheap black
sunovabitch to boot.

TOOMER
And when a black woman call you a
cheap black sunovabitch you've been
called a cheap black sunovabitch.

Cholly is annoyed. It's _his_ story.

CHOLLY
Will you let me tell it?

ON SHORTY - He opens the bulky package he has been carrying,
unfolds a large rubber apron and gets into it. Now he dons a
pair of rubber gloves.

SHORTY
Where's Homeboy?

He is all ready; one of his hands is filled with a huge glob
of Vaseline. His manner is indignant as if he were asking
the whereabouts of an exasperating child.

CHOLLY
Red's in the head, man.

TOOMER
You mean hiding in the head.

CHOLLY
Hey, Red. Your man's here and waiting
on you.

His hands full, Cholly opens the door with his feet and
MALCOLM comes out, a big, gawky, bright-faced country boy,
wearing downhome clothes and an expression of apprehension.

TOOMER
Gonna get that first conk laid on,
hunh, Homeboy?

CHOLLY
Man, don't scare him more than he's
scared already. Ain't too bad...

Malcolm allows himself to be led to an empty chair, where
Cholly drapes him with a double sheet, tucking it tightly
around his neck and adding a protective collar of paper.

CHOLLY
...Like anything else. First time a
chick gets her cherry popped, she
might put up a little fight. But
pretty soon you can't give her enough.
Right, Homeboy?

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Malcolm gulps, his eyes on the fuming mason jar.

Shorty starts massaging a great quantity of Vaseline into
Malcolm's scalp, covering his neck and ears as well. All the
men have gathered around, involved in the ritual. For Malcolm
it is closer to being a kind of execution.

CHOLLY
Git his forehead and eyebrows.

SHORTY
I know what I'm doing.

Shorty applies the Vaseline to that area. Now he brings
over the steaming jar and places it nearby.

SHORTY (CONTD)
Listen. You pull my coat if it's
still stinging when I get through
'cause this shit can burn a hole
through cement.

CHOLLY
Hold tight, baby, and keep your eyes
shut.

Malcolm nods his head, clenches his eyes and grits his teeth.
Shorty applies the congolene with a comb, working it into
Malcolm's hair.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
I thought you said it was gonna
sting... this ain't nothin'.

For a moment nothing happens, then the heat hits him. He
yells, tries to catch his breath: his head is on fire.

MALCOLM (CONTD)
You motherfucker. You're killing
me. I'm burning up. My damn head is
on fire.

He nearly leaps out of the chair, but the barber restrains
him.

Shorty, utterly unmoved by the outburst, continues working
the congolene into his hair.

Malcolm breaks out of the chair wildly. But the three men
drag him to a basin where Shorty has attached the shower
spray. His cries filling the room, Malcolm is ducked under
the spray. Shorty starts rinsing out his hair.

SHORTY
Don't fight me, man. Let me git it
out.

Malcolm is a little relieved, he tentatively opens his eyes,
then he feels the congolene again and there is another
outburst. Shorty forces his head under the spray, spurts the
water all over his head, wetting Malcolm and the shop in the
process.

INT. CLOTHING STORE - DAY

SHORTY
Well, Homeboy, you almost there.
Turn around.

Shorty is supervising as Malcolm tries on a zoot suit. He
slips into the jacket...

Shoes-off, Malcolm steps into the tight-fltting peg-legged
pants... dons a wide-brimmed hat with a bright blue feather...
Finally, fully outfitted, he leans forward toward his new
image in the full-length mirror, twirling a long, dangling
key chain.

SHORTY
Well, all right, then.

MALCOLM
Well, all reet, then.

The transformation is complete. The two laugh and slap hands.

EXT. ROXBURY STREET - DAY

Malcolm and Shorty come strutting down the street: two conked,
zoot-suited sharpies. Hometown boy has departed. And the
CHICKS on the street notice them, especially Malcolm, the
taller of the two, the lighter-skinned, the more dominant.
They walk imperiously past, fully aware of their impact.

CLOSE SHOT - MALCOLM

FREEZE FRAME. He becomes a STILL.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
When my mother was pregnant with me,
she told me later, a party of Klansmen
on horseback surrounded our house in
Omaha.

ANGLE. KLAN on horses in front of house.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
They brandished guns and shouted for
my father to come out. My mother
went to the door where they could
see her pregnant condition...

ANGLE. A pregnant Louise Little on porch.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
...and told them my father was in
Milwaukee, preaching.

ANGLE. The Klan breaks all the windows in the house then
rides off into the glorious D.W. Griffith _Birth of a Nation_
moonlit night.

CLOSE - LOUISE LITTLE

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
The hooded Klansman said the good,
white Christians would not stand for
his troublemaking, and to get out of
town.

ANGLE. The terrified Little children look out a broken window
at their mother.

ANGLE. AN OLD FRAME HOUSE IN OMAHA

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
They broke every window with their
rifle butts before riding off into
the night, their torches flaming.

ANGLE. FRONT PORCH OF THE LITTLE HOUSE - AN EMPTY ROCKER ON
IT.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
My father was not a frightened Negro
as most were then and as many still
are today. He was six feet four and
very black...

CLOSE - EARL LITTLE

He looks directly into the camera, wearing a Baptist
Minister's robe.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
...and had a glass eye. He believed,
as did Marcus Garvey, that freedom,
independence and self-respect could
never be achieved by the Negro in
America...

CLOSE - EARL LITTLE

He wears a Garvey hat, ornate with gold braid.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
...that, therefore, black men should
leave America and return to the land
of their origin.

ANGLE. Earl Little, in a wagon with little Malcolm.

CLOSE - EARL LITTLE:

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
My father dedicated his life to his
beliefs because he had seen four of
his six brothers die violently...

WIDER ANGLE. WE SEE Earl in front of a podium in church. He
is preaching.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
...three killed by white men and one
lynched.

There are nine children in our family.

ANGLE. The nine Little children.

CLOSE - LOUISE LITTLE

She is a pretty, mature woman and white-looking.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
My mother was an attractive woman,
an educated woman, a strong woman.

CLOSE - LOUISE AND EARL

A posed wedding picture, serious but sweet.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
She was very light, her mama was
raped by a white man. One of the
reasons she married my father was
because he was so black, she disliked
her complexion and wanted her children
to have some color.

CLOSE SHOT

Flash bulb of camera flashes.

INT. ROSELAND STATE BALLROOM - NIGHT

CLOSE - MALCOLM AND SHORTY

They both were posed for a picture. The music "FLYING HOME"
is blaring as LIONEL HAMPTON and his band is killing. The
music is WILD, the dancing is frantic, the clothes are OUT,
and the crowd is predominately BLACK, although there is a
peppering of WHITES, especially white chicks.

And Malcolm is a little bug-eyed as he nudges Shorty, watching
mixed couples on the floor.

A BOY in extreme zoot-suit flips him; a WHITE GIRL in long
blond hair wigs him. Malcolm is a little open-mouthed.

A VOICE
SHOWTIME, SHOWTIME!

ANGLE - THE BALLROOM - NIGHT

People start moving off the floor, making room for the
dancers. The music begins to get faster and more furious.

CLOSE - HAMPTON'S BAND - NIGHT

It is a fast Lindy. People start clapping to the beat as
they form a U around the DANCERS, with the band at the open
end.

INT. THE DANCE FLOOR

TWO COUPLES are on the floor, dancing wildly. They are quickly
joined by a half dozen OTHERS. These are the best dancers
and constitute the main event of a Saturday night black dance.
People crowd and push to get better vantage points and the
competition is under way.

ANGLE ON THE CROWD

It is dominantly black, but there are some whites in the
audience, mostly women. One is SOPHIA, a spectacular blonde
with a degree of refinement, something of a thrill-seeker.
Many of the men try to catch her eye, but for the moment
Sophia is just watching, looking for no one in particular,
but nonetheless looking.

ANGLE: - COUPLE ON THE DANCE FLOOR

Getting ready to enter the fray, the GIRL takes off her shoes
and bounces out on the floor barefoot with her partner. Their
advent is greeted with cheers and ad libs. Clearly the crowd
has its favorites.

WIDER SHOT

The music gets faster and the dancing takes on a more frantic
and more remarkable quality.

FOLLOW SHOT - MALCOLM

He is looking for his partner, the girl he brought and now
he sees her.

He makes his way through the watching audience.

CLOSE - LAURA

She is a fine chick, cool and beautiful. She smiles as she
sees Malcolm approaching.

TWO-SHOT. Laura and Malcolm stand together, delighted to be
with one another, starting to move to the music, as they
watch the dancers.

MALCOLM
Come on, baby, let's show 'em how.

Laura smiles shyly; she's willing.

MALCOLM
You better get out of them shoes,
girl.

Laura laughs, goes quickly to a bench and changes into a
pair of sneakers.

INT. THE DANCE FLOOR

Because of the competition, Laura and Malcolm begin at high
speed. In a moment they are executing the most intricate
steps of the "flapping eagle" and the "kangaroo." Malcolm
starts boosting her over and around his hips, then boosting
her over his shoulders. Laura is the perfect partner. She
loves it.

ANGLE WITH THE CROWD

So does the crowd, who loves new stars. There are ad lib
remarks: "Go, man, go." "Hey, Red." "Mmmmmm ummm."

ANGLE - SHORTY

A big, fat, hefty BLACK WOMAN takes Shorty out to the dance
floor, and she takes the lead. As they do the Lindy she is
slinging Shorty around like a rag doll. This woman slides
him through her legs and Shorty has had enough, he runs off
the dance floor, and hides.

TWO-SHOT. Laura and Malcolm are, in the phrase, cooking on
all burners now; and when they execute an especially intricate
step, even Hamp waves over.

Malcolm is sweating and flushed and enormously elated. He
sees that people are watching him, goading him on. He notices
that Sophia, in particular, has not taken her eyes off him;
she is clapping in time to his steps.

Seeing new stars in the making, the other dancers move to
the side of the floor, marking time, yielding the dance floor
to them. Laura and Malcolm go into a solo.

ANGLES

The crowd loves it. Malcolm and Sophia are very aware of
each other.

The finale is the classic drag, with Laura hanging limp around
Malcolm's neck as he capers off the dance floor to the
spontaneous applause of the audience.

CLOSE SHOT - SOPHIA (SLO-MO)

Clapping enthusiastically -- in open admiration.

CLOSE SHOT - SHORTY

Waiting to catch them as they come off. Shorty is whistling
and shaking his hand appreciatively. He is also looking out
for his dance partner.

SHORTY
Hey, man, gimme some skin.

MALCOLM
Shorty, this is Laura.

Laura is flushed and out of breath and joyous.

LAURA
'Lo. I've got to freshen up.

MALCOLM
Now you come back.

Laura laughs as she goes. She surely will be back.

SHORTY
That's a fine chick.

MALCOLM
Fine as May wine.

SHORTY
Except she live on the hill and got
a grandma.

MALCOLM
Make it too easy and it ain't no
fun.

Then his vision catches Sophia, who is approaching him. She
makes a simple, direct gesture, "Want to dance?" Malcolm
eyes Shorty and wordlessly glides into Sophia's arms.

ANGLE - THE DANCE FLOOR

Immediately from the glances of the other men at the dance,
he is the cynosure of all eyes. He has new status. It's a
heady feeling because she is the first white girl he has
ever been with socially who is not an obvious whore. He begins
to show off a little, cuts a few fine steps.

TWO-SHOT. They are dancing closer than before. Sophia begins
to rock his black world.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Trying to play it cool -- but he is beginning to pant. Not
from the dancing, but from the situation: a gorgeous white
chick asking for it.

SOPHIA
Why don't you take your little girl
home, Red, and come on back?

He stops in his tracks. He can't believe it.

SOPHIA
Just walk. Don't run. It'll be here
when you get back.

He can only grin.

EXT. LAURA'S HOUSE - ROXBURY - NIGHT

The porch of a respectable house. Malcolm with Laura; he
anxious to get away.

MALCOLM
I better not come in.

LAURA
I ain't stupid.

MALCOLM
I mean it's late, baby.

LAURA
I know where you're going.

MALCOLM
I'm going to bed. I gotta work
tomorrow, need my rest.

Laura walks to the door.

MALCOLM
Baby, I'll call you tomorrow.

LAURA
What for? I ain't white and I don't
put out.

The front door opens, it's Laura's grandmother, MRS. JOHNSON.

MALCOLM
'Night, Mrs. Johnson.

He runs down the porch steps.

INT. SOPHIA'S CAR - NIGHT

The lone light emits from the car radio which plays The
Inkspots' "IF I DIDN'T CARE."

ANGLE - SOPHIA

Sophia pulls her tight sweater over her head to expose two
full ripe white breasts. Malcolm's eyes are popping out of
his head. NOTE: It's very unusual for women not to wear a
bra back in that day but you might say Sophia was way ahead
of her time.

SOPHIA
Malcolm, look at them. Have you ever
seen white breasts like these?

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He shakes his head.

SOPHIA
Put your black hands on them.

He is paralyzed.

SOPHIA
Please do as I say.

Malcolm mumbles something. He then kisses Sophia as if his
black life depended on it and he commences to kill it.

SOPHIA
Hey, baby.

She stops him for a moment, but he buries his head in her
long neck.

SOPHIA
Am I the first white woman you've
been with?

She already knows the answer. He laughs.

MALCOLM
Sheeet, you ain't. I had aplenty.

SOPHIA
...That isn't a whore?

Knowing she's right, Sophia becomes the aggressor.

A beat -- both panting -- then Malcolm stops abruptly. He
raises his hand to his face, then to Sophia's hand which is
still caressing him.

SOPHIA
That's alright. Baby, take your time.
Sophia's not going anywhere. I told
you to walk, don't run.

MALCOLM
Shhhh! I don't like women that talk.

CLOSE - SOPHIA

She shrugs, then moves to embrace him.

SOPHIA
Who wants to talk?

The couple starts at it again.

INT. MOVIE THEATRE - DAY

On the screen, Bogart and Cagney are blasting away the dirty,
flat-footed coppers with machine guns. It's one of those
great Warner Brothers gangster B movies, maybe The Roaring
Twenties.

ANGLE - MALCOLM AND SHORTY

Malcolm and Shorty sit, transfixed in their seats.

MALCOLM
Don't you know, you can't hump the
Bogart.

SHORTY
Eat lead, coppers.

EXT. BOSTON COMMONS - DAY

A bright, sunny day, long shadows in the park. The Commons
is almost empty. Two improbable zoot-suited blacks race past
trees, and run over the grass. Malcolm and Shorty are playing
Cops and Robbers while PASSERSBY stare.

SHORTY
Bang, bang. You're dead.

MALCOLM
Naw, you missed me, copper. Try this
on for size.

Malcolm fires an imaginary tommy machine gun at Shorty.

SHORTY
I forgot to tell you I'm wearing a
bulletproof vest.

MALCOLM
The hell you are.

SHORTY
I'm tired of always playing the cops.
I wanna be Bogart sometimes.

MALCOLM
You're too small to be Bogart.

SHORTY
I'm not too short to be Cagney.

Shorty shoots Malcolm from behind.

SHORTY
Pow. Take that.

Malcolm acts as if he's been hit.

MALCOLM
Ahhh! You got me, you dirty, filthy,
rotten, stinking copper, only a low-
down yellow rat bastard would shoot
a man in the back.

Malcolm starts to stagger, this is a long drawn out Hollywood
drawn-out death a la Cagney death in Public Enemy.

LOW ANGLE - MALCOLM

Malcolm falls directly into the camera, face first, and Shorty
stands over him.

SHORTY
He use to be a big shot.

EXT. THE TROLLEY TRACKS - NIGHT (REMEMBERED TIME)

MATCH CUT

CLOSE EARL LITTLE

Earl Little's face is in the same exact position as Malcolm's
from the previous scene. His mouth opens in terror as the
moving trolley comes closer and closer to the black man lying
on the tracks.

INT. A HEARING ROOM - DAY

A room, clinically empty; table, chair, and MR. HOLWAY. He
is putting papers into his briefcase; the hearing is
concluded.

LOUISE
What you mean took his own life?!

HOLWAY
I'm sorry, ma'am. You heard the
verdict. A man bash in the back of
his head with a hammer, lay down on
the tracks and kill himself! We merely
act on the verdict. We don't make
them.

He is nearly out the door.

LOUISE
Do you pay or don't you?

HOLWAY
Read the policy, ma'am. It clearly
states.

INT. SOPHIA'S APARTMENT - MORNING

Malcolm lies in bed, naked under the sheet. A half-empty
whiskey bottle and an ashtray full of butts are on the night
table: last night's partying.

SOPHIA
You like 'em scrambled soft or hard,
sweetie?

MALCOLM
C'mere.

WIDEN TO SHOW SOPHIA at the stove fixing eggs. She wears an
apron and nothing else. It's a nicely furnished middle-class
apartment.

SOPHIA
Sweetie, they're almost ready.

MALCOLM
You hear me, girl?

She shrugs, shuts off the burner, smiles and ambles toward
him.

SOPHIA
You the man.

MALCOLM
You better believe it.

She starts to sit down on the bed next to him.

MALCOLM
Sit over there.

He points to a nearby chair. Sophia makes an amiable hand-
shrug and complacently goes.

SOPHIA
You evil this morning.

MALCOLM
What's your story, baby?

He doesn't want to hear her; he wants to talk. He goes right
on:

MALCOLM
You one of them white bitches can't
get enough black dick. Is that what
you are?

Sophia smiles. She aims to please. Malcolm smacks the bed
next to him.

She gets up and comes over.

MALCOLM
Take it off.

She takes off the apron.

MALCOLM
Now kiss my feet. Kiss 'em!

CLOSE - SOPHIA

As Sophia bends to do so.

MALCOLM
Feed me.

ANGLE. Sophia now has the scrambled eggs on a plate at
Malcolm's side.

She spoons some into his mouth. He chews and swallows slowly,
then grabs her head and brings it to his. A long, brutal
kiss. Then he pulls her head away by the hair. She looks at
him: anything he wants.

MALCOLM
Yeah, girl; that's your story. When
you gonna holler "rape," sister?

SOPHIA
Me?

MALCOLM
You will, baby -- if the time come.

SOPHIA
Lemme feed you, sweetie, while they
hot.

Malcolm lays back on the pillow and she holds out the eggs
to him.

MALCOLM
Sure wish your mama and papa could
see you now. And that ofay you gonna
marry.

EXT. A BEACH - BRIGHT SUNLIGHT - DAY

Malcolm and Laura are on a deserted Cape beach. They are
dressed but have their shoes and socks off, and he has his
trousers rolled up. They walk, like birds, avoiding getting
their feet wet as the waves roll in.

LAURA
Malcolm, you can be anything you
want. You got class and you're smart.

MALCOLM
All them books you read and you still
don't know nuthin.

LAURA
I do know I love you.

Laura stops him and moves to him. Her kiss is a tender one,
exploratory.

Then Malcolm responds, embracing her fully. Her arms go around
him as they both drop into the sand.

CLOSE - MALCOLM AND LAURA

LAURA
Oh, Malcolm, I love you. Please,
there's no one around. Now?

Malcolm turns his head from her, he gets up.

MALCOLM
Let's go.

LAURA
Why? Is it because of your white
gal? Folks say you're running around
town with her.

MALCOLM
Save it, baby. Save it for Mr. Right,
'cause your grandma's smarter than
ya think.

She looks at him.

LAURA
She raised me, my mother died when I
was six.

Is your mother alive?

MALCOLM
Yeah, she's alive.

INT. DRUGSTORE - EVENING

Laura is eating a banana split. Malcolm is smoking and
drinking coffee.

MALCOLM
You know how dumb I was? I used to
think that "Not For Sale" was a brand
name.

Laura looks over. She doesn't understand.

INT. LITTLE KITCHEN - DAY

Louise's hand reaches for a small sack of flour stamped "Not
For Sale."

She brings it down on the table with a hard, controlled whap.

MISS DUNNE'S VOICE
I did knock.

Louise doesn't look up.

LOUISE
Did you hear me say come in?

WIDEN TO SHOW Louise with a WHITE SOCIAL WORKER, MISS DUNNE
complete with pad, pencil and goodwill. Huddled out of sight,
but nonetheless visible, are five small BLACK CHILDREN.

MISS DUNNE
There's no point in fighting about
it. I'm sorry. May I sit down?

Louise is very aware of the children and struggling for self-
possession.

LOUISE
As you nice enough to ask, we'll git
you one.

One of the children brings over a chair. Miss Dunne sets out
her papers.

MISS DUNNE
It's the same questions, Mrs. Little.
Since the death of your husband --

LOUISE
Murder.

MISS DUNNE
-- there is a serious question as to
whether --

LOUISE
These are my children. Mine. And
they ain't no question. None.

MISS DUNNE
I think sometimes, Mrs. Little, candor
is the only kindness.

PAN THE CHILDREN'S FACES

MISS DUNNE
All of your children are delinquent,
Mrs. Little, and one, at least,
Malcolm is a thief.

LOUISE
Get out.

MISS DUNNE
(still sitting)
Your control over your children,
therefore --

LOUISE
Did you hear me?!

MISS DUNNE
You'll regret this, Mrs. Little.

LOUISE
If you don't move out through that
door, you're going to be past all
regretting.

The terror-stricken children huddle together.

FREEZE FRAME. It becomes a still.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
We were parceled out, all five of
us. I went to this reform school and
lived at this woman's house. She was
in charge.

A SMALL CLEAN ROOM WITH A COT, A CHAIR AND A BUREAU.

MRS. SWERLIN
(motherly, friendly)
This is your room, Malcolm. I know
you'll keep it clean.

A DINING ROOM TABLE. FIVE WHITE BOYS AROUND IT.

MRS. SWERLIN
This is Malcolm, our new guest. We'll
treat him like a brother.

A CLASSROOM.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
I was special. The only colored kid
in class. I became a sort of mascot.
Like a pink poodle.

KIDS PLAYING IN THE SCHOOL YARD.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
I didn't know then that I was a
nigger.

MALCOLM PLAYING BASKETBALL.

MALCOLM SPEAKING BEFORE HIS CLASS.

MALCOLM DOING HOMEWORK.

A HORSE HAVING ITS TEETH EXAMINED.

MRS. SWERLIN
He's bright.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
They talked about me like

MRS. SWERLIN
Good grades. Fine
athlete. President of
his class.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
I wasn't there. Like I was
some kind of pedigreed dog
or a horse. Like I was
invisible.

INT. OSTROWSKI'S CLASSROOM - DAY

OSTROWSKI is talking to Malcolm, it's after school, the
classroom is empty.

OSTROWSKI
The important thing is to be
realistic. We all like you. You know
that. But you're a nigger and a lawyer
is no realistic goal for a nigger...

MALCOLM
But why, Mr. Ostrowski? I get the
best grades. I'm the class president.
I want to be a lawyer.

INT. THE DRUGSTORE - P.M.

Laura and Malcolm. Neither is talking. She is simply watching
him as he sips his coffee and puffs on a cigarette.

INT. OSTROWSKI'S CLASSROOM - DAY

OSTROWSKI
...Think about something you can be.
You're good with your hands. People
would give you work. I would myself.
Why don't you become a carpenter?
That's a good profession for a nigra.
Wasn't your pa a carpenter?

Malcolm is silent.

OSTROWSKI
Jesus was a carpenter.

INT. THE DRUGSTORE - P.M.

CLOSE - LAURA

LAURA
It's not the end of the world,
Malcolm.

EXT. A SIGN - BLINDING SUNLIGHT - DAY

It reads "KALAMAZOO STATE HOSPITAL FOR THE MENTALLY INSANE"

INT. A ROOM IN THE HOSPITAL - DAY

The room is totally white and Louise sits in a white smock
at a window in a rocking chair.

CLOSE LOUISE

As she rocks.

LOUISE
I said it just as plain, I said,
don't let them feed that boy no pig,
because he got enough of the devil
in him already. I told her she ain't
got no reason talk to me that way
cuz' my hair blow in the wind. You
want my skin. All right, I'll give
it to you. I'll scrape it off. See
how you like it.

ANGLE - Louise starts to sing a Negro spiritual.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He has been standing there in deep pain all along.

THE SOUND OF A SPEEDING TRAIN IS HEARD.

EXT. THE YANKEE CLIPPER - DAY

The crack train of the New York, New Haven & Hartford speeds
through the New England countryside.

INT. GALLEY OF TRAIN - NIGHT

THREE ELDERLY BLACK WAITERS and Malcolm wearing a
sandwichman's uniform are crowded around a portable radio in
the galley where food is prepared. The four stand around
TULLY, a bland-faced personification of fine Pullman service.
They are all listening to the JOE LOUIS-BILLY CONN heavyweight
championship fight.

TULLY
Nigger, shut up so we can hear.

MALCOLM
C'mon, Joe.

WAITER #1
Turn it up, Tully.

TULLY
It is up. Fool be quiet.

WAITER #2
Tully, move the antenna...

Tully turns some knobs.

WAITER #3
This Mick is tough.

TULLY
Joe is just playing possum. He's
waiting for an opening.

The waiters are acting as if they are at ringside.

RADIO ANNOUNCER
A left jab to the jaw and a right
cross, scored by Louis and Conn is
hurt, as Louis rips a right to the
jaw. Conn is staggering, but he won't
go down. Conn bops a left hook, he's
reeling around the ring. Louis hooks
a left and a right to the jaw and
Conn is down.

The waiters are going crazy.

RADIO ANNOUNCER
He's taking the count, four, five,
six, seven, he's on his back, eight,
nine, he's getting up, no! The referee
says it's over. The bout has stopped.

The waiters are all jumping up and down when the galley door
opens. MR.

COOPER, the white man in charge of the kitchen, pops his
head in.

COOPER
What in hell's going on?

In a moment's notice Tully and the others have resumed their
customary servient roles.

TULLY
Nothing, Mr. Cooper.

COOPER
Got a lot of hungry customers out
there.

TULLY
Yes sir, Mr. Cooper, soup done
finished.

MALCOLM
On my way, Mr. Charlie.

Cooper eyes him narrowly.

COOPER
The name is Mr. Cooper and don't you
forget it. Mr. Cooper.

RADIO ANNOUNCER
The winner and still champion, Joe
Louis, but what a fight Billy Conn
gave.

INT. A PASSENGER TRAIN - DAY

As Malcolm hefts his sandwich basket and a large container
of coffee down the aisle, hawking as he goes.

MALCOLM
Get your good haaaam and cheeeeese
sandwiches. I got coffee, I got cake
and I got ice cream too. Right chere.

ANGLE FAVORING A WHITE CUSTOMER, BLADES.

BLADES
Hey, boy. Gimme a cheese on white
and coffee.

Malcolm's mood is exuberant: the fight is still in his ears.
He makes the delivery with a flourish and a smile.

MALCOLM
Yes, sir. Best in the house.

BLADES
You mighty pleased with yourself,
boy.

MALCOLM
Yes, sir. I aims to please.

BLADES
I like you, boy.

INSERT - FANTASY PROJECTION. Malcolm picks up a slab of cream
pie and pushes it in Blades' face.

BACK TO THE PASSENGER CAR

Normality again: Malcolm finishes serving him with complete
servility.

He pulls out a bill.

BLADES
Keep the change.

And takes a satisfying bite out of his thin sandwich.

EXT. THE RAILROAD TRACKS IN HARLEM - P.M.

As the Clipper surfaces in Harlem, pulls up to the 125th
Street station.

EXT. 125TH STREET STATION - P.M.

Malcolm, out of uniform and dressed in his zoot suit, comes
down from the Park Avenue station in Harlem. He is hit with
the sights and sounds.

Everything delights him: the noise, the lights, the women,
the pimps, the signs, the windows, the crowds, the laughter,
the music.

ANGLE - CROWD

A CROWD OF PEOPLE run by Malcolm yelling and screaming.

CROWD
The Brown Bomber, The Brown Bomber,
Joe Louis, the heavyweight champion
of the world. Joe got the belt back.
Lawd have mercy. Great day in the
morning.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He runs after them.

EXT. 125TH AND LENOX AVENUE

All traffic has stopped, there is a huge spontaneous
celebration going on. Black folks are everywhere, it seems
as if all of Harlem is out on the streets. The citizens of
Harlem are hugging, kissing, drinking, dancing, folks are
hanging from street lamps, yelling out their windows, holding
up hand-made JOE LOUIS banners, everyone has great reason to
be joyous. The heavyweight champion of the world is a BLACK
MAN -- JOE LOUIS, THE BROWN BOMBER, he has regained his
championship.

CLOSE: - MALCOLM

Malcolm quickly looks at his watch, he's running late for
his train, as he fights his way through the crowd like a
salmon going upstream, the CAMERA CRANES up to see him
eventually get lost in a sea of BLACK HUMANITY "cutting
loose."

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

EXT. SEVENTH AVENUE - NIGHT

Malcolm, newly conked and sharp as a tack (zoot suit, trouser
crease like a knife's edge, orange knob-toed shoes) walks
toward his goal:

Small's Paradise.

The street is crowded with PEOPLE, KIDS and HUSTLERS.

YOUNG HOOKER
Slow down, daddy, what's your hurry?
Lemme show you somepin brand new.

Malcolm smiles "No thanks" keeps moving.

HUSTLER
Hey, man, hundred-dollar ring --
diamond; and a ninety dollar watch.
Take the both of them for a quarter;
twenty-five bucks.

Malcolm waves; he's not having any. Goes on.

EXT. SMALL'S PARADISE - NIGHT

Before entering, Malcolm sharps himself a bit, picking off
some lint, cocking his hat. And enters.

INT. SMALL'S PARADISE - NIGHT

The restaurant is crowded, both at the bar and at the tables
beyond.

The immediate impression is of subdued well-being, of decorum,
of easy affluence. This is the world Malcolm wants into. He
digs it, drinking in its details.

ANGLE - BAR

A big man, FOX, accidentally bumps into Malcolm almost
knocking over.

MALCOLM
The word is excuse me.

FOX
Look, country boy, you shouldn't
have been in my way.

Everyone becomes quiet in the bar.

FOX
So what are you gonna do? Go run
home to your Mama.

Malcolm grabs a bottle off the bar counter and with lightning
speed brings it crashing down on Fox's head. As he lays on
the floor with head bleeding, Malcolm kicks him in the stomach
two times. It's done, the fight is over and people pull him
off of Fox.

MALCOLM
Don't ever again in life step on my
Florsheims again, and never talk-
bout my mother.

ANGLE WITH MALCOLM AND THE BARTENDER

MALCOLM
Gimme a whiskey.

BARTENDER pours him a double.

MALCOLM
I ordered a single, Jack.

BARTENDER
The double's on that gentleman. Jack!

He points.

ARCHIE AT THE TABLE - FROM MALCOLM'S POV

The elderly man nods. He is big, he is very black. The same
color as Malcolm's father.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He raises his glass, toasts Archie and downs it. Then leaning
into the bar, asks:

MALCOLM
Who is he, man?

BARTENDER
That's West Indian Archie.

MALCOLM
Whut's he do?

The bartender would not normally answer this, but Malcolm is
the man of the moment, so the bartender speaks:

BARTENDER
This and that.

Malcolm nods, then looks over again at Archie -- in
appreciation.

Archie wiggles a finger for him to come over.

AT ARCHIE'S TABLE

Malcolm is standing.

ARCHIE
Sit down. We ain't fixing to eat
you. You look brand new in town.
Pretty handy with a bottle.

MALCOLM
He had it coming.

Malcolm sits. There are no introductions. He just nods at
SAMMY and CADILLAC.

ARCHIE
What they call you?

MALCOLM
Red, and I ain't no punk.

ARCHIE
You better not be. Cause if a cat
toe you down in this town, you better
stand up or make tracks.

SAMMY
Man live by his rep.

ARCHIE
That's a fact. What you do, boy?

MALCOLM
I'm working trains. Selling.

ARCHIE
Bet you like that shit.

MALCOLM
Keeps me out of the army.

ARCHIE
When they want your ass, won't nothing
keep you out.

MALCOLM
Not this boy... I ain't fighting
their war. I got my own. Right chere.
Heard tell you're a good man to know.

ARCHIE
Heard where?

MALCOLM
Where I come from. Boston.

Sammy and Cadillac are watching a little skeptically. Archie
is flattered.

ARCHIE
Sombitch and I ain't never been to
Beantown.

MALCOLM
Man's rep travels.

ARCHIE
How 'bout that?

Then seeing Sammy and Cadillac's dubious visages, Archie
adds:

ARCHIE
You ain't bullshitting me, is you,
boy?

MALCOLM
My papa taught me one thing: don't
never bullshit a West Indian bullshit
artist.

Archie laughs. Even Sammy smiles. Cadillac still holds his
judgment.

ARCHIE
Is your papa West Indian?

MALCOLM
No, my mama. She's from Grenada.

ARCHIE
I like you, country.

SAMMY
Only where'd you get them goddam
vines.

CADILLAC
And them shoes. Oh, my.

ARCHIE
Yeah, got to do something about you.

SAMMY
You putting a hurtin' on my vision.

Sammy covers his eyes. Malcolm plays off the insults.

MALCOLM
Where can I get a hold of you?

ARCHIE
YOU can't. I'll get a hold of you.

MALCOLM
Lemme write it down for you.

Malcolm reaches for a pencil.

ARCHIE
Don't never write nothing down. File
it up here, like I do.
(touching his head)
'Cause if they can't find no paper
they ain't got no proof. Ya dig?

MALCOLM
Yes, sir.

Archie looks at him sharply.

ARCHIE
Boy, look me in the face.

Malcolm does so.

ARCHIE
Did you just now con me?

MALCOLM
Yes, sir.

ARCHIE
Why?

MALCOLM
'Cause I want in. And it don't take
a lot to know you there, daddy.

Archie and Sammy laugh at his directness. Cadillac smiles.
Archie pushes back his chair, about to get up.

ARCHIE
I got me a little run to make.

Malcolm has suddenly been excluded and he wants desperately
back in.

MALCOLM
Can I run with you, Mr. Archie?

Archie eyes him, weighing him seriously.

ARCHIE
I like your heart and I like your
style. You might just do, Little.
Lessen you got to git back to that
train job.

MALCOLM
I done told the man what he could do
with his train.

ARCHIE
When?

MALCOLM
Just now.

The three established hustlers smile at the newcomer in their
midst.

ARCHIE
Come on, baby. We going shopping...

INT. ARCHIE'S ROOM - NIGHT

Malcolm is looking at himself in a mirror in Archie's room.
He has on the full outfit now, together with a new white on
white shirt and a Sulka tie. Looks great.

ARCHIE
Just the middle button, baby. Just
the middle one.

Malcolm buttons the jacket and turns around, demonstrating
for Archie's inspection.

ARCHIE
You looking good, Little. Real clean.
Clean as the Board of Health. But
you missing something.

MALCOLM
What?

ARCHIE
Frisk me, baby. Give me a real pat
down.

Malcolm doesn't understand, but he senses something -- and
becomes excited. Archie has walked over to him.

ARCHIE
Go ahead. Do me.

Malcolm frisks him carefully: pats his sides, his pockets,
under his arms, his legs. Archie is clean to the touch.

ARCHIE
(triumphantly)
And I'm still carrying.

He smacks the small of his back. Then, reaching under his
coat, he takes a revolver out from the middle of his back.
And hands it to Malcolm.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Holding the deadly instrument, fascinated by it, hefting it,
feeling its power.

ARCHIE
It's yours, baby. Put it on.

Malcolm slips it carefully into the small of his back, behind
his trouser belt. His first gun: the feeling shines in his
eyes, Bogart has become a black man.

ARCHIE
How's it feel?

MALCOLM
Solid, daddy.

ARCHIE
Okay, baby. Now you outfitted. You
ready to tackle the street?

MALCOLM
Let 'em come. I'm ready.

INT/EXT. VARIOUS LOCATIONS - SERIES OF CLOSE SHOTS

A FIVE DOLLAR BILL. CAMERA GOES IN for the last three digits.

STOCK MARKET BOARD at the end of a day's trading. GO IN for
the last three numbers.

PREACHER in a pulpit, reading from the Bible.

PREACHER
Let us turn to the Gospel according
to St. John. Chapter 3, Verse 83.

A VOICE
3, 8, 3.

Malcolm scribbles the number onto a piece of paper.

A CASH REGISTER

Ringing up an amount: $2.98.

A VOICE
2, 9, 8.

Malcolm's hand writes out the number.

CLOSE - TRAIN TERMINAL SIGN

It reads "New York to Chicago." PAN DOWN TO SHOW "Train
arrives 1:05."

VOICE
1, 0, 5.

Archie with Malcolm as the latter writes down "1, 0, 5."

ARCHIE
I told you less paper, less trouble.

MALCOLM
I'm working on it.

ARCHIE
I keep all my numbers in my head.
I've never written any down.

He taps his head.

CLOSE - FACE OF AN ELDERLY WOMAN

ELDERLY WOMAN
I saw it in my dream. 5, 5, 5. And
last week my sister had a dream and
she hit.

CLOSE - FACE OF AN ELDERLY BARBER

BARBER
I got it from Ching Chow. It got to
be 2, 5, 1.

INT. MOVIE THEATRE - NIGHT

CLOSE - MALCOLM

WE ARE TIGHT ON Malcolm's intense face, he is pulling on a
fat joint.

We hear BOGART blasting his way out of a police blockade.

A phone rings.

INT. ARCHIE'S ROOM - NIGHT

There is music playing. Wordlessly, Archie sprinkles a few
grains of fine crystal onto a round shaving mirror. He slides
it across a table to Malcolm and hands him a short straw.
Sophia sits next to Malcolm; she and Archie are already high.
Malcolm leans over the mirror, placing the straw in his
nostril.

TIGHT CLOSE SHOT - MALCOLM'S FACE

In the mirror (something satanic about him) -- as he sniffs
the cocaine well into his nose.

A beat as he leans back waiting for the drug to take hold,
Malcolm looks into dressing mirror.

ARCHIE
It hit?

MALCOLM
Nnnnnnn!

Malcolm with gun in hand does his Bogart gangster imitation.

ARCHIE
Ain't nuthin' in the world to give
you that real deep cool. Like girl.
You there?

MALCOLM
I'm there, daddy. Wheww. I'm cool
enough to kill.

ARCHIE
Bet you are.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

FREEZE FRAME

SOPHIA'S VOICE
Malcolm, you're so funny.

She continues to laugh.

BACK TO REAL TIME.

MALCOLM
You got any money.

Before Sophia can answer he grabs her pocketbook, dumping
all the contents on the floor but the dough.

SOPHIA
Baby, I was gonna give it to you.

MALCOLM
Well, bitch you move too slow.

ARCHIE
Sometimes you got a big ugly mouth.

MALCOLM
Yeah, and I'm putting my money where
my ugly mouth is. I'm putting you
back in the numbers right now.
(to Sophia)
Baby, what's today?

Sophia is not sure of this, or anything else.

SOPHIA
August 2nd. I think. Yeah.

She laughs at her achievement.

MALCOLM
Daddy, put me down for a combination.
Combinate me, daddy: 8, 2, 1. You
got me? 8, 1, 2; 1, 8, 2...

With each number he throws a bill at Archie.

MALCOLM
1, 2, 8; 2, 8, 1. I git 'em all?

ARCHIE
(angrily taking the
money)
I'll take your goddam bet.

Malcolm slides his tongue down Sophia's throat.

EXT. SMALL'S PARADISE - NIGHT

A miserable night, raining and cold. Malcolm turns into the
bar.

INT. THE BAR - NIGHT

Shaking off the rain as Malcolm walks through. He is now a
familiar figure to the bar's DENIZENS. He is met with ad lib
cries: "Hey, Little," "Have a taste," from the men; and from
the women: "Come here, sugar," "Where you been?"

Malcolm acknowledges the greetings, strolls down in the bar.
It's immediately clear that a subtle change has come over
him. He is no longer the neophyte but a well-groomed, smooth,
fully polished hustler.

ANGLE - BOOTH

Malcolm sits into the booth and motions for the waitress.

ANGLE - HONEY

A fine copper tan waitress comes to him.

HONEY
I thought you said we were going to
the movies last night.

MALCOLM
I say a lot of things.

HONEY
And like a fool I believe it.

MALCOLM
Do your job, Get me a bourbon on the
rocks and a pack of Lucky's.

Honey stares at him.

MALCOLM
I said now.

She leaves. He leans his head back against the booth --

A FEMALE VOICE
Daniel come in yet, Honey?

Malcolm turns his head sharply at the sound of the voice.
It's familiar, a sound from the seemingly distant past. He
looks toward the bar and sees the women who asked the
question.

LAURA - MALCOLM'S POV

It's Laura, but not the Laura we last saw. She is still young,
still vulnerable, but she is bolder, more self-assured, more
vividly dressed.

She is unaware of Malcolm.

HONEY
Ain't that him now?

ANGLE FAVORING DANIEL. He is a young, cocky, nervous,
gingerbread colored boy who comes over to her quickly. He
goes to the corner of the bar and quickly grabs Laura's neck
and kisses her hungrily.

DANIEL
Hey, gorgeous, how you been? Waiting
long? Lemme see you. Wow!

It's obvious he's a junkie. And in need of a fix. QUICK!

SHOT - MALCOLM

Honey places his drink and cigarettes before him. He's
watching, taking it all in immediately. Laura is clearly
crazy about Daniel.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He looks, then belts down his drink.

CLOSER - LAURA AND DANIEL

Daniel motions to her pocketbook and she takes out a five-
dollar bill.

He grabs it, and bolts for the door.

WITH MALCOLM AND HONEY

She has been watching Malcolm.

HONEY
You know that gal?

MALCOLM
Mind your own goddamn business...
She comes in a lot?

HONEY
'Bout every other night, Red.

MALCOLM
With him?

Honey nods.

MALCOLM
She know?

HONEY
If she got eyes, she do.

ANGLE - LAURA

Walking toward the door, looking for Daniel. She leaves the
bar.

CLOSE - MALCOLM AND HONEY

MALCOLM
Is she hooking?

HONEY
Not yet. But the way things going,
that boy gonna turn her out any day.

Malcolm smacks the table in frustration.

HONEY
You stuck on her?

CLOSE - GLASS

Malcolm's glass on the table is trembling.

MALCOLM
Shut up, bitch.

He raises his arm to hit her and it is held back before it
can find its mark.

ARCHIE
Don't do that.

Archie is standing above him. Malcolm nods, and Archie lets
his arm go; standing next to him is Sophia.

ARCHIE
Honey, he didn't mean it.

Archie wiggles his fingers and Honey goes, but not before
throwing daggers at Malcolm and Sophia. Archie sits down,
takes out a cigar. For a good beat there is a coolness between
them. Then Malcolm reaches over and lights Archie's cigar.
Sophia stares at her man, he then motions for her to sit
down beside him.

ARCHIE
Thanks. You got it. Who's beating on
you, Red? You looking a little up
tight.

The father-son thing is back, but Malcolm will never again
be the student.

MALCOLM
Daddy, where's my money?

ARCHIE
What you talking?

MALCOLM
You owe me six big ones.

Archie looks at him, non-comprehending.

MALCOLM
1, 2, 8 hit, didn't it?

ARCHIE
You din't have no 1, 2, 8.

MALCOLM
Was you that high? Old man, I threw
the slats at you. I said to combinate
me.

ARCHIE
You never had it.

MALCOLM
The bitch was there.

Archie doesn't even look at Sophia.

ARCHIE
Shit, what else she gonna say?

MALCOLM
Then skip it, man. But you slipping,
baby. You done slipped.

Archie is controlling himself. Everyone in Small's is all
ears, a falling out between Malcolm and Archie -- their reps
are at stake.

ANGLE. Archie looks at Sammy. Sammy is neutral. Archie digs
in his pockets, comes up with a roll. He peels off six $100
bills and throws them on the table in front of himself, as
he gets up.

MALCOLM
Oh, sit down, man. What you tasting?
I'm buying.

ARCHIE
I ain't drinking hot piss with you.
Come on, Sam.

SAMMY
Be right there.

Archie goes.

SAMMY
Twenty-two years he didn't never
forget no number.

MALCOLM
Got to be a first time, daddy-o.

SAMMY
He gonna, check the collector he
turn into. His rep is on the line,
boy, and so's yours. If you lying,
one of you is dead.

MALCOLM
Ain't gonna be this mother.

Sammy goes.

MALCOLM
Come on, sweetlips, I got us some g-
i-r-l, girl. Let's you and me fly.

EXT. ONYX CLUB - NIGHT

The well-known 52nd Street nightspot features Billie Holiday.
A stand-up cutout of her is outside.

INT. ONYX CLUB - NIGHT

This is a plush nightclub, with a mixed black and white
AUDIENCE. Some of the hustlers from Small's are in evidence.

CLOSE - BILLIE

Lady Day starts into "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS."

ANGLE - TABLE

Malcolm and Sophia high as a kite and on the town.

CLOSE - ARCHIE

He makes his way toward Malcolm's table. There is murder in
his eyes.

ANGLE - TABLE

ARCHIE
You're a damn liar.

CLOSE - ARCHIE

ARCHIE
You _took_ me, you bastard, and now
I'm taking you.

ANGLE - TABLE

MALCOLM
It's me or you, ain't it, Pops?

ARCHIE
You know it.

MALCOLM
I'll give you back the 600.

ARCHIE
I don't want your money.

MALCOLM
I'm wearing, Archie.

ARCHIE
There's two guns on you.

His eyes gesture. Malcolm looks:

MALCOLM'S POV

Sammy at the nearby bar: his hand in his coat pocket.

CLOSE - ARCHIE

His hand is also in his pocket.

MALCOLM
And every cat's watching, ain't they?
It's a toe-down.

ARCHIE
That's what it is. Walk on out.

MALCOLM
Let Billie finish.

ARCHIE
Now.

Archie backs away from the table, his gun on Malcolm.

ANGLE. As Sammy moves a step toward Malcolm, Malcolm rises
in his seat.

SOPHIA
You had the number.

MALCOLM
Baby, I got to let this old man win.
Keep the faith, and tell Billie I'll
see her later.

CLOSE - BILLIE

She knows what's going on.

ANGLE - Sammy and Archie are walking behind Malcolm, when he
pushes a waitress into their path with drinks flying
everywhere, Malcolm darts away.

INT. ENTRANCE TO THE TOILET

He races into the men's room.

ANGLE. Archie and Sammy run after him.

INT. MEN'S ROOM - NIGHT

There is an open window. Archie is leaning out, looking both
ways.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE MEN'S ROOM WINDOW - NIGHT FROM ARCHIE'S POV

A tiny alleyway. No one is visible.

ARCHIE
The dirty yellow rat bastard.

INT. MENS ROOM - NIGHT

SAMMY
Don't push it. You way ahead. You
back on top. That boy loves you,
man.

ARCHIE
What you say?

SAMMY
He gave it to you, Archie. He did.

EXT. THE STREET - NIGHT

Malcolm comes running out of an alleyway and onto the street.
He stops to catch his breath, to regain his composure. He is
shook up, frustrated, but mostly saddened. He then runs down
the block and into a CLOSEUP.

INT. LITTLE HOUSE - LANSING MICHIGAN - NIGHT (REMEMBERED
TIME) - FINAL FLASHBACK

CLOSE - EARL

Earl is sitting up in bed, he wakes his sleeping wife Louise,
next to her is a baby in a crib, another child. Malcolm sleeps
between Earl and her.

ANGLE - HOUSE

Outside the house are 5 members of THE BLACK LEGION. They
are dressed in the style of the KKK, but in black sheets
rather than white. WE SEE gasoline cans being passed around.

EARL
Somebody out there. Wake the children.

Earl starts to put on his overalls and reaches for his gun
which sits on a nearby chair when an explosion of flames
greets the house.

EARL
Everybody out. OUT! OUT! Get the
kids.

ANGLE - CHILDREN'S BEDROOM

Flames roar through the room and the Little kids are
hysterical. Louise rushes in and pushes them past the fire,
she has infant in hand covered in a blanket.

CLOSE - EARL

EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT

The entire house is in flames. The Little family stands in
front of it, just out of harm's way.

ANGLE - BLACK LEGION

They sit on their horses watching the results of their work.

CLOSE - BLACK LEGION LEADER

BLACK LEGION LEADER
Boy, good thing we're good Christians.
Nigger, it's time for you to leave
this town.

CLOSE - EARL

EARL
This here is 'pose to be a free
country.

CLOSE - BLACK LEGION LEADER

BLACK LEGION LEADER
Rev, we warned you 'bout that Garvey
preaching, stirring up the good nigras
here. Boy, next time you're a dead
nigger.

CLOSE - EARL

EARL
I ain't a boy. I'm a man, and a real
man don't hide behind no bedsheets.

Earl takes his pistol out from behind his back and fires
above their heads.

EARL
Take these here bullets for dem
sheets.

ANGLE - BLACK LEGION

The bullets send the Black Legion flying into the glorious
D.W. Griffith moonlit night.

ANGLE - HOUSE

The burning house collapses behind the Little family.

ANGLE - EARL AND LOUISE

LOUISE
Earl, I know you a better shot than
that. You shoulda killed 'em all,
shot 'em dead.

EARL
Just wanted to scare 'em, they won't
be bothering us no more.

CLOSE - YOUNG MALCOLM

Young Malcolm stares at his father while the house still
burns behind him, no doubt drawing on the great courage
displayed by his father.

EARL
They won't be here no time soon. I'm
a MAN!

EXT. STREET - LANSING - NIGHT (REMEMBERED TIME)

It's raining cats and dogs and it's foggy. We hear a big
thud, then a grunt and Earl Little falls across the trolley
tracks, the sound of men running away is heard in the
distance.

ANGLE - A STREETCAR APPROACHES ANGLE - EARL ON TRACKS

He has been beaten to a bloody pulp.

ANGLE - CLOSER SHOT OF STREETCAR APPROACHING

CLOSE - EARL

He opens his one good eye.

CLOSE - STREETCAR MOTORMAN

He sees something ahead in the fog and rain.

ANGLE - MOTORMAN'S POV

CLOSE - HAND REACHES BRAKE LEVER CLOSE - STREETCAR WHEELS
STOPPING, SPARKS FLY

CLOSE - MOTORMAN

Winces and then makes the Sign of the Cross.

ANGLE - LONG SHOT OF PASSENGERS

Jumping out of the streetcar to attend to Earl.

PASSENGER'S VOICE
Somebody get a doctor.

MOTORMAN'S VOICE
No doctor, get him a priest.

VOICE OF MALCOLM
My father's skull, on one side was
crushed in, and then laid across
some tracks, for a streetcar to run
him over. His body was cut almost in
half. My father, Earl Little lived
two and a half hours in that
condition. Negroes were stronger
than they are now.

INT. A CAR - NIGHT

Shorty is driving with Sophia in the front seat. Malcolm is
in the back. They are in the country -- outside New York.

SHORTY
Man, I'm glad we got you out of there.
With West Indian Archie on your ass,
your name on the wire -- Boston the
best goddam place in the world for
you -- things are too hot and it's
not even summer.

Malcolm has withdrawn within himself. He takes out a packet
of cocaine and sniffs it.

SOPHIA
We'll take it easy. I got a place
fixed up on Harvard Square. How's
that sound?

SHORTY
Yeah. Cool it and lay dead for a
while, Homeboy. And don't worry none.

The drug takes hold. Malcolm is out of it.

SHORTY
I'll stake you, baby. I got my band.
I'm blowing great sax. Hell, you
ain't even heard us --

He and Sophia keep talking it up, trying to bolster Malcolm.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Stoned, his nose running, Malcolm stares out of the window
at the receding landscape. FREEZE FRAME.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
Like every hustler I was trapped.
Cats that hung together trying to
find a little security, to find an
answer -- found nothing. Cats that
might have probed space or cured
cancer -- (Hell, Archie might have
been a mathematical genius) -- all
victims of whitey's social order.

Music of a dance combo heard in BG.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
Three things I was always scared of:
a job, a bust and jail. I realized
then I wasn't afraid of anything. I
didn't care.

INT. HARVARD SQUARE APARTMENT - DAY

Shorty, Sophia and PEG face Malcolm -- stoned in a chair.
PEG is 17, Sophia's kid sister and Shorty's date.

SHORTY
You got to eat somethin', Red.

SOPHIA
You want eggs, baby?

MALCOLM
Yeah and get a slave, too, huh, baby?

SHORTY
I ain't doing bad.

MALCOLM
Man, the name musicians ain't got
shit. How you gonna have something?
I need a stake, a bundle, a grand.
My woman can't afford it; my homey
ain't got it. How about you baby?
What you got?

Peg smiles, afraid of Malcolm.

SHORTY
Jesus, Red, she's just a kid.

MALCOLM
Jesus ain't got nothin' to do with
this.

Shorty eyes him with amazement. The degree of Malcolm's
depravity surprises even him.

MALCOLM
Surprise you, baby? Well, that's the
way it is. What kind of scratch you
got on you? Turn out. Let me have
it. All of you --

Glances exchanged among Shorty, Sophia and Peg. Shorty reaches
into his pocket.

INT. HARVARD SQUARE APARTMENT - NIGHT

Malcolm with Sophia, Shorty and Peg around him.

MALCOLM
We gone rob this town blind. Anybody
want out say so.

Nobody answers; they'll go with Malcolm.

MALCOLM
Okay. I got the stake and I got a
fence. I need a driver.

PEG
How about Rudy?

MALCOLM
Who's Rudy?

SHORTY
Yeah, Rudy.

JUMP CUT:

SAME LOCATION - LATER

RUDY is with them. He is a good-looking, very-light skinned
black, tough as they come.

RUDY
I'm half wop, half nigger and ain't
afraid of no one.

MALCOLM
What can you do?

They are in the process of appraising each other, seeing
which one has the bigger penis.

RUDY
You name it, feller.

SHORTY
Rudy does catering. Rich joints on
Beacon Hill.

MALCOLM
That ain't bad.

SHORTY
Tell him about Baldy.

RUDY
Yeah. This rich ofay, like he's 60.
I give him a bath on Friday.

Peg and Sophia are listening, a little horrified.

RUDY
Then I put him to bed and pour talcum
powder on him like a baby. He gets
his jollies off.

MALCOLM
So what about him?

RUDY
So? The man got silver, china, rugs --

MALCOLM
Might be all right.

RUDY
Might be, shit. Man, I know this
town. I got my own fences. Who the
hell are you? Who put you in charge?

Malcolm smiles easily.

MALCOLM
You want to be the head man?

RUDY
That's right.

MALCOLM
Head nigger in charge?

RUDY
I'm the man.

MALCOLM
Okay, baby. Let's flip for it. Flip
this.

He takes out his gun, a .38 revolver. He dumps the shells on
the table, then reinserts one shell and twirls the barrel.

MALCOLM
I'll flip first.

He puts the revolver to his own head.

PEG
Don't.

Malcolm squeezes the trigger. It clicks. Now he twirls the
barrel again and hands the gun to Rudy.

MALCOLM
Your flip, baby.

Rudy is staring at him; so are they all. Malcolm puts the
gun to his temple again.

SOPHIA
Red, for God's sake --

He pulls the trigger a second time. Click. Now he twirls it
again.

SHORTY
Christ, Red, no --

PEG
I can't stand it.

Malcolm puts the gun to Rudy's head.

MALCOLM
Your turn, Rudy. You want me to flip
for you?

RUDY
Jesus Christ, no. Okay, okay. You
got it, you got it! You're the boss.

A beat.

MALCOLM
Don't never try to cross someone who
ain't afraid to die.

SHORTY
You the man!

Nodding accord from Rudy and Shorty. Sophia can hardly stand.

MALCOLM
All right. We'll start with Old Talcum
Powder. You draw the house, where
everything is. You and Peg go out
and buy them tools like I told you.
We hit tonight on account of in the
daytime some of us got that high
visibility. Ya dig?

Rudy is at a table drawing a diagram; the girls have left.
Shorty and Malcolm alone at a window.

SHORTY
What did you do, Homey, palm it?

MALCOLM
Yeah.

He breaks open the gun -- the bullet is in the next slot to
be fired.

MALCOLM
Palmed it right in the goddam chamber.

SHORTY
Jesus Christ, Homey, you are nuts.

Malcolm starts laughing: a silent, hysterical laugh.

EXT/INT. A BEACON HILL HOUSE - NIGHT

THE ROBBERY, IN QUICK CUTS:

-- A door lock is picked by Sophia.

-- Pencil flashlight passes an upstairs window.

-- Rudy in the car.

-- Silver removed from a drawer by Shorty.

-- Peg walking down the street, as lookout.

-- Malcolm takes off his shoes.

-- The sleeping OLD MAN, OLD TALCUM POWDER, as Malcolm takes
a watch, a wallet from within inches of his pillow. Then,
more boldly, picks up the man's hand and removes a ring from
one of his fingers. Shorty watching with bated breath, he's
about to have a heart attack.

INT. MANSION - DAY

A Boston matron, MRS. CRAWFORD, is showing the girls her
collection of U.S. silver. In a fine New England home.

PEG
Beacon Hill survey.

SOPHIA
We're doing a survey for the Athenaeum
Society -- We wondered if you'd permit
us to include your collection in the
catalog of Great New England Antiques --
?

MRS. CRAWFORD
Now these are my prizes. My Paul
Revere silver coffee service.

SHOT -- AN ARRANGEMENT OF MUSEUM-QUALITY PIECES

PEG
Lovely, just lovely.

Sophia is casing the room carefully as the matron continues.

MRS. CRAWFORD
And my husband's collection of
scrimshaw should be included.

SOPHIA
May we see it?

MRS. CRAWFORD
Won't you step this way?

INT. A COURTROOM - DAY

The prisoners face the bench: Peg, Sophia, Shorty, Rudy and
Malcolm.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
The average first offender gets two
years for burglary. We were all first
offenders. That's what Sophia and
Peg drew --

JUDGE
Two years in the Women's Reformatory
at Framingham.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
But our crime wasn't burglary. It
was balling white girls. They gave
us the book.

JUDGE
Burglary, count one -- 8 to 10 years;
count two, 8 to 10 years; count three,
8 to 10 years...

He continues giving them 8 to 10 years, behind Malcolm's
comment:

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
Fourteen counts of 8 to 10 years.

JUDGE
The sentences to run concurrently.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
Shorty thought he hit us with 114
years till I explained what
concurrently meant. It meant a minimum
sentence of 10 years hard labor at
the Charlestown State Prison. The
date was February 1946. I wasn't
quite 21. I had not yet begun to
shave.

CAMERA HAS GONE IN for a TIGHT CLOSE SHOT of Malcolm's face:
a hardened hustler, pimp, dope peddler and now jailbird at
the ripe old age of 20.

FREEZE FRAME.

CUT TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

INT. THE CELL CORRIDOR - DAY

It is the afternoon lockup: about 3:30 P.M. The line of
PRISONERS stands in front of their cells, as two guards,
WILKINS and BARNES, one white, one black, slowly walk past
the P.M. check.

The procedure is routine, done without emotion, as it is
done three times a day: the black guard calls out the
prisoner's name, the prisoner answers with his number, then
steps into his cell. Whereupon the white guard slams the
door shut and locks it.

GUARD WILKINS
Jackson.

PRISONER
A 231549.

Door is slammed and gate locked.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Each time a gate is locked his tension increases. His face
is a mask hiding his fury, violence and the hunger of an
advanced junkie who has not had a fix in over a week.

GUARD WILKINS
Crichlow.

SECOND PRISONER
A 5991301.

Same procedure.

ANGLE. SHOOTING PAST MALCOLM, FAVORING TWO OTHER PRISONERS.
The guards are approaching Malcolm's cell. Past Malcolm are
two experienced PRISONERS who have been watching Malcolm
during the scene. They whisper surreptitiously without moving
their bodies, and barely moving their

lips. One of the prisoners is PETE, a huge barrel of a man,
a lifer -- beaten by the system and a lifetime of
incarceration. The other is BEMBRY, a man of no great
physicality, but who possesses immediately the gift of
leadership. It is clear that Pete and others look up to him
with great respect.

PETE
Looka Satan.

BEMBRY
I see him.

Bembry's language is very unhip. He speaks carefully. He
respects words and he respects himself, something which sets
him apart from all the other prisoners.

PETE
He bout to bust.

BEMBRY
No, he's not gonna bust. But he's
not gonna fix his face to please
them, neither.

ANGLE. The check-in has reached the man next to Malcolm.

GUARD WILKINS
Harrington.

THIRD PRISONER
B 775717.

GUARD BARNES
Yeah. Lucky Seven.

Door slammed and locked.

CLOSE SHOT - MALCOLM

The guards are now in front of him.

GUARD WILKINS
Little.

Malcolm doesn't move.

GUARD BARNES
State your number.

Malcolm doesn't answer, doesn't blink.

GUARD WILKINS
Little.

ANGLE. Bembry in the FG of the scene.

BEMBRY
He's a new fish, Mr. Barnes. Give
him a break.

It's a bold step by Bembry and the prisoners look over at
him with admiration. Barnes accepts the irregularity and
calls over to Bembry.

GUARD BARNES
Okay, I'll give him a break. Now
state your number, Little.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
I forgot it.

CLOSE SHOT - BEMBRY

Shaking his head in anguish. He knows what's coming.

ANGLE. Barnes makes a small gesture and Wilkins seizes
Malcolm, grabbing his head and uniform at the same time.
Stenciled on the chest of his faded dungarees is Malcolm's
number. The guard bends Malcolm's head to the number, shoving
the material in Malcolm's face.

GUARD WILKINS
Can you read, boy? Thass your number.

GUARD BARNES
Now say it.

MALCOLM
I'm Malcolm Little, not no goddam
number.

GUARD WILKINS
Oh, yes you is, baby; thass all you
is.

And slams Malcolm hard. He slumps to the floor.

GUARD BARNES
Two days in the hole. Take him.

Wilkins drags Malcolm off as Barnes resumes the roll call.

GUARD BARNES
Burnham.

FOURTH PRISONER
A 551613, sir.

JUMP CUT:

INT. A SOLITARY CELL - DAY

Only the faintest light comes into the hideous room, which
consists of a mattress and a slop bucket. If Malcolm were to
stretch out his arms, he could touch both walls. He lies
half on the stone floor, half on the mattress.

A clang as the heavy door is opened.

GUARD CONE
Time's up. Get on your feet.

Malcolm stands.

GUARD CONE
Little, state your number.

A beat as Malcolm stares at the man, refusing to answer.

GUARD CONE
You just drew two more days.

And slams the door shut.

INT. SOLITARY - NIGHT

It is almost pitch black. We can almost smell the stench of
the room.

Malcolm sits stony-faced, his back against a wall.

TRUSTEE'S VOICE
Water.

The long spigot of a watering can is pushed through an opening
in the cell door. Malcolm, animal-like, leaps at it and bends
the spout, wrenching it off in his fury.

INT. SOLITARY CELL - DAY

TWO-SHOT - A WHITE CHAPLAIN AND MALCOLM

CHAPLAIN GILL
Do you know what a friend you have
in Jesus, son?

MALCOLM
Preacher, take your tin Jesus and
the Virgin Mary, both, and shove
'em.

Door slam.

INT. SOLITARY - NIGHT

Malcolm is alone at the bars: the hope of freedom filling
his mind.

Malcolm pulls at the bars, tries to shake them in impotent
fury. He pounds the walls. Empty, sick, defeated, his nails
scratching the walls, he slides to the floor of the cell.

It is the low point of his life: nowhere to turn, nothing to
hope for.

INT. SOLITARY - LATER

Guard Cone is shaking him into consciousness.

GUARD CONE
All right, Little. Get up.

Malcolm just about makes it. The guard is in half-focus.

GUARD CONE
State your number.

He is beaten.

MALCOLM
A 859912.

A shower is heard.

INT. SHOWER ROOM - DAY

Malcolm stands with bowed head as the hot water cascades
over his broken body. He lets it run and run, but it cannot
really touch his problems. On a nearby bench are his clothes,
his towel and the makings for a conk: lye, Vaseline, comb,
etc.

He turns for a moment as he sees he is being watched by
someone. It's Bembry standing nearby. Malcolm turns away,
trying to find solace in the water. He wants no part of the
world or anyone, just to be left alone.

BEMBRY
I know how you feel. Like you want
to lay down and die.

Malcolm shows no flicker of interest or understanding.

BEMBRY
I brought you something.

He puts down a small matchbox on the bench next to Malcolm's
things.

Malcolm eyes him like a snake -- but the punishment has
reduced him to deep insecurity and his belligerence is more
cautious than angry.

MALCOLM
Who the hell are you?

BEMBRY
Put it in a cup of water. It's nutmeg.

MALCOLM
Man, what do you want?

BEMBRY
You need something. It's not a reefer,
but it'll help some.

MALCOLM
Man, get outa my face. I ain't
nobody's punk.

But he steps out of the shower, fills a tin cup with water
and empties the contents of the matchbox into it. And drinks
it down quickly.

BEMBRY
Sit down or it might knock you down.

Malcolm sits, toweling himself as the spice hits him. For
the first, he smiles; this is the first relief he has tasted
in prison. He at Bembry wonderingly, unable to figure him
out.

MALCOLM
If you ain't trying to punk me, what's
your hype?

BEMBRY
I can show you how to get out of
prison. And it's no hype.

MALCOLM
Talk, daddy, I'm listening. Hey that
ain't bad. You got some more?

BEMBRY
That's the last stuff you'll ever
get from me.

MALCOLM
What did you give it to me for then?

BEMBRY
'Cause you needed it. 'Cause you
couldn't hear me without it.

This is a new breed of cat; Malcolm has never met anyone
like him. He eyes him closely, as he slips into his clothes.

MALCOLM
What in the hell are you talking
about?

He begins to conk his hair, but is paying attention to what
Bembry is saying.

BEMBRY
I think you got more sense than any
cat in this prison. How come you are
such a fool?

Malcolm looks over, piqued.

BEMBRY
Nobody can bust out like Bogart does
it, in the movies. Because even if
you get out, you are still in prison.

Malcolm is putting the conk into his hair now.

MALCOLM
You ain't lying.

BEMBRY
When you go busting your fists against
a stone wall, you're not using your
brains. Cause that's what the white
man wants you to do. Look at you.

These last words are spoken sharply with disgust. Malcolm
turns his hands massaging the conk into his hair.

BEMBRY
Putting all that poison in your hair.

MALCOLM
Man, you been locked up too long,
everybody conks. All the cats.

BEMBRY
Why? Why does everybody conk?

MALCOLM
Cause I don't want to walk around
with my head all nappy, looking like --

BEMBRY
Like what? Looking like me? Like a
nigger?! Why don't you want to look
like what you are? What makes you
ashamed of being black?

MALCOLM
I ain't said I'm ashamed.

He turns the water on to wash out the conk -- which has begun
to burn.

Bembry restrains him, holding his arm.

MALCOLM
Leggo. I got to wash it out.

BEMBRY
Let it burn. Maybe you'll hear me
then.

But it is burning now.

MALCOLM
Man, you better get off me.

He wrenches away from Bembry and puts his head in the water.

BEMBRY
Sure, burn yourself, pain yourself,
put all that poison into your hair,
into your body -- trying to be white.

MALCOLM
Man, I don't want to hear all that.

BEMBRY
I thought you was smart. But you
just another one of them cats
strutting down the avenue in your
clown suit with all that mess on
you. Like a monkey. And the white
man sees you and he laughs. He laughs
because he knows you ain't white.

Malcolm is drying his hair, finishing his conk. But some of
what Bembry has said disturbs him.

MALCOLM
Who are you?

Malcolm is completely humiliated. Bembry sees this and stops
the barrage.

BEMBRY
The question is, who are you? You
are in the darkness, but it's not
your fault. Elijah Muhammad can bring
you into the light.

MALCOLM
Elijah who?

BEMBRY
Elijah Muhammad can get you out of
prison. Out of the prison of your
mind. Maybe all you want is another
fix. I thought you were smart.

And he is gone. Malcolm stands looking after him, a long
thoughtful moment. He is pulling the comb through his hair.

INT. PRISON LICENSE SHOP - DAY

PRISONERS are working on a beltline that stamps out and
finishes license plates. Bembry is on the stamping machines,
working as he talks to the other prisoners. Malcolm is
painting the plates, a little removed from Bembry, but
listening with interest. Barnes, with rifle, idles by a
window.

A whistle sounds, ending the work shift. The inmates quickly
file out into the yard. Bembry stays. Malcolm is half decided.

GUARD BARNES
You taking the yard?

BEMBRY
I'm staying.

Barnes gestures to Malcolm.

MALCOLM
Me too.

He goes.

BEMBRY
What you sniffing around for? I told
you I gave you your last fix.

MALCOLM
I ain't never seen a cat like you.
Ain't you scared talking like that
in front of an ofay?

BEMBRY
What's he gonna do to me he ain't
already done?

MALCOLM
You the only cat don't come on with
that "Whatcha know, daddy" jive; and
you don't cuss none.

BEMBRY
I respect myself. A man cuss because
he hasn't got the words to say what's
on his mind.

MALCOLM
Tell you this: you ain't no fool.

BEMBRY
Don't con me. Don't try...

MALCOLM
Okay, okay.

BEMBRY
Don't con me.

MALCOLM
What do you do with your time?

BEMBRY
I read. I study. Because the first
thing a black man has to do is respect
himself. Respect his body and his
mind. Quit taking the white man's
poison into your body: his cigarettes,
his dope, his liquor, his white woman,
his pork.

MALCOLM
That's what Mama used to say.

BEMBRY
Your mama had sense because the pig
is a filthy beast: part rat, part
cat, and the rest is dog.

Malcolm has been pondering all this and now grows animated
as he thinks he has come to the essence of a hustle.

MALCOLM
Come on, daddy, pull my coat. What
happens if you give all that up? You
get sick or somethin'? I pulled a
hustle once and got out of the draft.

BEMBRY
I'm telling you God's words, not no
hustle. I'm talking the words of
Elijah, the black man's God. I'm
telling you, boy, that God is black.

MALCOLM
What? Everybody knows God is White.

BEMBRY
But everything the white man taught
you, you learned. He told you you
were a black heathen and you believed
him. He told you how he took you out
of darkness and brought you to the
light. And you believed him. He taught
you to worship a blond, blue-eyed
God with white skin -- and you
believed him. He told you black was
a curse, you believed him. Did you
ever look up the word black in the
dictionary?

MALCOLM
What for?

BEMBRY
Did you ever study anything wasn't
part of some con?

MALCOLM
What the hell for, man?

BEMBRY
Go on, fool; the marble shooters are
waiting for you.

MALCOLM
Okay, okay. Show me, man.

CLOSE SHOT - A DICTIONARY

WE CAN READ the fine print of the definition:

DICTIONARY
Black, (blak), adj. Destitute of
light, devoid of color, enveloped in
darkness. Hence, utterly dismal or
gloomy, as "the future looked black."

MALCOLM'S VOICE
You understand them words?

BEMBRY'S VOICE
Read it.

PULLBACK TO SHOW Bembry and Malcolm in a small PRISON LIBRARY.
No one else is in the book-lined room.

MALCOLM
I can't make out that shit.

BEMBRY
Soiled with dirt, foul; sullen,
hostile, forbidding -- as a black
day. Foully or outrageously wicked,
as black cruelty. Indicating disgrace,
dishonor or culpability.

DICTIONARY
See also blackmail, blackball,
blackguard.

MALCOLM
Hey, they's some shit, all right.

BEMBRY
Now look up "white."

Bembry turns the pages of the dictionary to "w."

BEMBRY
Read it.

CLOSE SHOT - DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF "WHITE"

MALCOLM'S VOICE
White (whit), adj. Of the color of
pure snow; reflecting all the rays
of the spectrum. The opposite of
black, hence free from spot or
blemish; innocent, pure, without
evil intent, harmless. Honest, square-
dealing, honorable.

Malcolm stumbles through the definition as well as he can.
Bembry takes over the reading, giving it ironic emphasis.

MALCOLM
That's bullshit. That's a white man's
book. Ain't all these white man's
books?

SHOT - THE SHELVES OF BOOKS

BEMBRY
They sure ain't no black man's books
in here.

MALCOLM
Then what you telling me to study in
them for?

BEMBRY
You got to learn everything the white
man says and use it against him. The
truth is laying there if you smart
and read behind their words. It's
buried there. You got to dig it out.

MALCOLM
Man, how'm I gonna know the ones
worth looking at?

Bembry smiles at Malcolm. He is a remarkable man who always
takes careful measure of his listener. He never talks down
to his audience; he talks to them. (A manner Malcolm later
will adopt.) Bembry can talk funky or salty or, as we will
see, in the cadence and eloquence of the Bible. Right now he
goes into street talk.

BEMBRY
I'll pull your coat, daddy. Cause
lots of these can't nobody read, be
he black or white or a Ph.D. with
their suspenders dragging the ground
with degrees.

Malcolm laughs. He likes and admires the man. Then caught by
a passage he does not understand:

MALCOLM
Man, I'm studying in the man's book.
I don't dig half the words.

BEMBRY
Look 'em up and and out what they
mean.

MALCOLM
Where am I gonna start?

BEMBRY
Start at the beginning. Page one,
the first one. Here --

CLOSE SHOT

As Bembry's hand opens the book to page one.

CLOSE IN ON A PICTURE OF AN AARDVARK WITH ITS DEFINITION

MALCOLM
Aardvark, noun. An earth pig; an ant-
eating African mammal. Man, that
sounds like the dozens.

ANGLE - TWO-SHOT

BEMBRY
Read it and keep on reading.

Malcolm's finger runs down to the next definition:

DICTIONARY
Abacus, noun. An ancient and primitive
Chinese counting device.

BEMBRY
If you take one step toward Allah,
He will take two steps toward you.

INT. MALCOLM'S CELL - NIGHT

He is reading on his bunk as Barnes walks by. The lights in
the cell go out. Malcolm looks up, annoyed at being
interrupted. He shifts his position to the floor of the cell
so that he can catch the dim light coming from the corridor
and goes on with his reading.

CLOSE SHOT - THE BOOK

Malcolm is studying the dictionary, the last of the "a's":
the words azimuth, Azores, Aztec, azure, etc. He reads a
word, then holds his hand over the printed definition to
test himself, half-mouthing its meaning. Malcolm is also
copying the dictionary in a school book word for word.

INT. LIBRARY - DAY

There are several books on the desk before Malcolm. WE SEE
their titles: W.E.B. DuBois's The Soul of Black Folks, Carter
G. Woodson's Journal of Negro History, Durant's Story of
Philosophy, H.G. Wells's Outline of History, Spinoza, Thoreau,
etc.

GUARD BARNES'S VOICE
Closing. Knock it off.

Malcolm is surprised the time has gone so fast. He gathers
up his books with care. He cherishes them, putting them back
on the shelf carefully.

GUARD BARNES
You studying to be the first colored
President of the States?

INT. LICENSE SHOP - DAY

The machines are idle; no one is in the room but Malcolm. He
starts to reach inside his jacket when Barnes sticks his
head in.

GUARD BARNES
You taking the yard or not?

MALCOLM
I'm staying.

GUARD BARNES
Then give me a butt.

Malcolm takes out a half-filled pack of cigarettes, about to
offer one, then pauses. Malcolm hands him the pack of
cigarettes.

MALCOLM
Take 'em. I don't smoke no more.

He takes the pack happily and goes. Malcolm reaches into his
jacket again, takes out a book. WE SEE its title: Mahatma
Gandhi's My Struggle. He sits next to the license press to
read.

EXT. THE PRISON YARD - DAY

A baseball game is in progress. A BLACK TEAM is playing a
WHITE ONE.

Most of the CONVICTS are watching the game; partisanship at
every pitch. A base hit gets a big reaction.

ANGLE - MALCOLM AND BEMBRY

They are out along the right field wall. They walk throughout
the scene.

ANGLE - The ball is hit over the fence for a home run. There
is a big cheer from the black prisoners. Pete, the batter,
trots proudly around the bases.

MALCOLM
Ole Pete ain't much in the head, but
he can lay in there with the wood.

BEMBRY
Lemme tell you about history: black
history. You listening?

TWO-SHOT - Malcolm still watching the game.

MALCOLM
You pitch, baby; I'll ketch.

BEMBRY
The first men on earth were black.
They ruled and there was not one
white face anywhere. But they teach
us that we lived in caves and swung
from trees. Black men were never
like that.

Malcolm is listening to Bembry's intent statement.

BEMBRY
We were a race of kings when the
white men went around on all fours.

There is a crack of the bat and Malcolm turns to watch another
base hit, by a black convict, stir the crowd.

MALCOLM
This a helluva game. Somethin's going
on.

He sees a black convict, CHUCK, nearby and calls over:

MALCOLM
Hey, whatsa score?

CHUCK
10 to 1; we murdering them, Din't
you hear?

MALCOLM
What?

CHUCK
The Brooklyn Dodgers brought up Jackie
Robinson and we pounding the hell
out of them, celebrating.

MALCOLM
How bout that?

BEMBRY
Sure, white man throw us a bone and
that's supposed to make us forget
400 years.

MALCOLM
A black man playing big league ball
is something.

BEMBRY
I told you to go behind the words
and dig out the truth. They let us
sing and dance and smile -- and now
they let one black man in the majors.
That don't cancel out the greatest
crime in history. When that blue-
eyed devil locked us in chains --
100,000,000 of us -- broke up our
families, tortured us, cut us off
from our language, our religion, our
history.

SHOTS OF THE FACES OF THE BLACK BALL PLAYERS AND THE CONVICTS

In the stands, cheering and joyous.

BEMBRY
Do they know who they are? Do you
know where you came from? We are the
Original People.

Malcolm is listening to him now.

BEMBRY
What's your name, boy?

Malcolm is startled; answers like a boy.

MALCOLM
Little.

BEMBRY
No. That's the name of the slave-
master who owned your family. You
don't even know who you are. You're
nothing. Less than nothing. A zero.
Who are you?

CLOSE SHOT - MALCOLM

Wrapped in thought.

ANGLE ON MALCOLM

MALCOLM
I'm not Malcolm Little and I'm not
Satan.

BEMBRY
Who are you?

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Malcolm cannot answer because he truly does not know.

A ball is hit. Malcolm watches its flight but his face is
fixed somewhere between understanding and anger: it is the
face of the future leader.

BEMBRY
I told you we are a nation, the lost
Tribe of Shabazz in the wilderness
of North America.

INT. ANOTHER PART OF THE PRISON - LATE AFTERNOON

The rays of the sun come through bars that cut across Malcolm
and Bembry's face.

BEMBRY
Allah has sent us a prophet, a black
man named Elijah Muhammad. For if
God is black, Malcolm --

MALCOLM
Then the devil is white.

BEMBRY
I knew you'd hear me. The white man
is the devil. All white men are
devils.

MALCOLM
I sure met some.

BEMBRY
No. Elijah Muhammad does not say
"that white man is a devil." He
teaches us that the white man is the
devil. All white men.

CLOSE SHOT - MALCOLM

Listening.

BEMBRY
Have you ever known a good white man
in all your life? Think back, did
you ever meet one who wasn't evil?

A prison whistle is heard.

INT. A NICHE IN A PRISON WALL - P.M.

Malcolm and Bembry standing close together. The feeling is
of someone taking communion: with Bembry the minister and
Malcolm the communicant.

Their voices are little more than whispers.

BEMBRY
The body is a holy repository.

MALCOLM
I will not touch the white man's
poison: his drugs, his liquor, his
carrion, his women.

BEMBRY
A Muslim must be strikingly upright.
Outstanding. So those in the darkness
can see the power of the light.

Malcolm lifts his head.

MALCOLM
I will do it.

BEMBRY
But the key to Islam is submission.
That is why twice daily we turn to
Mecca, to the Holy of Holies, to
pray. We bend our knees in submission.

Bembry kneels in a praying position. Malcolm stands.

MALCOLM
I can't.

BEMBRY
For evil to bend its knee, admit its
guilt, implore His forgiveness, is
the hardest thing on earth --

MALCOLM
I want to, Bembry, but I can't.

BEMBRY
-- the hardest and the greatest.

MALCOLM
I can't.

BEMBRY
For evil to bend its knee, admit its
guilt, implore His forgiveness, is
the hardest thing on earth --

MALCOLM
I want to, Bembry, but I can't.

BEMBRY
-- the hardest and the greatest.

MALCOLM
I don't know what to say to Allah.

BEMBRY
Have you ever bent your knees,
Malcolm?

Malcolm laugh-snorts:

MALCOLM
Yeah. When I was picking a lock to
rob somebody's house.

BEMBRY
Tell Him that.

MALCOLM
I don't know how.

BEMBRY
You can grovel and crawl for sin,
but not to save your soul. Pick the
lock, Malcolm; pick it.

MALCOLM
I want to. God knows I want to.

INT. MALCOLM'S CELL-NIGHT

Malcolm holds a letter in his hand. He reads it carefully.
He has read it several times before.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
I received a letter that day from
the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The
Messenger of Allah wrote me, a nobody,
a junkie, a pimp and a convict.

VOICE OF ELIJAH
I have come to give you something
which can never be taken from you: I
bring you a sense of your own worth,
the worth of one human being. The
knowledge of self.

The room becomes transformed. It is suddenly suffused with
light. And standing in the cell with Malcolm is ELIJAH
MUHAMMAD. He has materialized, but he can be seen through.
He is MALCOLM'S HALLUCINATION.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
It was like a blinding light and I
became aware that he was in the room
with me. He wore a dark suit and on
his face I saw a pain so old and
deep and black I could scarcely look
at him. I knew I was not dreaming.
He was there.

ELIJAH
I tell you that the most dangerous
creation of any society in the world
is the man with nothing to lose. You
do not need ten such men to change
the world. One will do. The Earth
belongs to us, the Black man and
whatever is around it, and on it and
in it. Praises are due to him forever
for bringing to us again, our self
and our property, the UNIVERSE OF
SUN, MOON, AND STARS.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
And suddenly as he came, he was gone.

The hallucination disappears.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
And then I could do it.

Malcolm goes down on his knees. There are tears in his eyes
as he begins praying:

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Allah Akbar: all praise to Him who
is all-seeing, all-understanding.

He continues to pray.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
We are told that Saul, on the road
to Damascus, heard the words of truth,
he fell from his horse. I do not
liken myself to Paul, but I
understand. It happened to me.

INT. BEMBRY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

A poorly furnished, small, but immaculate room. There are
two couches, a table set for eating, and, on the walls, a
portrait of Elijah and a Muslim banner. It is dinner time in
a Muslim home.

SIDNEY, aged 20, a perfect specimen of the Fruit of Islam,
stands behind his chair, waiting. Their mother, LORRAINE, a
woman of Bembry's age, is seated, but she, too, awaits Bembry.

SHOT - BEMBRY

BEMBRY
In the name of Allah, the beneficent
and the merciful to whom all praise
is due.

At the window Bembry saying the evening prayers.

BEMBRY'S VOICE
Dear Brother Malcolm: I am back in
the bosom of Islam, praise Allah...

He comes to the table, nods and sits. Sidney respectfully
sits after him. Food is passed. It is simple fare: natural
foods, milk, greens.

The portions are small. They eat in silence, but there is
warmth and love at this table.

BEMBRY'S VOICE
...We don't have much, but what we
have is yours. Lorraine and my two
sons join with me in saying that
when you come out, which will not be
too long, come straight to us.

INT. PRISON BARBER SHOP - DAY

Malcolm is reading Bembry's letter as he waits his turn.
There is a

WHITE CONVICT in the chair, just being finished by a WHITE
BARBER - SIMMONS. A BLACK BARBER - SLIM sits by. Both are
convicts. NOTE: Malcolm now wears glasses, all that reading
in his badly lit cell has ruined his eyes.

BEMBRY'S VOICE
You write thanking me. Don't thank
me. Praise Allah. He did it all.

SIMMONS
Next.

Malcolm starts for the chair. Simmons moves away to light a
cigarette as Slim takes over.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Dear Bembry. Please thank the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad for the
money and tell him I have not written
him because I have not yet proven
myself.

INT. SMALL'S PARADISE - NIGHT

Archie and Cadillac are reading a letter they have received.
They look at each other incredulously.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
But I have written everyone else.

ANOTHER PRISON - DAY

Shorty is waving a letter he has received to his CELLMATE.

SHORTY
Look like Homey got himself a brand
new hype.

INT. ELIJAH'S OFFICE - DAY

An immaculate room, well furnished. ELIJAH sits in a chair
as Bembry stands reading Malcolm's letter.

BEMBRY
"I wrote the Mayor, the Governor and
the President, but for some reason I
haven't heard from them"...

Bembry laughs; Elijah smiles.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Tell the Messenger of Allah that I
have dedicated my life to telling
the white devil the truth to his
face. I greet you with the ancient
words: "As Salaam Alikum."

ELIJAH
Wa-Alaikum Salaam.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
P.S. I finally worked my way through
the "Z's"...

INT. PRISON CHAPEL - NIGHT

TITLE - 6 YEARS LATER

A GROUP OF PRISONERS, mostly white, but with a goodly
smattering of black convicts, are listening to a lecture by
CHAPLAIN GILL.

CHAPLAIN GILL
Are there any questions?

ANGLE. Malcolm seated next to a black convict, raises his
hand. It's the only hand up. The Chaplain searches for another
questioner, but there aren't any.

Pete, sitting next to Malcolm, whispers.

PETE
Watch out, baby, this cat is heavy
on religion.

CHAPLAIN GILL
I see this has become a struggle
between good and evil. Satan has a
question.

There is laughter from the convicts.

MALCOLM
Yes it is, Chaplain Gill. But I
wouldn't want to say which one of us
is what.

Laughter, especially from the black convicts.

CHAPLAIN GILL
Why don't you just ask your question?

MALCOLM
You've been talking about the
disciples. What color were they?

CHAPLAIN GILL
I don't think we know for certain.

There are reactions from the convicts. Malcolm is sharply
challenging a white man about color.

MALCOLM
They were Hebrew, weren't they?

CHAPLAIN GILL
That's right.

MALCOLM
As Jesus was. Jesus was also a Hebrew.

CHAPLAIN GILL
Just what is your question?

MALCOLM
What color were the original Hebrews?

CHAPLAIN GILL
I told you we don't know for certain.

MALCOLM
Then we don't know that God was white.

There is a strong reaction to this.

CHAPLAIN GILL
Now just a moment, just a moment --

MALCOLM
But we do know that the people of
that region of Asia Minor, from the
Tigris-Euphrates valley to the
Mediterranean, are dark-skinned
people. I've studied drawings and
photographs and seen newsreels. I
have never seen a native of that
area who was not black.

CHAPLAIN GILL
Just what are you saying?

MALCOLM
I'm not saying anything, preacher.
I'm proving to you that God is black.

INSERT FLASH - A BLOND, BLUE-EYED JESUS ON THE CROSS

Note: Try to get footage from The Last Temptation of Christ
[Willem Dafoe]

MALCOLM'S VOICE
God is black.

INT. ELIJAH'S OFFICE - DAY

Malcolm opens the door, the room is dark and he sees a small,
slight man standing against the window, he doesn't move.
This is the same man who appeared in Malcolm's cell, this is
the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Malcolm slowly moves toward him; he is completely humbled in
his presence.

CLOSE - ELIJAH

He turns from the window to Malcolm.

ELIJAH
My son, you've been a thief, drug
dealer and a pimp and the world is
still full of temptation. When God
bragged how faithful Job was, the
devil argued that only God's
protective hedge around him kept him
pure, the devil said remove the hedge
and he will curse his maker. Malcolm,
your hedge has been removed and I
believe you will remain faithful.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He cannot say anything and he drops his head, he is
overwhelmed with heartfelt emotion.

INT. BEMBRY'S LIVING ROOM - P.M.

In contrast to the peaceful family scene, the room is a
beehive of activity. Sidney is turning out leaflets on a
mimeograph machine; Lorraine is busy making up a mailing
list using 3 x 5 file cards; Bembry is recruiting on the
telephone.

MALCOLM
How many you turning out?

SIDNEY
500.

MALCOLM
Make it 1000. We got a lot of fishing
to do.

SIDNEY
Brother Malcolm, I want you to meet
Brother Earl. He just joined the
Nation.

Earl moves toward Malcolm and extends his hands. Malcolm
shakes it warmly.

MALCOLM
We can always use another good
brother.

EARL
I'm a willing servant for Allah.

EXT. CHURCH - DAY

Sunday service has let out and Malcolm, Earl, and Sidney are
"fishing."

They're trying to convert the Black Christians. Malcolm
speaks, while the others hand out leaflets.

MALCOLM
You think you are Christians, and
yet you see your so-called white
Christian brother hanging black
Christians on trees. You say that
white man loves you and yet he has
done every evil act against you. He
has everything while he is living
and tells you to be a good slave and
when you die you will have more than
he has in Beulah's land. We so-called
Negroes are in pitiful shape. Get
off your knees praying to a picture
of a white, pale blond, and blue-
eyed Jesus. Come out of the sky.
Build heaven on earth. Islam is the
black man's true religion.

EXT. STREET CORNER, 125TH AND SEVENTH AVENUE - DAY

Malcolm is talking to a CROWD from a ladder.

MALCOLM
And that the white man is the devil.
Yes, God is black and you are made
in His image and don't know it. That's
how brainwashed you are.

The crowd is listening, caught up in Malcolm's intensity.

MALCOLM
My brothers and sisters, they tell
you you will sprout wings when you
die and fly to heaven. The Honorable
Elijah Muhammad tells you that's pie
in the sky.

ANGLE ON SIDNEY

Amid the listeners, watching their response.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Have you ever seen a black man who
wasn't down on his knees begging the
Lord to give him in heaven what the
white devil enjoys right here on
earth?

CLOSE SHOT - SEVERAL LISTENERS

They turn from Malcolm, moving a few steps away, and now are
the audience on an adjacent SPEAKER. He is a young firebrand:

SPEAKER
The Harlem Council fights for rat
control, for rent control and for
community control of our schools.

PAN CONTINUES to take in ANOTHER SPEAKER, a few feet away.
WE SEE the street corner is Harlem's Hyde Park, with half a
dozen SPEAKERS haranguing the crowd with half a dozen
panaceas. That Malcolm is just one among many:

SECOND SPEAKER
If the man behind the counter ain't
black, don't go in. Boycott the man.
Be black. Think black. Buy black.

ANGLE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Come to our Temple and hear the truth.
Because, brother and sister, you are
dead. Yes you are, mentally dead,
spiritually dead, morally dead. And
we are here to resurrect the black
man back from the dead.

EXT. OPEN AIR "MAID'S MARKET" - DAY

A place where black women come to offer themselves for day
work.

SEVERAL ARE SEEN. A WHITE WOMAN comes up to one to interview
her (bargain with her). Malcolm's voice is heard before he
is seen, speaking to the women from a ladder.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
My beautiful sister, for you are
beautiful. Beautiful because you are
black. Because black is beautiful.
You work in the white folks' kitchen
so I don't have to tell you that
they're devils.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
And you are putting yourselves on
the auction block, letting them
examine you like a horse, like a
slave. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad
teaches that you are black and should
be proud...

FACE OF ONE BLACK WOMAN, beginning to shake her head in
accord.

INT. TEMPLE #7 - NIGHT

The SAME WOMAN, now at a Muslim meeting. The faces of other
listeners (from the church and from the maids' market) are
scattered in Malcolm's audience.

The headquarters itself shows the progress Malcolm has made.
It is better furnished, larger, and the chairs are filled.
Bembry, Sidney, and Lorraine are in the back of the room,
pleased with the growth.

Malcolm stands at a podium.

MALCOLM
We're not American, we're Africans
who happen to be in America. We were
kidnapped and brought here against
our will from Africa. We didn't land
on Plymouth Rock, brothers and sister.
Plymouth Rock landed on us.

Reactions: laughter, interest. Ad lib "That's the truth."

MALCOLM
Put an end to your begging. No more
"Please, Mr. White Man, Lawdy boss,
brush me another crumb from off your
table, kindly, sir." We are a nation,
a great nation and don't need a thing
from them.

Malcolm scanning the faces of his audience as they react. He
sees someone he knows and blurts out boyishly (and winningly):

MALCOLM
Shorty!

The crowd turns to Shorty, sitting embarrassedly in the
audience.

MALCOLM
Come on up here, man, and give us
some skin. Here's a man, brothers
and sisters, who shot up with me,
who robbed with me, and did time in
the white devil's jailhouse. Stand
up, Shorty, and be counted --

But Shorty is trying to hide from the spotlight. Malcolm
comes down from the platform and walks to him.

MALCOLM
Folks, the brother is shy and needs
special attention. So would you excuse
us, while Brothers Sidney and Earl
take up the collection.

He embraces Shorty as the crowd laughs appreciatively and
Brothers Sidney and Earl have a chuckle themselves.

INT. MUSLIM CAFETERIA - NIGHT

Shortly and Malcolm sit at a table. Shorty has a cup of coffee
in front of him.

SHORTY
I got to hand it to you, Homey. That's
the best preacher hype I ever did
hear.

MALCOLM
It isn't a hype, Shorty. And I meant
what I said: join us.

SHORTY
Come on, baby. I don't pay that shit
no mind.

MALCOLM
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says
you should pay it all your mind. If
you got a mind.

SHORTY
Baby, I love you. Take it easy,
greasy. How about a snort?

MALCOLM
I've been clean for twelve years,
Shorty.

SHORTY
You is something, Homeboy. My trouble
is -- I ain't had enough stuff yet,
I ain't et all the ribs I want and I
sure ain't had enough white tail
yet.

MALCOLM
How's the rest of the gang? You seen
anyone?

SHORTY
Well, Sammy's dead. Yeah, fell over
in the bed with a chick twenty years
younger than him. Had twenty-five
grand in his pocket.

INSERT FLASH - Sammy, he's dead on top of TEENAGE WHORE who
is screaming, trying to push that dead weight off her.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
How about Old Cadillac?

INSERT FLASH - Cadillac is an old junkie, past reclaiming,
sitting staring in a MENTAL WARD, twitching, nose running.

SHORTY'S VOICE
Hooked on horse. Been in and out of
Lexington Ave times.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
You seen Sophia?

INSERT FLASH - Sophia is a bored housewife, she's in the
kitchen cooking while her husband hides behind the Wall Street
Journal.

BACK TO THE BAR

SHORTY
I ain't seen Archie, but the vine
tells it he's living somewhere's in
the Bronx. If you can call it living.

INT. A DINGY ROOM - DAY

A knock on the door rouses Archie, by now an old and dying
man. All the vigor is gone, all the life has ebbed out.

ARCHIE
Git the hell away, you bitch, I'll
pay you tomorrow.

Door opens, Malcolm enters.

MALCOLM
Hello, Archie.

Archie sits up from his bed and stares. He tries to bring
back some of his old juice, tries to stand up.

ARCHIE
My man, Red. Come on in, man.
(then giving up)
Hey, I can't make it.

Malcolm has to help him lie back.

MALCOLM
Take it easy, baby.

ARCHIE
That really you, Red?

The contrast is shocking: Malcolm tall and straight; Archie
ruined.

MALCOLM
You saved my life, Archie. Running
me out of Harlem. When I think how
close we came to gunning each other
down, I have to thank Allah.

ARCHIE
I wasn't gonna shoot you, baby. It
was just my rep, that's all. And
don't shit me now, but did you have
that number? Tell me.

MALCOLM
I don't know. It doesn't matter. The
thing is we got to get you back on
your feet.

ARCHIE
Yeah. I got a couple a new angles
ain't been figured yet. All I need's
a stake and a chance --

MALCOLM
Can you use a few bucks? I ain't got
much, but --

ARCHIE
No, man, I'm doing okay. Thanks.

MALCOLM
Take it easy. Lay down and don't
think about it.

ARCHIE
Yeah.

MALCOLM
You could of been something, Archie,
but the devil got to you.

The old man is asleep.

MALCOLM
You know all the angles except how
to live.

EXT. A STREET IN HARLEM - NIGHT

Malcolm walks thoughtfully down the street; Archie is still
on his mind, as he passes prostitute after prostitute. Once
beautiful women now selling their bodies. He passes Laura,
she has been turned totally out and she looks the part, there
is no way he can recognize her. We do though.

CLOSE - LAURA

She has just gotten a white John and leads him into an alley.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Women who could be mothers, teachers,
scientists...

ANGLE - ALLEY

Laura kneels down to unzip her John's pants.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Who is going to raise our children?;
men who might have been astronauts,
composers, engineers; Who is going
to be the head of the households? --

INT. TEMPLE #7 - NIGHT

Malcolm is addressing a HUGE AUDIENCE. His tone is more
intense, more personal than before, because of his recent
encounters. In the audience, sitting with Bembry, is BETTY,
a lovely dark-skinned woman.

Her interest in Malcolm (true, also, for most of the other
unmarried sisters) is more than religious.

MALCOLM
-- and what has the white devil made
of them: dead souls. Oh, my he has
no conscience. He should fall on his
knees and say, "My kind commits
history's greatest crime against
your kind every day of your life."
But does he? No. He scorns you, splits
your head with his nightstick and
calls you nigger. If you've had it,
then stand up and come forward. If
not us, then who? If not now, then
when?

ANGLE - THE AUDIENCE

Many stand, some walk toward the podium speaking his name:
"I'm with you, Brother Malcolm," "Praise Allah," "Me, Brother
Malcolm."

There is applause; some of the audience get to their feet --
Malcolm acknowledges their approval, trying to quiet them,
but caught up in the heady excitement of leadership.

CLOSE - BETTY AND BEMBRY

Both are moved by Malcolm's performances.

BETTY
(whispering)
He ought to try to make it a little
easier, Brother Bembry.

BEMBRY
Why don't you try telling him that,
Sister Betty?

INT. A LARGE ANTEROOM IN TEMPLE #7 - NIGHT

The Muslim movement has grown enormously. The activity in
this anteroom, leading to other rooms off it, shows that.
Betty and Bembry stand before a Directory announcing
activities in the Temple: MONDAY - Fruit of Islam Meeting;
TUESDAY - Unity Night; WEDNESDAY - Student Enrollment;
THURSDAY - Muslim Girls Training; FRIDAY - General
Civilization Class; SATURDAY - Swahili, etc.

A stir of people and activity as Malcolm enters the anteroom.
He excuses himself from a group of MUSLIMS, making his way
toward Bembry.

MALCOLM
(little out of breath)
Brother Bembry, can we fix it so our
loudspeaker is heard on the street?

BEMBRY
I'm sure we can. This is a new sister,
Sister Betty.

Malcolm nods at her; she nods in return.

BEMBRY
The Sister lectures our Muslim women
in hygiene and diet.

Malcolm mutters "very good," but his mind is clearly on a
million other details.

BEMBRY
The Sister stresses care of the body
and regular eating habits.

Malcolm is still distracted.

BETTY
The Sister wonders if the Brother
knows what Harriet Tubman did between
taking souls to the Promised Land?

Malcolm is stopped. He looks at Betty.

MALCOLM
What?

BETTY
She ate.

Malcolm laughs.

BETTY
And the Sister suggests he put his
actions where his mouth is.

Malcolm's laughter is heard, in response.

INT. MUSLIM CAFETERIA - NIGHT TWO-SHOT - BETTY AND MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Sure I'll speak to your class. But
I'm a hard man on women. You want to
know why?

BETTY
If you want to tell me.

CUT TO:

EXT. ELIJAH'S GARDEN - DAY

Malcolm sits next to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The
student and the teacher.

MALCOLM
If you want to tell me.

ELIJAH
Women are deceitful. They are
untrustworthy flesh. I've seen too
many men ruined or tied down or messed
up by women.

CUT BACK TO:

BETTY AND MALCOLM

Betty says nothing, she merely pushes the salad plate a little
toward him. The food has thus far gone untouched. Malcolm
continues.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Women talk too much. To tell a woman
not to talk is like telling Jesse
James not to carry a gun or a hen
not to cackle. And Samson, the
strongest man that ever lived, was
destroyed by the woman who slept in
his arms.

BETTY
Shall I tell my sisters that we oppose
marriage?

CUT TO:

CLOSE - ELIJAH

ELIJAH
No. We are not Catholic priests. We
do not practice celibacy. If a woman
is the right height for a man, the
right complexion, if her age is half
the man's plus seven, if she
understands that man's essential
nature is strong and woman's weak,
if she loves children, can cook, sew
and stay out of trouble --

CUT TO:

CLOSE - BETTY

BETTY
I think you've made your points,
Brother Malcolm.

MALCOLM
What points?

BETTY
That you haven't time for either
marriage or eating --

Malcolm chuckles a bit.

BETTY
-- and that women aren't the only
ones who talk a lot.

Now he bursts out laughing.

CLOSE - BROTHERS SIDNEY AND EARL

They are alarmed at Brother Minister's behavior.

TWO-SHOT - BETTY AND MALCOLM

BETTY
If you'll start eating, there is a
question I have. Go ahead. Start.

He takes a forkful of the salad.

BETTY
Considering today's standards of
animal raising and curing meats, I
don't fully understand the restriction
on pork.

MALCOLM
Let me explain. No. I'll do better
than that. I'll show it to you.
Scientifically. But it's demonstration
purely in the interest of science,
you understand?

BETTY'S VOICE
Yes, I understand, Brother Malcolm.
Purely scientific.

INT. MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY - DAY

Before a comparative evolutionary display showing the
skeletons of various animals, Malcolm is holding forth. Betty
is dressed in a vivid, becoming red dress.

MALCOLM
Notice especially the claw, the jaw
and the skull formation. This is the
rat. This the mole. Here you have
the aardvark and the boar...

CLOSE ON THE SKELETONS

MALCOLM'S VOICE
...All members of the pig-rodent
family.

BETTY
I see your point.

MALCOLM
So it is not a matter of the breeding
conditions or preparation of the
meat. The meat itself is foul.

ANGLE. As they saunter out, passing the huge skeletons of
prehistoric animals now.

BETTY
Could we sit down someplace?

MALCOLM
I'm sorry. I've had you on your feet
for hours.

BETTY
You've been on your feet for days.
And didn't even finish your salad.

INT. SODA FOUNTAIN - DAY

WAITER
You're the strawberry soda and you're
the hot fudge sundae.

He plunks down the order before Betty and Malcolm. Malcolm
takes a long, long satisfying pull on his straw. Then he
sighs:

MALCOLM
That's something I haven't done in
fifteen years.

BETTY
What?

MALCOLM
Sat down with a pretty girl and had
an ice cream soda.

BETTY
How do you like it?

MALCOLM
Delicious.

She laughs. He blushes.

MALCOLM
Let's talk about you for a change.

BETTY
There's nothing to talk about.

MALCOLM
Oh, yes, there is. I know a lot about
you. Brother Bembry briefed me.

BETTY
Oh? Purely scientific interest I'm
sure.

MALCOLM
(a beat)
You're from Detroit, near where I
come from. You majored in education
at Tuskegee. You're studying nursing
and having trouble with your family.

BETTY
I can handle it.

MALCOLM
They want you to quit the Muslims or
they won't pay your tuition, isn't
that it?

BETTY
You have enough worries of your own.

MALCOLM
No, good Sisters are rare. We need
every one. Tell me something: how
tall are you?

BETTY
Why do you ask?

MALCOLM
Just an idle question.

BETTY
If it's just idle, I won't answer
it.

She takes a bite of her sundae.

BETTY
But Brother Bembry says I'm tall
enough for a tall man.

MALCOLM
How old are you, Betty?

BETTY
There's a few things you don't know
about women, Brother Malcolm. They're
possessive and vain.

MALCOLM
Are you?

BETTY
And dogged when I set my mind to
something.

MALCOLM
What have you set your mind to?

BETTY
Being a good Muslim, a good nurse
and a good wife.

Malcolm takes a good look at the lovely woman in front of
him, then a long sip from his ice cream soda.

SIDNEY'S VOICE
Brother Malcolm.

Betty sees him first.

BETTY
It's Sidney.

ANGLE. As Sidney runs to them at the table:

SIDNEY
Brother Johnson was attacked by the
cops.

A MAN'S VOICE
There was a scuffle. The Brother was
watching.

EXT. SIDE STREET IN HARLEM - P.M.

Malcolm listening as SEVERAL WITNESSES simultaneously describe
the attack. A small angry CROWD has gathered. The most
animated one is BENJAMIN, a very dark young black teenager,
we will soon meet him later.

BENJAMIN
The cop says, "Move on."

MAN
The Brother didn't scatter fast enough
for the ofay.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

BENJAMIN
Crack. He bled like a stuck hog.

MAN
Watcha gonna do?

VOICE FROM THE CROWD
(deprecatingly)
He'll rap a little. He's a Muslim.
And make a speech.

ANOTHER VOICE FROM CROWD
Muslims talk a good game, but they
never do nothing, unless somebody
bothers Muslims.

Malcolm's face goes taut. He nods sharply at Sidney, as
Benjamin watches them both.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
I demand to see Brother Johnson.

INT. POLICE STATION - LATE P.M.

Malcolm facing a DESK SERGEANT, TWO UNIFORMED COPS and a
PLAINCLOTHESMAN off to one side.

SERGEANT
Who the hell are you?

MALCOLM
I'm from Muslim Temple 7.

COP
Never heard of you.

MALCOLM
Where is he?

The police respond with a squeeze play intended to intimidate
Malcolm:

SERGEANT
Nobody here by that name.

PLAINCLOTHES
What's your name, feller?

He feels the power play and stiffens in resistance.

MALCOLM
I'm Minister Malcolm X. Two witnesses
saw him brought in. He was not brought
out.

PLAINCLOTHES
You heard the Sergeant. Outside.

Malcolm stands his ground coolly.

MALCOLM
Take a look out that window. I intend
to see Brother Johnson.

The cops eye each other. Plainclothes walks to the window.

EXT. THE STREET OUTSIDE - LATE P.M.

Across from the station is a phalanx of some FIFTY MEN of
the Fruit of Islam. All are dressed in dark suits with white
shirts. They stand in military formation: eyes forward, every
face burning. People from the neighborhood have formed a
crowd behind and around them. WE MAKE OUT Benjamin among the
crowd.

INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT

PLAINCLOTHES
Who the hell are they?

MALCOLM
Brothers of Brother Johnson.

PLAINCLOTHES
Eddie, let's see that blotter.

TWO-SHOT - FAVOR MALCOLM

As the cops examine the police blotter.

SERGEANT
Yeah. We got a Muslim. The relief
must of put it down.

PLAINCLOTHES
But you can't see him. You ain't his
lawyer.

SERGEANT
No lawyer, no see.

MALCOLM
Until I'm satisfied Brother Johnson
is receiving proper medical attention,
no one will move.

Cops eye each other. Plainclothes nods slightly, he has to
give in, Malcolm is not playing.

INT. A LOCKUP - SAME

The back of Malcolm's head, as he examines Brother Johnson.
As he comes up OUT OF FRAME, WE SEE that Johnson has been
badly beaten.

MALCOLM
(shaking)
Only a pig could do a thing like
that.

PLAINCLOTHES
Watch your tongue, boy.

MALCOLM
Don't you call me boy, you pig.
Letting a man bleed like that.

Sergeant puts a restraining hand on Plainclothes.

MALCOLM
That man belongs in a hospital. Get
an ambulance. Now!

EXT. THE STREET - LATER (DARKER)

As Johnson's body, on a stretcher, is hurried into an
ambulance. The crowd has grown in proportions. There are ad
libs: "Goddam pigs," "Damn police brutality," "Least they
got him out of the meat house."

Malcolm with the Sergeant and a LIEUTENANT, as the ambulance
pulls away.

LIEUTENANT
All right, break it up. You got what
you wanted.

MALCOLM
I'm not satisfied.

Malcolm starts walking down the center of the street, after
the ambulance.

MALCOLM
To the hospital.

The Fruit of Islam fall in behind him, marching slowly. It
takes on the start of a march as the neighborhood people
fall in behind them. People (especially kids) race with them
on the street and on the sidewalk.

ANGLE - BENJAMIN

Benjamin fights his way through the crowd trying to walk
beside Malcolm, the Brothers in the Fruit stop him and
Benjamin drops back.

EXT. LENOX AVENUE - NIGHT

Now the march has taken over the broad avenue. COPS are forced
to redirect traffic, holding up crosstown cars as the group
walks solemnly by. The people walking behind have swelled it
to a huge demonstration.

Their faces reflect their anger and their satisfaction that,
for once, something is being done about what has happened.

EXT. HARLEM HOSPITAL - NIGHT

LONG SHOT SHOWS the Muslim men in perfect order, calm with
their arms folded across their chests, waiting. Their eyes
are on Malcolm as he walks toward the hospital entrance.

SHOTS

-- of the growing crowd.

-- of the nervous cops, including some big brass.

-- of kids watching from a rooftop.

-- of Benjamin trying to emulate the Fruit of Islam.

EXT. OUTSIDE HARLEM HOSPITAL - NIGHT

Malcolm is standing in front of the Fruit of Islam men, as
HIGH RANKING POLICE OFFICER GREEN comes over.

CAPTAIN GREEN
All right, that's enough. I want
these people moved out of here.

MALCOLM
They're all disciplined men. They're
doing nothing except waiting.

SHOT

The unruly crowd behind the Fruit of Islam. They are restive,
milling, ugly.

CAPTAIN GREEN
What about them?

MALCOLM
That's your headache, Captain. And
if he dies, I pity you.

EXT. OUTSIDE HARLEM HOSPITAL - NIGHT

DOCTOR
He'll live. He's getting the best
care we can give.

MALCOLM
Thank you, Doctor.

DOCTOR
I had to put a plate in his head.

MALCOLM
(to Captain)
You bastards.

CAPTAIN GREEN
All right, okay. Now disperse this
mob.

MEDIUM SHOT - MALCOLM, FRUIT OF ISLAM AND CROWD

It's clear the decision is in one man's hands, Malcolm's.

CLOSE SHOT - MALCOLM

He makes a gesture with his hand, the Fruit of Islam disperse.

ANGLE. People moving away, going home. Only one person remains
from the Fruit of Islam and the crowd, it's Benjamin.

CLOSE - CAPTAIN GREEN

CAPTAIN GREEN
That's too much power for one man to
have.

INT. MUSLIM CAFETERIA - NIGHT

Everyone is in a somber mood over the evening's events.

ANGLE - TABLE

Malcolm sits with Brothers Earl and Sidney.

SIDNEY
Brother Minister, we need to strike
back.

BROTHER EARL
Put fear into those devils.

MALCOLM
I want to also, but until we are
instructed by the Messenger to do
so, we will just wait and pray.

BROTHER EARL
I'm tired of praying.

MALCOLM
That's enough, Brother Earl.

ANGLE - ENTRANCE

Benjamin comes into the cafeteria and everyone looks at him.
He sees Malcolm sitting and moves toward his table.

ANGLE - TABLE

Brothers Sidney and Earl get up to intercept him but Malcolm
waves him through. Benjamin stands.

MALCOLM
Sit down, son.

Malcolm pours some cream into his cup of black coffee, then
also some white sugar.

MALCOLM
There is only one thing I like
integrated. My coffee.

Benjamin laughs.

MALCOLM
What can I do for you?

BENJAMIN
Mr. X, I was out there tonight. I
saw what you did. I want to be a
Muslim. I ain't never seen a Negro
stand up to the police like that.

ANGLE - SIDNEY AND EARL

They exchange dubious looks.

MALCOLM
Do you know what it means to be a
true Muslim?

Benjamin hesitates.

MALCOLM
Do you?

BENJAMIN
Not exactly, but I want to be one,
like you.

MALCOLM
I admire your enthusiasm but you
should never join any organization
without first checking it out
thoroughly.

Benjamin is crushed and he starts to get up.

MALCOLM
We need more young warriors like
yourself, stick around and we shall
see if your heart is true.

BENJAMIN
Mr. X, I won't make you out a liar.

INT. TEMPLE #1 - DETROIT - DAY

CLOSE - NEWSPAPER HEADLINE (DAILY NEWS)

MALCOLM X WINS $70,000 JUDGMENT FOR BEATEN NEGRO

An AIDE of Elijah puts down the newspaper and shakes Malcolm's
hand.

AIDE
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad would
like to see you now.

INT. ELIJAH'S OFFICE - DAY

Elijah is sweeping the floor with a plain hand broom. Malcolm
enters the room, is surprised and waits at the door. The two
are alone together.

ELIJAH
If I surprise you, let me explain.
Menial work teaches us humility.

MALCOLM
Let me do it then.

ELIJAH
No, each of us must relearn that
work is the only worthwhile thing.
Allah has given you a great gift.
Use it wisely, never forgetting that
we are nothing, while He is all.

MALCOLM
Allah Akbar.

The sweeping done, they stand together near a table at a
window.

ELIJAH
Tonight I shall introduce you as my
National Representative. It will be
a difficult task. Your assignment is
to build temples all over this nation.
More work than you have ever done in
your life and you will be in the
public eye. My son, beware of those
cameras, they are just as bad as a
narcotic.

ANGLE - AIDES and OTHERS come into the room now. They are
listening.

ELIJAH
Yes, the white devil will watch your
every step. Even your own Brothers
will become jealous, and hostile, go
slowly. So I offer you a parable --
regarding your work.

Elijah picks up a glass and sets it before Malcolm.

ELIJAH
Here is a glass, dirty and its water
foul. If you offer it to the people
and they have no choice, they must
drink out of it. But if you present
them with this glass --

He is holding a clean glass, with clear water in it.

ELIJAH
-- and let them make their decision,
they will choose the pure vessel.
Islam is the only religion which
addresses the needs and problems of
the so-called Negro, especially in
the ghettos -- Islam is the only way
out from drugs, crime, unemployment,
prostitution, alcohol, gambling,
fornication and adultery.

Elijah holds up the clear glass.

VOICE OF MALCOLM X
This sweet, gentle man gave me the
truth from his own mouth. And I adored
him, in the sense of the Latin root
of the word. Adorare, to worship and
to fear. He was the first man I ever
feared -- not fear such as the one
has of a gun but the fear one has of
the power of the sun, I pledged myself
to him, even if it cost me my life.

INT. A HOSPITAL WARD - DAY

Betty is administering to a PATIENT, as a phone is heard
ringing. It's answered. ANOTHER NURSE motions Betty to the
phone. She finishes with her patient and goes quickly.

BETTY
Hello.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Sister Betty?

BETTY
Yes.

EXT. A PAY PHONE AT A GAS STATION - DAY

MALCOLM
I'm in Detroit.

BETTY
I know.

MALCOLM
At a gas station.
(a beat)
Will you marry me?

BETTY
Yes.

MALCOLM
Did you hear what I said?

BETTY
Yes I did. Did you hear my answer?

MALCOLM
I think so. Can you catch a plane?

BETTY
Yes. Did you eat?

MALCOLM
I love you.

INT. BEMBRY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Betty and Malcolm sit on the floor in the dimlit room, very
close.

MALCOLM
It won't be easy.

BETTY
Just hold me.

MALCOLM
It will be rough.

BETTY
Hush your mouth.

MALCOLM
I'll be away a lot.

BETTY
You're with me even when you're away.

He embraces her. Then Betty laughs.

BETTY
I never told you, but when I first
saw you on the podium, cleaning your
glasses, I felt sorry for you. Nobody
as young as you should be that
serious. But I don't think that
anymore.

MALCOLM
What do you think?

BETTY
The simplest thing in the world: I
want to have a lot of babies with
you. Dear Heart, I love you.

Full embrace.

BEMBRY'S VOICE
We're waiting on you folks. You trying
to starve us?

INT. BEMBRY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Malcolm has just cut the cake and handed a slice to Betty.
Amid laughter and great warmth, Sidney unfurls the front
page of the Messenger, the Muslim newspaper. Headline reads:
"MALCOLM X WEDS BETTY SAUNDERS." Betty kisses her husband
and Bembry, Lorraine, Earl, Sidney, Peter and VARIOUS BROTHERS
AND SISTERS applaud.

We notice the subtle change in the apartment: it is more
comfortable; there is even evidence of some small luxury: a
TV set, a new settee, etc.

EXT. RALLY - HARLEM - DAY

Malcolm is speaking to a GOOD SIZED AUDIENCE:

MALCOLM
I must emphasize at the outstart,
that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
is not a politician, so I'm not here
this afternoon as a Republican, nor
a Democrat, not as a Mason nor an
Elk, not as a Christian nor a Jew,
not as a Catholic nor a Protestant,
not as a Baptist nor a Methodist,
not even as an American. For if I
was an American the problem that
confronts our people today would not
exist. So I stand here as what I was
when I was born: A BLACK MAN!

CROWD REACTIONS

MALCOLM
Before there were any such things as
Democrats or Republicans, we were
black. Before there were any such
things as Masons or Elks, we were
black. Before there were any such
things as Jews or Christians, we
were black people. In fact long before
there was ever any such place as
America, we were black people... And
after America has long passed from
the scene there will still be BLACK
PEOPLE.

CLOSE - BENJAMIN

He is neatly dressed in white shirt, jacket and tie, a fine
young Muslim.

BENJAMIN 2X
Take your time.

INT. CHICAGO TEMPLE - NIGHT

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad sits on the stage to the right
of Malcolm.

This is a larger audience.

MALCOLM
What kind of black people does the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad speak for?
Black people who are jobless... the
black masses who are poor, hungry,
and angry, the black masses who are
dissatisfied with the slums and
ghettos in which we have been forced
to live... the black masses who are
tired of listening to the promises
of white politicians to correct the
miserable living conditions that
exist in our community... the black
masses that are sick of the inhuman
acts of bestial brutality practiced
by these semi-savage white policemen
that patrol our community, like the
occupation forces of a conquering
enemy army... the black masses who
are fed up with the anemic, Uncle
Tom leadership set up by the white
man to act as a spokesman for our
people and to KEEP US SATISFIED AND
PACIFIED WITH NOTHING!

CROWD - REACTIONS

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
If the black man cannot go back to
his own people and his own land,
Elijah Muhammad is asking that a
part of the United States be separated
and given to the Muslims so they can
live separately.

CLOSE - ELIJAH

MALCOLM
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the
only man the white people can deal
with in the solving of problems of
the so-called Negro...

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
...as Elijah Muhammad knows his
problems.

INT. BETTY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

A modest room. She is rocking a cradle with her foot as she
writes:

BETTY'S VOICE
Attallah is fine. Our firstborn is
an angel and a beauty. And misses
you as I do. But the news that you've
dedicated four new temples is almost
as good as having you with us.

INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Malcolm sits in front of a television screen and watches the
evening news. The following speech will be INTERCUT with

A SERIES OF OLD NEWSREEL FOOTAGE - BLACK & WHITE

(newsclips from Birmingham, Selma, Mississippi, and
elsewhere):

-- POLICE using dogs against DEMONSTRATORS.

-- The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King marching.

-- Cattle prods used against MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN.

-- The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King singing "We Shall
Overcome."

-- PREGNANT WOMAN knocked down by high-pressure water hoses.

-- The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King leading a crowd in
prayer.

-- Students sitting in at a counter.

-- The smoldering ruins of Birmingham's 16th St. Baptist
church.

MALCOLM/HIS VOICE
The white people who are guilty of
white supremacy try and hide their
own guilt by accusing the Honorable
Elijah Muhammad of teaching black
supremacy when he tries to uplift
the mentality, the social, and
economic condition of black people
in this country. And the Jews, who
have been guilty of exploiting the
black people economically, civilly,
and otherwise, hide their guilt by
accusing the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
of being anti-Semitic simply because
he teaches our people to go into
business for ourselves and trying to
take over the economic leadership in
our own community. The black people
in this country have been the victims
of violence at the hands of the white
man for 400 years, and following the
ignorant Negro preachers, we have
thought that it was God-like to turn
the other cheek to the brute that
was brutalizing us. 100 years ago
they use to put on a white sheet and
use a bloodhound against Negroes.
Today they've taken off sheets and
put on police uniforms, they've traded
in the bloodhounds for police dogs.
And just as Uncle Tom back during
slavery used to keep the Negroes
from resisting the bloodhounds or
resisting the Ku Klux Klan by telling
them to love their enemy or pray for
those who use them as spitefully
today. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad
is showing black people that just as
the white man and every other person
on this earth has God given rights,
natural rights, civil rights, and
any other kind of rights that you
can think of when it comes to
defending himself.

INT. TV STUDIO

CLOSE SHOT - MALCOLM'S FACE

With a studio mike around his neck, he's on a panel show.

ANGLE - MODERATOR

MODERATOR
Mr. X, before we start our discussion
tonight -- The Black Muslims: Hate
Mongers -- would you mind explaining
for us the meaning of your name,
which is the letter X.

ANGLE - PANEL

Opposing Malcolm is DR. PAYSON, a NAACP-type NEGRO.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Yes sir. As you know, during slavery
time, the slavemasters named most of
the so-called Negroes in America
after themselves. Mr. Elijah Muhammad
teaches us once you come into the
knowledge of Islam, you replace your
slave name with an X. Since we've
been disconnected, cut off from our
Eastern culture for so long that we
don't know the names we originally
had, we will use X until we get back
to the East.

ANGLE - MODERATOR

MODERATOR
Thank you. Now Dr. Payson.

CLOSE - DR. PAYSON

DR. PAYSON
Mr. X is a demagogue. He has no place
to go, so he exaggerates. He's a
disservice to every good law-abiding
Negro in the country. Can I ask you
a question?

CLOSE: - DR. PAYSON

MALCOLM
Please, go ahead.

DR. PAYSON
Mr. Malcolm X, why do you teach black
supremacy? Why do you teach hate?

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
For the white man to ask the black
man if he hates him is just like the
rapist asking the raped, or the wolf
asking the sheep, "Do you hate me!"
The white man is in no moral position
to accuse anyone of hate.

ANGLE - PANEL

MODERATOR
Certainly, Mr. X, you must admit
there has been progress.

MALCOLM
I'll talk about "progress" in a
minute, but let me finish with my
brother.

Malcolm gestures to the Negro panelist. The BLACK MEMBERS of
the TV audience are lapping it up. Betty and Earl also sit
in the TV studio audience.

MALCOLM
Stop me if I'm wrong. I "polarize
the community." I "erroneously
appraise the racial picture."

DR. PAYSON
You put it very well.

MALCOLM
You left one phrase out. Another
educated Kneegrew said to me and I
quote: "Brother Malcolm oversimplifies
the dynamic interstices of the Negro
subculture." Would you agree?

DR. PAYSON
Entirely.

ANGLE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Well, I have this to say. Do you
know what a Negro with a B.A., an
M.A. and a Ph.D. is called -- by the
white man? I'll tell you. He's called
a nigger.

There is some blanching and guffawing from the audience. The
moderator is totally embarrassed, Betty roars.

MALCOLM
And I'm not finished. To understand
this man --

He points a sharp finger at the Negro Panelist.

MALCOLM
-- you must know that historically
there are two kinds of slaves. House
Negroes and Field Negroes. The house
Negro lived in the big house; he
dressed pretty good; he ate pretty
good and he loved the master. Yeah,
he loved him more than the master
loved himself. If the master's house
caught fire, he'd be the first to
put the blaze out. If the master got
sick, he'd say: "What's a matter,
boss; we sick?" WE sick! If someone
said to him, "Let's run away and
escape. Let's separate." He'd say,
"Man, are you crazy? What's better
than what I got here?" That was the
House Negro. In those days he was
called the House Nigger. Well, that's
what we call them today because we
still got a lot of House Niggers
running around.

There is applause from the blacks in the audience. Moderator
tries to regain control.

INT. ELIJAH'S OFFICE - DAY

CLOSE - THE HONORABLE ELIJAH MUHAMMAD

He is enjoying this display by his prize student, the CAMERA
PANS to a CLOSE SHOT of BEMBRY and the same cannot be said.

BACK TO STUDIO

MODERATOR
I think, perhaps, Dr. Payson has
something to --

MALCOLM
Don't you want to hear about the
Field Nigger?

DR. PAYSON
Let him finish.

MALCOLM
Thank you. Now the Negro in the field
caught hell all day long. He was
beaten by the master; he lived in a
shack, wore castoff clothes and hated
his master. If the house caught fire,
he'd pray for a wind. If the master
got sick, he'd pray that he'd die.
And if you said to him, "Let's go,
let's separate", he'd yell, "Yeah,
man, any place is better than this."
You've got a lot of Field Negroes in
America today. I'm one.

BROTHER BENJAMIN
Tell it.

MALCOLM
-- there's another one. The majority
of black Americans today are Field
Negroes. They don't talk about OUR
progress, about OUR government, OUR
navy, OUR astronauts. Hell, they
won't even let you near the plant.

INT. ELIJAH'S OFFICE - DAY

Bembry turns off the TV set and he commences to plant the
seeds of "betrayal."

CLOSE - BEMBRY

BEMBRY
Your holy apostle, dear Messenger, I
am your true servant and the brothers
asked me to tell you Malcolm is
getting too much press. The brothers
think he thinks he is the Nation of
Islam, that he has aspirations to
lead the Nation. It was you who made
Malcolm the man he is. You lifted
him out of the darkness.

CLOSE - ELIJAH

ELIJAH
Go and tell the brothers what Brother
Minister is doing, has done, has
been of great benefit to the Nation.

CLOSER - BEMBRY

BEMBRY
Great benefit for himself.

BRIEF MONTAGE. THE RISE OF MALCOLM X

EXT. STREET - HARLEM - DAY

Malcolm is walking the streets of Harlem like he is
campaigning for office. He has Brothers Sidney, Earl, and
Benjamin at his side, a CROWD follows him. Malcolm sees a
WINO.

MALCOLM
Brother Man, put that bottle down,
take that poison away from your lips.
That's what the devil wants you to
do, stay high, out of your natural
mind. I know, I've been there.

The wino looks at Malcolm and continues to drink his wine.

-- Malcolm emerges from a doorway to be met by an army of TV
REPORTERS armed with microphones. He walks; they follow.

-- Malcolm walking in Harlem, urging people to lift themselves
up, come to the meetings, etc.

INT. TEMPLE #7

Malcolm sits with Benjamin.

MALCOLM
It's time you received your X. But
first you must copy this letter,
exactly as I give it to you; down to
the dotted "i's," crossed "t's,"
everything. And you must go on a
fast, just water and juices, that's
it.

CLOSE - BENJAMIN

He takes the letter from Malcolm and looks at it.

BENJAMIN
I'll have it tomorrow.

MALCOLM
Brother Benjamin, do not rush, it
has to be exact.

-- Benjamin goes off in a corner and very quickly copies the
letter, he's so anxious.

-- Benjamin hands Malcolm his letter, Malcolm shakes his
head and hands it back, it's not exact.

EXT. STREET - HARLEM - DAY

Malcolm is talking to a group of PEOPLE who are having a
rent strike.

MALCOLM
When you live in a poor neighborhood,
you're living in an area where you
have poor schools.

CUTAWAY TO MALCOLM AND BENJAMIN

Malcolm hands him back his letter again. The fast is getting
to Benjamin.

MALCOLM
When you have poor schools you have
poor teachers. When you have poor
teachers, you get a poor education.

CUTAWAYS TO THE DESPAIR OF HARLEM - SLUMS, TENEMENTS, GARBAGE,
RATS

MALCOLM
Poor education, you only work on
poor paying jobs and that enables
you to live again in a poor
neighborhood.

CUTAWAY TO BLACK FACES

MALCOLM
So it's a very vicious cycle. We've
got to break it.

INT. MUSLIM CAFETERIA

Benjamin weakly walks toward Malcolm and gives him his letter,
which he takes. The fast is wearing him out.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Malcolm is inspecting it.

CLOSE - BENJAMIN

His face is filled with apprehension.

ANGLE - MALCOLM AND BENJAMIN

MALCOLM
You are now Benjamin 2X.

BENJAMIN 2X
All praises are due to Allah. Thank
you, Brother Minister.

MALCOLM
Come, sit with us.

ANGLE - TABLE

Benjamin 2X sits with Malcolm and Brothers Earl and Sidney.

MALCOLM
We are now sitting with Brother
Benjamin 2X.

EARL
Allah Akbar.

SIDNEY
You will be good.

BENJAMIN 2X
Brother Minister, can I have something
to eat?

Everyone laughs.

MALCOLM
Let's get this man some food.

EXT. HARVARD SQUARE - DAY

A CROWD OF STUDENTS outside the Law School. The setting is
the same as the last time we saw Malcolm and Shorty here,
except now the students part for him. Malcolm walks slowly
toward the entrance, looking up at the Latin inscription of
the building when he is stopped by a WHITE COED.

COED
Mr. X, I've read some of your speeches
and I honestly believe a lot of what
you say has truth to it. I have a
good heart. I'm a good person despite
my whiteness. What can the good white
people like myself, who are not
prejudiced, or racist, what can we
do to help the cause?

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He stares at her.

MALCOLM
Nothing!

CLOSE - COED

She is absolutely crushed and runs away in tears.

INT. HARVARD LAW SCHOOL - DAY

Speaking to a packed STUDENT AUDIENCE.

MALCOLM
...My high school was the black ghetto
of Roxbury. My college was the streets
of Harlem, and I took my masters in
prison. If you look out the window --

SHOT MALCOLM'S OLD GANG HANGOUT

MALCOLM'S VOICE
-- you can see my burglary hangout.
I lived like an animal. Had it not
been for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
I would surely be in an insane asylum
or dead.

ANGLE - The audience carefully listening.

MALCOLM
Mr. Muhammad is trying to get us on
God's side, so God will be on our
side to help us fight our battles.
When Negroes stop getting drunk,
stop being addicted to drugs, stop
fornicating and committing adultery.
When we get off the welfare, then
we'll be MEN. Earn what you need for
your family, then your family respects
you. They'll be proud to say "That's
my father." She's proud to say "That's
my husband..." Father means you're
taking care of those children. Just
'cause you made them that don't mean
you're a father. Anybody can make a
baby, but anybody can't take care of
them. Anyone can go and get a woman
but anybody can't take care of a
woman. This is the type of teaching
that the honorable Elijah Muhammad
teaches us so we can build the moral
fiber of our people.

SHOT OF REPORTERS IN AUDIENCE

Beginning to scribble furiously.

MALCOLM
I can see the gentlemen of the press,
also the FBI and CIA are with us.
Get it straight 'cuz if I said, "Mary
had a little lamb," they'd write
Malcolm X lampoons poor Mary.

Loud laughter from the audience. But this response is
overwhelmed by the response of ANOTHER, LARGER AUDIENCE.

INT. MONSTER RALLY - NIGHT

Malcolm is talking before an all-black audience. It is the
largest rally yet; the hall is packed to the rafters.

MALCOLM
We have built temples in Boston, in
Detroit, in Atlanta, Philadelphia,
Washington -- 100 temples in fifty
states. From a handful we have grown
to scores of thousands.

VARIOUS SHOTS OF THE RALLY

HAWKERS selling The Messenger, faces of Fruit of Islam near
the podium; Lorraine, Sidney, Earl, Benjamin, and Bembry.
For the first time a new note is seen in Bembry's face:
reserve bordering on resentment. When others around him cheer
Malcolm, Bembry is cool.

Sidney notices this from his father, but makes no comment.

MALCOLM/HIS VOICE
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches
us that God is now about to establish
a kingdom on this earth based on
brotherhood and
([...])
against peace, his history on this
earth has proved that. Nowhere in
history has he been brotherly toward
anyone. The only time he has been
brotherly toward you is when he can
use you, when he can exploit you,
when he can oppress you, when you
will submit to him. And since his
own history makes him unqualified to
be an inhabitant or a citizen in a
kingdom of brotherhood, the Honorable
Elijah Muhammad teaches us that God
is about to eliminate that particular
race from this earth. So since they
are due for elimination, we don't
want to be with them.

ANGLE - CROWD

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
If the so-called Negro were American
citizens we wouldn't have a race
problem. If the Emancipation
Proclamation was authentic, you
wouldn't have a race problem. If the
13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to
the Constitution was authentic, you
wouldn't have a race problem. If the
Supreme Court desegregation decision
was authentic, you wouldn't have a
race problem. All of this is
hypocrisy. These Negro leaders have
been telling the white man everything
is all right, everything is under
control. And they've been telling
the white man that Mr. Muhammad is
wrong, don't listen to him. But
everything Mr. Muhammad has been
saying is going to come to pass is
now coming to pass and now the Negro
leaders are standing up saying that
we are about to have a racial
explosion. We're going to have a
racial explosion and that's more
dangerous than an atomic explosion.

ANGLE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
It's going to explode because black
people are dissatisfied. They're
dissatisfied now not only with the
white man, but with these Negroes
who have been sitting around here
posing as leaders and spokesmen for
black people. Anytime you put too
many sparks around a powder keg, the
thing is going to explode and if the
thing that explodes is still inside
the house, then the house will be
destroyed. So the Honorable Elijah
Muhammad is telling the white man
get this powder keg out of your house,
let the black people in this country
separate from him while there's still
time. And if the black man is allowed
to separate and go on onto some land
of his own, where he can solve his
problems, then there won't be any
explosion. COMPLETE SEPARATION IS
THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THE BLACK AND
WHITE PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY!!!

ANGLE - CROWD

A wave of cheers as people explode.

INT. AN ANTEROOM OF THE RALLY - NIGHT

The rally is over. A small room packed with PEOPLE
congratulating Malcolm, trying to touch him. He is the hero
of the hour. Sidney, Earl, and Benjamin with him, enjoying
the accolades and trying to help Malcolm make his way out.
Bembry stands apart, removed and silent.

MALCOLM
Thank you, Brother; Sister, how are
you?

SIDNEY
Please make way, please --

ANGLE. A WELL-KNOWN PERSONALITY (DICK GREGORY) is at the
door. He and Malcolm know each other well. Malcolm extends a
palm, but Gregory doesn't slap it.

GREGORY
Can I ask you something?

MALCOLM
Sure, man.

GREGORY
Are you Elijah's pimp?

MALCOLM
What?

GREGORY
(scornfully)
"His greatest greatness."

MALCOLM
Say what you're saying.

GREGORY
If you don't know, man, then I feel
sorriest for you.

INT. MALCOLM'S HOME - NIGHT

Betty, pregnant with child, is in a chair -- a newspaper in
her lap.

Malcolm is in the other room, putting his last daughter to
sleep. We hear him...

ANGLE - BEDROOM

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Okay, last hug.

As he enters, a smile on his face, but the concern of the
evening clearly imprinted. He sits down heavily. Betty watches
him carefully.

MALCOLM
Long day. Long night. Long year.
Long ten years.

He smiles. She doesn't.

MALCOLM
Why are you looking at me like that?

BETTY
Because you're in trouble.

MALCOLM
How do you know?

She smiles.

BETTY
Dear heart, because I know you.

A pause.

MALCOLM
I don't want to bring my troubles
home. You know that.

BETTY
I'm not made of glass.

MALCOLM
I just want to sit here and be still.

BETTY
We've never had a fight. Not a real
one. But we're going to have one
right now if you don't talk about
it.

MALCOLM
Talk about what?

BETTY
The talk is everywhere!

MALCOLM
There's always talk, always been
talk, and always will be talk. Don't
they say how I'm trying to take over
the Nation, how I'm getting rich off
the Nation?

BETTY
We'll get to that, too, but this
isn't just talk any more.

She picks up the newspaper and reads from it:

BETTY
"Los Angeles, UPI: Elijah Muhammad,
67-year-old leader of the Black Muslim
Movement, today faced paternity suits
from two former secretaries who
charged he fathered their four
children..."

MALCOLM
There are always slanders, always
lies. You're reading the devil's
lies. Can't you see they're trying
to bring us down, bring down the
Messenger.

BETTY
"Both women, in their 20's, charged
they had had intimacies with Elijah
Muhammad since 1957..."

MALCOLM
I was going to talk to Bembry about
it tonight.

BETTY
To Bembry? Is Bembry your friend?

MALCOLM
Woman, have you lost your mind? What's
the matter with you?

Betty gets up, goes to him gently.

BETTY
No, what's the matter with you? Wake
up! Are you so dedicated that you
have blinded yourself? Are you so
committed you cannot face the truth?
Bembry is the editor of the newspaper
you established. Ask him why your
name hasn't been in "Muhammad Speaks"
in over a year? Ask him why you rate
front page in every paper in the
country, but not a single sentence
in your own.

MALCOLM
(rationalizing)
I'm not interested in personal
publicity. Our people know what I'm
doing.

BETTY
Do you know what Bembry is doing?
You're so blind, everyone can see
this but you!!!

MALCOLM
Bembry saved my Life. The Honorable
Elijah Muhammad saved my life.

BETTY
A long time ago. You've repaid them
many times over. Ask them why they
have new cars and houses full of new
furniture.

MALCOLM
Is that what this is about? Material
wealth?

BETTY
What do we have, Malcolm. A broken-
down jalopy and the clothes on our
backs. We don't even own our own
home. What about our children? What
about me? You don't even own life
insurance.

MALCOLM
The Nation will provide for you and
the children if anything happens to
me.

BETTY
Will they? Are you sure? Are you
sure or are you blind?

She touches him very gently.

BETTY
Dear heart, you have to help me. I'm
raising our kids practically by
myself, while you're running all
over the world. You don't know how
many times the girls ask me when is
daddy coming home?

MALCOLM
What do you want me to do? Our people
need me.

BETTY
We need you too!

MALCOLM
What do you want me to do?

BETTY
Open your eyes, you can face death
24 hours a day; but the possibility
of betrayal never enters your mind.
If you won't do that for yourself do
it for us.

DETECTIVE MONTAGE

Malcolm knocks on the door of Evelyn Williams, one of the
two secretaries/wives. She opens the door and has child in
her arms.

ANGLE - APARTMENT

SISTER EVELYN
Her name is Eva Marie, she's 2 years
old. Brother Minister, I did nothing
wrong. I did nothing to be put in
isolation. I believed in him. I
believed in the Honorable Elijah
Muhammad.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He cannot believe what he is hearing, but he must. The truth
is before his eyes.

MALCOLM
Sister Evelyn, believe in Allah.

CUT TO:

INT. SISTER LUCILLE'S ROSARY APT. - DAY

ANGLE - MALCOLM

Malcolm is sitting holding both of the children. Sister
Lucille who is pregnant with 3rd child waddles across the
room to sit down on the sofa with him. She picks up one of
the kids from him.

ANGLE - SISTER LUCILLE

SISTER LUCILLE
This is Saudi, she's 3 and you have
Lisha, she's 2. Brother Minister the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the
father of my 3 children.

She touches her pregnant stomach.

SISTER LUCILLE
Brother Minister he often talked
about you. He loves you, loves you
like his own son. Says you are the
best, his greatest Minister but that
someday you would leave him and turn
against him.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
He told you that?

SISTER LUCILLE
Yes sir.

MALCOLM
Are you sure?

SISTER LUCILLE
Yes, I am, Brother Minister. All I
want is support for my children. He
should provide for his children.
That's all I want.

MALCOLM
Allah will provide.

INT. BEMBRY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

CLOSE SHOT - MALCOLM

He has said everything on his mind and waits for Bembry's
answer.

PAN TO BEMBRY

BEMBRY
What are you talking about --
"blackout"? Some of the Brothers are
a little jealous. Maybe they think
you been a little -- overpublicized.
That's all. Forget it. It's nothing.

Malcolm is listening closely. Bembry puts an arm around him,
man-to-man.

BEMBRY
Now about our coming up in the world
a little. You're not naive. You're a
man of the world. The Movement's
grown; we've grown with it. You know
folks. They want their leaders to be
prosperous. One hand washes the other.

MALCOLM
(quoting Bembry back
to himself)
"I'm telling you God's words, not to
hustle."

BEMBRY
You want a new car? You want a new
house? Is that it? It's the money,
right?

Malcolm has to control his rage.

MALCOLM
We tell the world we're moral leaders
because we follow the personal example
of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
It's hard to make a rooster stop
crowing once the sun has risen. The
sun is up.

We hear rifle shots.

DRUM CADENCE (IT WILL BE THROUGHOUT ENTIRE SCENE)

INT. MANHATTAN CENTER - DAY

Malcolm, a last-minute replacement for the ailing Honorable
Elijah Muhammad, speaks before a HUGE CROWD.

MALCOLM
And what do I say of this so-called
national mourning! I say... the white
man's acts are condemned, not only
by our beliefs but by his own.

SHOT - AMERICAN FLAGS AT HALF-MAST

MALCOLM
Both his Bible and the Holy Koran
say: "As you sow, so shall you reap."
Both say: "Sow the wind, reap the
whirl wind."

SHOT - AMERICAN FLAGS AT HALF-MAST

MALCOLM
In the soil of America the white man
planted the seeds of hate. He allowed
the weeds that sprang up to choke
the life out of thousands of black
men.

SHOT - THE KENNEDY FUNERAL CORTEGE

MALCOLM
Now they have strangled one of the
gardeners. This is the justice of
Allah. Wa-Salaam Alaikum.

SHOT - AUDIENCE

AUDIENCE
Alaikum Wa-Salaam.

SHOT - THE LONE, RIDERLESS HORSE

INT. MALCOLM WITH REPORTERS - DAY

REPORTER
Minister X! Don't you have even a
little bit of remorse... saddened by
President Kennedy's assassination?

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Assassination might be too good a
word, and might I add an Arabic word
at that. This was a prime example of
the devil's chickens coming home to
roost. Being an old farm boy myself,
chickens coming home to roost never
did make me sad. It always made me
glad.

INT. ELIJAH'S OFFICE - DAY

On his desk is the black headlines: MALCOLM X CALLS
ASSASSINATION "CHICKENS COMING HOME TO ROOST." Elijah's health
is getting worse, his coughing is frequent.

ELIJAH
Did you see the papers today?

MALCOLM
Yes, sir, I did.

ELIJAH
That was a very bad statement. The
country loved this man, and you have
made it hard in general for Muslims.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He knows what is coming.

CLOSE - ELIJAH

ELIJAH
We must dissociate ourselves from
your terrible blunder. I'll have to
silence you for the next ninety days.
You are not allowed to make any
statements to the press nor are you
to speak at any temples.

CLOSER - MALCOLM

He looks at Elijah, his leader, his friend, his father and
speaks with total sincerity.

MALCOLM
I agree with you, sir. I submit 100
percent.

ANGLE - ROOM

Malcolm turns around and leaves the room.

ANGLE - DOOR

As the door is being closed, WE SEE Bembry kneeling before
Elijah and kissing his hand. The door closes, the SCREEN IS
BLACK.

FADE IN:

INT. MALCOLM'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Sidney is playing on the floor with the kids. Betty scoops
them up.

BETTY
C'mon girls, it's bedtime.

The phone rings. Malcolm answers it. From his expression we
know it is a threat call. He hangs up. Betty leaves with the
kids.

SIDNEY
Another one?

MALCOLM
How long has this been going on?

SIDNEY
All day since you and Betty left.
Brother Minister, I have to level
with you. They gave me a mission.
But I couldn't do it. I love y'all.

MALCOLM
What mission?

SIDNEY
To wire your car so it would explode
when you turned the ignition. The
Ministers say you are spreading
untruths about the Messenger. The
Ministers say you are a great
hypocrite, Judas, Benedict Arnold.
The Ministers say your tongue should
be cut out and delivered to the
Messenger's doorstep.

MALCOLM
What does Sidney say?

SIDNEY
I'm with you, Brother Minister.

MALCOLM
No. You'll be marked for death.

SIDNEY
Let me die then.

MALCOLM
I won't let myself come between you
and your father. Go home.

SIDNEY
You're my father.

MALCOLM
And don't come back.

Sidney reluctantly leaves, walks out the door, past Betty.
She looks at him, then Malcolm.

INT. HOTEL THERESA - DAY

Malcolm -- backed by Brothers Earl and Benjamin 2X -- faces
a roomful of SUPPORTERS and REPORTERS.

MALCOLM
Because 1964 threatens to be a very
explosive year on the racial front,
and because I myself intend to be
very active in every phase of the
American Negro struggle for HUMAN
RIGHTS, I have called this press
conference, this morning in order to
clarify my own position in the
struggle -- especially in regards to
politics and nonviolence. In the
past I thought the thoughts, spoke
the words of the Honorable Elijah
Muhammad, that day is over. From now
on I speak my own words, and think
my own thoughts. Internal differences
within the Nation of Islam forced me
out of it. I did not leave of my own
free will. But now that it has
happened, I intend to make the most
of it. Now that I have more
independence of action, I intend to
use a more flexible approach toward
working with others to get a solution
to this problem. I do not pretend to
be a divine man, but I do believe in
divine guidance, divine power, and
in the fulfillment of divine prophecy.
I am not educated, nor am I an expert
in any particular field, but I am
sincere, and my sincerity is my
credentials. I'm not out to fight
other Negro leaders or organizations.
We must find a common solution, to a
common problem. I am going to organize
and head a new mosque in New York
City, known as the Muslim Mosque,
Inc. This gives us a religious base,
and the spiritual force necessary to
rid our people of the vices that
destroy the moral fiber of our
community. Our political philosophy
will be black nationalism. Our
economic and social philosophy will
be black nationalism. The Muslim
Mosque, Inc. will remain wide open
for ideas and financial aid from all
quarters. Whites can help us, but
they can't join us. There can be no
black-white unity until there is
first some black unity.

A host of questions fired all at once: How many of Elijah's
followers will join you? etc, etc, etc.

Malcolm calms them:

MALCOLM
There is one further preparation I
need. It is a return to the source
of our great religion. I will make a
pilgrimage to Mecca.

EXT. JFK AIRPORT - DAY

Malcolm, at the window, as his plane takes off. He is watching
Betty and the children on the Visitors' Ramp. He sees her
become a tiny figure, waving a vivid bandana.

EXT. VISITORS RAMP - DAY

The plane is out of sight. Betty gathers up her children. As
they leave she is subtly surrounded by the protecting BAND
OF SUPPORTERS, led by Earl and Benjamin 2X.

MECCA - THE PILGRIMAGE MALCOLM GREETED AS HE DESCENDS FROM
THE PLANE IN EGYPT

MALCOLM'S VOICE
My darling Betty. Everywhere I go I
am welcomed as the representative of
our people.

SHOT OF CIA AGENT

He watches as Malcolm walks between the two pyramids.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Our fight is known and respected
worldwide. Incidentally, there's a
little white man who follows me
wherever I go.

SHOT OF MALCOLM

On a camel as he rides toward the Sphinx.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
I wonder who he's working for? If I
was a betting man, I'd say CIA. What's
your guess?

GROUPS OF BURNOOSED SUPPORTERS ON THE STREETS OF JEDDA, SAUDI
ARABIA.

BETTY'S VOICE
I arrived in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. I
have never witnessed such sincere...

INT. AUDUBON BALLROOM - NIGHT

Betty is reading Malcolm's letter to a LARGE AUDIENCE.

BETTY
...hospitality and true brotherhood
as practiced here in the ancient
home of Abraham, Mohammad and the
great prophets of the Scriptures..."

INT/EXT. MECCA - DAY/NIGHT

-- Malcolm, wearing the garb of a pilgrim, walks with a VAST
THRONG OF OTHERS, similarly clad, around the Great Temple.
He wears two white towels, one over his loins, the other
over his neck and shoulder, leaving the right arm and shoulder
bare. He wears simple sandals. The other pilgrims are of
various colors: from white, to yellow, to darkest black.

-- Malcolm and OTHER PILGRIMS kneeling together on a praying
rug.

-- Malcolm and SEVERAL WHITE PILGRIMS eating Muslim-style;
breaking a chicken and shaking it.

-- Malcolm and OTHERS walking around the Great Kaaba, a black
stone set in the middle of the Great Mosque. He falls to his
knees. WE SEE what he describes:

MALCOLM'S VOICE
Today, with thousands of others, I
proclaimed God's greatness in the
Holy City of Mecca. Wearing the Ihram
garb I made my seven circuits around
the Kaaba; I drank from the well of
Zem Zem; I prayed to Allah from Mt.
Ararat where the Ark landed. It was
the only time in my life that I stood
before the Creator of all and felt
like a complete human being.

INT. ELIJAH'S HOME - NIGHT

Elijah and a GROUP OF BLACK MUSLIM LEADERS. Bembry among
them, it looks like he is the number two man now that Malcolm
has been jettisoned. The Messenger lies in bed, he is having
a coughing fit, this is the worst condition he's been in. A
DOCTOR orders everyone out the room.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
You may be shocked by these words,
but I have eaten from the same plate,
drunk from the same glass and prayed
to the same God with fellow Muslims
whose eyes were blue, whose hair was
blond and whose skin was the whitest
of whites. And we are brothers, truly;
people of all colors and races
believing in One God and one humanity.
Once before, in prison, the truth
came and blinded me. It has happened
again...

INT. MALCOLM'S HOME - NIGHT

Betty is with Brothers Earl, Benjamin 2X, and the children.
There are now four including another BABY - GAMILAH

MALCOLM'S VOICE
In the past, I have permitted myself
to be used to make sweeping
indictments of all white people, and
these generalizations have caused
injuries to some white folks who did
not deserve them. Because of the
spiritual rebirth which I was blessed
to undergo as a result of my
pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca,
I no longer subscribe to sweeping
indictments of one race. I intend to
be careful not to sentence anyone
who has not been proven guilty. I'm
not a racist and do not subscribe to
any of the tenets of racism. In all
honesty and sincerity it can be stated
that I wish nothing but freedom,
justice and equality: life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness for all
people.

SHOT. Malcolm is bent over in prayer, lone figure in a huge
mosque.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
My first concern, of course, is with
the group to which I belong, the
Afro-Americans, for we, more than
any other, are deprived of these
inalienable rights.

SHOT. Malcolm on a plane headed home.

MALCOLM'S VOICE
I believe the true practice of Islam
can remove the cancer of racism from
the hearts and souls of white
Americans.

EXT. JFK AIRPORT - DAY

A TIGHT TWO-SHOT of Malcolm and Betty in an embrace. She
breaks from him and whispers: "Go ahead. I can wait now."

INT. JFK AIRPORT - DAY

A large PRESS CONFERENCE: mikes of every network, every
newspaper and wire service present. Malcolm sports a beard.

MALCOLM
Let's begin.

REPORTER #1
Malcolm, you said on your trip abroad
you sensed a feeling of great
brotherhood.

MALCOLM
As I recall, I pointed out that while
I was in Mecca making the pilgrimage,
I spoke about the brotherhood that
existed at all levels among all
people, all colors who had accepted
the religion of Islam. I pointed out
that what it had done, Islam, for
those people despite their complexion
differences, that it would probably
do America well to study the religion
of Islam and perhaps it could drive
some of the racism from this society.
Muslims look upon themselves as human
beings, as part of the human family
and therefore look upon all other
segments of the human family as part
of that same family. Today my friends
are black, brown, red, yellow and
white.

REPORTER #8
Malcolm, are you prepared to go to
the United Nations at this point and
ask that charges be brought against
the United States for its treatment
of the American Negroes?

MALCOLM
Oh yes.

The AUDIENCE applauds.

MALCOLM
The audience will have to be quiet.
Yes, as I pointed out that during my
trip that nations, African nations,
Asian, Latin nations look very
hypocritical when they stand up in
the UN condemning South Africa and
saying nothing about the racist
practices that are manifested everyday
against Negroes in this society. I
would be not a man if I didn't do
so. I wouldn't be a man.

REPORTER #3
Are you prepared to work with some
of the leaders of some of the other
civil rights organizations?

MALCOLM
Certainly, we will work with any
groups, organizations or leaders in
any way, as long as it's genuinely
designed to get results.

REPORTER #1
Does the new beard have any religious
significance?

MALCOLM
No, not particularly. But I do think
that you will and black people in
America, as they strive to throw off
the shackles of mental colonialism,
will also probably reflect an effort
to throw off the shackles of cultural
colonialism. And then they'll begin
to reflect desires of their own with
standards of their own.

REPORTER #2
One of your more controversial remarks
was a call for black people to get
rifles and form rifle clubs sometime
back. Do you still favor that for
self-defense?

MALCOLM
I don't see why that should be
controversial. I think that if white
people found themselves victim of
the same kind of brutality that black
people in this country face, and
they saw that the government was
either unwilling or unable to protect
them, that the intelligence on the
part of the whites would make them
get some rifles and protect
themselves.

REPORTER #2
What about the guns, Malcolm?

MALCOLM
Has the white man changed since I
went away? Have you put up your guns?
The day you stop being violent against
my people will be the day I tell
folks to put away their guns.

REPORTER #3
Then you're still an extremist?

ANGLE - MUSLIM MALE

BENJAMIN THOMAS
Git your hand out of my pocket!

Everyone turns around to the back to see what the commotion
is about.

The man who yelled out leaves quickly, we will see him later
on, very soon.

INT. MALCOLM'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Malcolm looks out the living room window, he has a rifle in
hand.

(NOTE: This is the same pose as the famous photograph of
him.) He doesn't see anyone and closes the curtain. The phone
rings.

CLOSE - PHONE

Malcolm picks up the receiver.

VOICE
You're one dead nigger.

ANGLE - BEDROOM

Betty has picked up also and she's listening.

VOICE
You're days on this earth are
numbered, brother.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

CLICK!

He hangs up.

ANGLE - BEDROOM

Malcolm enters the room and gets into the bed with Betty, he
puts his ear down on his wife's pregnant stomach.

She kisses him.

BETTY
Get some sleep.

MALCOLM
You have to sleep for three.

Malcolm pulls Betty closer to him.

MALCOLM
I'm sorry. I haven't been the best
husband or father.

BETTY
Shhh!

MALCOLM
Families shouldn't be separated.
I'll never make another long trip
without you and the kids. We'll all
be together.

BETTY
Dear heart, I love you.

MALCOLM
We had the best organization that
black people ever had and niggers
ruined it.

EXT. THE HOUSE - NIGHT

It is a cold winter night. A Molotov cocktail is lit and
hurled through the front picture glass window.

INT. THE HOUSE - NIGHT

One of the children screams.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

INT. MALCOLM'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Malcolm grabs his pistol and quickly throws a coat over Betty.
She is half-asleep, frightened, trembling and disoriented.

MALCOLM
Walk out the back, dear. Hurry.

Betty goes. Malcolm runs back for the children.

ANGLE. He reassuringly leads the four children, in their
pajamas, through the smoke-filled house.

MALCOLM
There's nothing to be afraid of. It
might be a little cold. Hang on.
We'll be fine.

INSERT - FLASHBACK

WE CUT BACK TO Earl Little getting his family out of the
burning house in Lansing, Michigan. It should be the same
exact scene we saw before earlier in the film.

EARL
Everybody out. OUT! OUT! Get the
kids.

CUT BACK TO PRESENT

EXT. THE HOUSE - NIGHT

Neighbors' lights have gone on. There are shouts: "What is
it?" "Fire!" "Bring those children in here."

MALCOLM
Call the Fire Department.

EXT. THE HOUSE - NIGHT (LATER)

A hose is playing on the fire. Police cars have arrived.
There are TWO REPORTERS with the COPS. Malcolm faces them
furiously.

MALCOLM
And the fire hit the window and it
woke up my second oldest baby, but
the fire burned on the outside of
the house. It could have fallen on
six-, four-, or two-year-old girls.
And I'm going to tell you, if it had
done it, I'd've taken my rifle and
gone after anybody in sight.

REPORTER
Are the Muslims behind this?

MALCOLM
It was bombed by the Black Muslim
movement upon the orders of Elijah
Muhammad.

SECOND REPORTER
Do you know what Muslim headquarters
is saying?

MALCOLM
(with total contempt)
I can imagine. I did it myself. For
the publicity.

EXT. TEMPLE #1 - DETROIT - DAY

Bembry is being interviewed by a reporter.

BEMBRY
We feel this is a publicity stunt on
the part of Malcolm X. We hope this
isn't a case of "if he can't keep
the house, we won't get it either."

EXT. MALCOLM'S STREET - NIGHT

A car comes roaring down the street with rifles sticking out
the windows, and pulls right up in front of Malcolm's house.

ANGLE - HOUSE

Brothers Earl and Benjamin 2X run out of the car up to
Malcolm.

BROTHER EARL
We called your house, operator said
you had requested that your phone be
turned off.

BENJAMIN 2X
Give us the command, Malcolm.

MALCOLM
I don't care about myself, my wife
and four children were sleeping in
their beds, they have nothing to do
with this.

BROTHER EARL
Let's get out of this cold.

Brothers Earl and Benjamin take off their coats and put it
over Malcolm and lead him to a police car.

INT. BASEMENT - DAY

FIVE BLACK MEN sit around a table. They do not speak. They
are Thomas Hayer, Ben Thomas, Leon Davis, William X and Wilbur
Kinley. All are Muslims, all are the ASSASSINS.

CLOSE - 12-GAUGE SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN ON TABLE CLOSE - 9MM GERMAN
LUGER ON TABLE CLOSE - .45 AUTOMATIC ANGLE - THOMAS HAYER

He puts a roll of exposed 35mm film into a sock.

ANGLE - TABLE

ASSASSINS
Allah Akbar.

EXT. NY HILTON - DAY - ESTABLISHING SHOT

INT. NY HILTON

ANGLE - LOBBY

Malcolm is checking in when he is approached by a young WHITE
COED.

COED
Mr. X. I have a good heart. I'm a
good person despite my whiteness.
What can the good white people like
myself who are not prejudiced do to
help the cause of the Negro?

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He looks at her. He thinks. He speaks.

MALCOLM
Let sincere white individuals find
other white people who feel as they
do and teach non-violence to those
whites who think and act so racist.

CLOSE - COED

COED
I will, Mr. X, I will.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Let's all pray without ceasing. May
Allah bless you.

INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Malcolm lies on his bed, and for the first time WE SEE the
strain in his face, it has begun to take its toll, he's a
haunted man. A doomed man.

ANGLE - MALCOLM

Malcolm dials the phone.

MALCOLM
Brother Earl.

INT. HOTEL THERESA - NIGHT

BROTHER EARL
Malcolm, where are you? We've been
calling all over the city.

INTERCUT between Malcolm and Brother Earl.

MALCOLM
I'm gonna try and get some work done
tonight.

BROTHER EARL
Let some of us come down there.

MALCOLM
No, that won't be necessary. I'll be
all right.

BROTHER EARL
I wish you'd listen to us. What about
the meeting tomorrow? We need to
frisk people.

MALCOLM
I don't want folks to be searched,
it makes people uncomfortable. If I
can't be safe among my own kind,
where can I be? Allah will protect
me.

There is silence on the other end.

CLOSE - BROTHER EARL

INT. AUDUBON BALLROOM - NIGHT

The five assassins are casing ballroom. They check the
different entrances, the exits, the bathrooms, staircases
while the jam packed crowd continues to dance the night away.

INT. A FRIEND'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Betty is putting her four daughters to sleep when the phone
rings. She picks it up.

VOICE
That red nigger of yours is dead and
so are your bastard children.

CLICK.

Betty hangs up the phone and it rings again.

BETTY
Stop calling us. Leave us alone.
Leave us alone. I'll kill you. I'll
kill you.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Betty it's me. It's me.

INTERCUT between between Malcolm and Betty.

BETTY
Malcolm, they keep calling,
threatening us. I'm going crazy,
when is this going to stop?

MALCOLM
Don't answer the phone. It's all
right. It's all right. Nothing is
gonna happen to anybody.

BETTY
Dear heart, where are you?

MALCOLM
At the Hilton. The girls asleep?

BETTY
I just put them to bed. Can we come
to the meeting tomorrow?

MALCOLM
I don't think that's such a good
idea.

EXT. ROAD

A blue 1968 Cadillac passes a sign that says Patterson, New
Jersey.

ANGLE - CAR

The assassins are on their way to the Audubon Ballroom, Wilbur
Kinley is behind the wheel, no one is talking.

EXT. STREET - DAY

Betty is driving to the Audubon Ballroom, her four daughters
are in the backseat making a racket.

EXT. STREET - DAY

Malcolm drives to the Audubon Ballroom.

INT. AUDUBON BALLROOM - DAY

Brothers Earl and Benjamin 2X along with some others are
putting the folding chairs in place for the coming meeting.
The audience has not started to come in yet.

EXT. GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE - DAY

The assassins are driving over the George Washington Bridge.

ANGLE - CAR

KINLEY
Brothers, the time is fast
approaching, it's the hour of the
knife.

EXT. STREET - DAY

CLOSE - BETTY

Betty is trying to quiet down her daughters as she drives.

EXT. STREET - DAY

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Malcolm is in deep thought as he drives.

INT. AUDUBON BALLROOM - DAY

Betty and her four kids walk into the ballroom and move down
the center aisle. One of the girls drops her black doll and
a young man picks it up. The young man is Thomas Hayer, he
gives it back to her.

BETTY
Say thank you.

GAMILAH
Thank you.

THOMAS
You are welcome.

ANGLE. The rest of the assassins come in and go to their
positions along with the rest of the crowd, the place is
starting to fill up.

INT. BACKSTAGE - DAY

BROTHER BENJAMIN 2X
No sign of the minister yet.

BROTHER EARL
He'll be here like clockwork.

EXT. STREET - DAY

Malcolm drives past the Audubon Ballroom, people are going
in but no cops are present.

ANGLE - CAR

Malcolm drives by.

ANGLE - STREET

Malcolm parks his car, it's four blocks away. He turns off
the ignition and sits there.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

It's as if he's frozen in his car.

ANGLE - STREET

Malcolm finally gets out of the car, locks the door and walks
a couple of steps, then stops.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Malcolm has stopped in his tracks, like some unseen force
has overcome him which prevents him from moving. Malcolm is
paralyzed.

CLOSER - MALCOLM'S FACE

His eyes are closed, and the street noise begins to build to
a deafening roar. Then all of a sudden it stops.

ANGLE - OLD WOMAN

OLD WOMAN
Son, you all right?

Malcolm opens his eyes, she has brought him out of it. He
looks at her but doesn't answer.

OLD WOMAN
Are you okay?

Malcolm looks at this old woman, who slightly resembles his
own mother.

MALCOLM
Ma'am, I'm fine.

OLD WOMAN
Good. We need you. I recognize you,
don't pay them folks no never mind,
you keep on doing what you doing.

MALCOLM
May Allah bless you.

OLD WOMAN
I'll pray for you too, son. Jesus
will protect you.

She walks away, carrying her two shopping bags full of
groceries.

INT. BACKSTAGE - DAY

Malcolm walks in. Present are Brothers Earl, Benjamin 2X and
a secretary SISTER ROBIN.

MALCOLM
Is the program ready?

BENJAMIN 2X
No, Brother Minister.

MALCOLM
Why not? You've had ample time, you
and the sister.

SISTER ROBIN
I apologize Brother Minister, we'll
have it next week.

He is pissed.

MALCOLM
Folks are sitting out there today,
not next week, expecting to hear our
program.

BENJAMIN 2X
Next week, Brother Minister.

MALCOLM
Has the Reverend called? Is he going
to show?

BROTHER EARL
Reverend Chickenwing called last
night and said he wouldn't be able
to attend.

MALCOLM
So now we have no opening speaker?
Why wasn't I informed last night?

BROTHER EARL
I called Sister Betty, she didn't
tell you?

MALCOLM
Since when do you start telling Sister
Betty my business? Since when? She
has nothing to do with this. You
tell me, not her, not anybody else.

BROTHER EARL
I assumed...

MALCOLM
What did I tell you about assuming?

Malcolm starts pacing the room, nobody has ever seen him
like this before.

MALCOLM
Benjamin, you better go out there
and explain why the program isn't
ready today.

Benjamin 2X gets up to leave.

MALCOLM
Sister, please go with the brother.

They both exit.

CLOSE - MALCOLM AND EARL

BROTHER EARL
Brother Minister, what is wrong?

MALCOLM
The way I feel, I ought not to go
out there today. In fact, I'm going
to ease some of this tension by
telling the black man not to fight
himself -- that's all a part of the
white man's big maneuver, to keep us
fighting amongst ourselves, against
each other. I'm not fighting anyone,
that's not what we're here for.

BROTHER EARL
Let's cancel.

MALCOLM
Is my family here yet?

BROTHER EARL
Down front as always.

INT. ANTEROOM - DAY

A lone COP in uniform stands in the shadows with a walkie-
talkie.

INT. BACKSTAGE - DAY

Malcolm is about to go on stage when he sees Sister Robin.

MALCOLM
You'll have to forgive me for raising
my voice to you.

SISTER ROBIN
Brother Minister, I understand.

MALCOLM
(to himself)
I wonder if anybody understands.

INT. AUDUBON BALLROOM - DAY

The place is filled. Betty and the girls sit in a boxed-off
section near the platform. Malcolm's bodyguards stand on and
around the stand.

Benjamin 2X is finishing up his speech when Malcolm walks
onto the stage and sits down.

MALCOLM
Make it plain.

BENJAMIN 2X
And now, without further remarks, I
present to you one who is willing to
put himself on the line for you --

CLOSE - BETTY AND THE KIDS CLOSE - THOMAS HAYER CLOSE - WILBUR
KINLEY CLOSE - LEON DAVIS CLOSE - BEN THOMAS CLOSE - WILLIAM
X CLOSE - MALCOLM X CLOSE - BENJAMIN 2X

BENJAMIN 2X
-- a man who would give his life for
you. I want you to hear, to listen,
to understand one who is a Trojan
for the black man.

ANGLE - STAGE

A roar greets Malcolm's intro. He shakes hands with Benjamin
2X, then steps toward the podium.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

He starts to rearrange his 3 x 5 index cards in his hands.

MALCOLM
Brothers and Sisters, Wa-Salaam
Alaikum.

AUDIENCE
Alaikum Wa-Salaam.

SWIFT JERKY PAN OF CAMERA

There is a commotion in the rear of the audience.

BENJAMIN THOMAS
Git your hand out of my pocket.

The bodyguards move toward the rear.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

MALCOLM
Hold it, brothers. Don't get excited.
Let's cool it --

ANGLE - WILLIAM

He stands up from the fourth row with 12-gauge sawed-off
shotgun blasting.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

Throws up his hands, grabs his chest and is knocked backward.

SHOTS - PURE PANDEMONIUM

People hit the floor, knock over chairs, stampede for the
exits.

ANGLE - BACK OF AUDITORIUM

Wilbur Kinley ignites a smoke bomb.

ANGLE - FIRST RUN

Thomas Hayer and Leon Davis stand up, run toward the stage,
and empty their .45's and Luger into the fallen body of
Malcolm.

ANGLE - BETTY

She is on the floor covering her children.

ANGLE - AISLE

Hayer and Davis charge up the aisle toward the rear exit,
shooting at the crowd.

ANGLE - BODYGUARD

He stands in Hayer's way, Hayer fires, he turns, the bullet
misses and the bodyguard gets off a shot which hits Hayer in
the leg.

ANGLE - HAYER

He stumbles momentarily, then limps on.

ANGLE - STAIRCASE

Hayer is running down the staircase when he is tripped, and
goes flying through the air to the bottom of the landing.
The crowd starts to beat the shit out of him, kicking him in
the head, etc., they're about to tear him apart from limb to
limb when a PATROLMAN enters with gun drawn.

He shoots gun into air and the crowd backs off and he takes
custody of Hayer.

ANGLE - STAGE

One of Malcolm's bodyguards, BROTHER GENE, is over him, giving
him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Brother Gene stops, Betty
moves in and hugs her dying husband.

BETTY
Somebody call an ambulance. Somebody
call an ambulance.

ANGLE - ENTRANCE

THIRTY COPS walk in like it's a spring Sunday stroll in
Central Park.

CLOSE - MALCOLM

His eyes are glazed over.

BETTY'S VOICE
They killed him. They killed him.

SHOT - BROTHERS EARL AND BENJAMIN 2X SITTING ON STAGE

SHOT - MALCOLM IS RUSHED ON A STRETCHER TO HOSPITAL NEXT
DOOR SHOT - HOSPITAL SPOKESPERSON

HOSPITAL SPOKESPERSON
The person you know as Malcolm is no
more.

THE STUNNED FACES OF BLACK PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE AUDUBON
BALLROOM...

--AND IN HARLEM.

OSSIE DAVIS speaking behind the above:

OSSIE DAVIS'S VOICE
Here at this final hour, in this
quiet place, Harlem has come to bid
farewell to one of its brightest
hopes, extinguished now and gone
from us forever.

DOLLY SHOT of the long line of people outside the funeral
parlor, waiting to see Malcolm's body, where it lies before
burial.

OSSIE DAVIS'S VOICE
For Harlem is where he worked, and
where he struggled and fought. His
home of homes, where his heart was
and where his people are. And it is
therefore most fitting that we meet
once again in Harlem to share these
last moments with him. For Harlem
has ever been gracious to those who
loved her, have fought for her and
defended her honor even to death. It
is not in the memory of man that
this beleaguered, unfortunate but
nonetheless proud community has found
a braver, more gallant young champion
than this Afro-American who lies
before us unconquered still. Many
will ask what Harlem finds to honor
in this stormy, controversial and
bold young captain and we will smile
and we will answer and say unto them:

SHOTS - FACES OF HARLEM - PRESENT DAY - THE 90'S

Ordinary PEOPLE in ordinary pursuits of life, BLACK PEOPLE
still struggling to stay afloat in a racist WHITE AMERICA
that does not have their best interests at hand -- 8 years
of Reagan and now at least 4 years of Bush.

OSSIE DAVIS'S VOICE
Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm?
Did you have him smile at you? Did
you ever listen to him? Did he ever
really do a mean thing? Was he ever
associated with violence or any public
disturbance?

SHOT - STREET SIGN - MALCOLM X BOULEVARD - HARLEM

SHOT - YOUNG AFRO-CENTRIC TEENAGERS WITH MALCOLM X T-SHIRTS,
HATS, JACKETS, JEWELRY, ETC.

OSSIE DAVIS'S VOICE
For if you did, you would know him
and if you knew him, you would know
why we must honor him.

SHOT - NEWSREEL FOOTAGE OF THE _REAL_ MALCOLM X

OSSIE DAVIS'S VOICE
Malcolm was our manhood, our living
black manhood. That was his meaning
to his people and in honoring him we
honor the best in ourselves.

FREEZE FRAME - A CLOSE-UP OF THE REAL MALCOLM X SMILING RIGHT
AT US.

CUT TO:

SHOT - INT. CLASSROOM BULLETIN BOARD

A picture collage of Malcolm X. It reads P.S. 153 -- Harlem
honors Malcolm on his birthdate May 19, 1935.

OSSIE DAVIS'S VOICE
And we will know him then for what
he was and is. A PRINCE, A BLACK
SHINING PRINCE who didn't hesitate
to die because he loved us so.

ANGLE - CLASSROOM

It's a fourth-grade class.

CLOSE - STUDENT

1ST STUDENT
I'm Malcolm X.

CLOSE - STUDENT

2ND STUDENT
I'm Malcolm X.

CLOSE - STUDENT

3RD STUDENT
I'm Malcolm X.

CLOSE - STUDENT

4TH FEMALE STUDENT
I'm Malcolm X.

INT. CLASSROOM - SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA - DAY

CLOSE - STUDENT

1ST STUDENT
I'm Malcolm X.

CLOSE - STUDENT

2ND STUDENT
I'm Malcolm X.

CLOSE - STUDENT

3RD STUDENT
I'm Malcolm X.

CLOSE - STUDENT

4TH FEMALE STUDENT
I'm Malcolm X.

CAMERA PANS slowly to head of class where the teacher stands,
it's NELSON MANDELA.

CLOSE - MANDELA

MANDELA
As Brother Malcolm said, "We declare
our right on this earth to be a man,
to be a human being, to be respected
as a human being, in this society,
on this earth, in this day, which we
intend to bring into existence by
any means necessary."

THE END

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