Interview with Ossie Davis

You told me you first became aware of the Nation and of Malcolm through a film called "The Hate that Hate Produced". Describe your reaction to that documentary its '59 or '60 or so. Tell me about that.


Well, I don't remember very much about the documentary except that young man with his flaming--well it wasn't red hair, you know--lean and gaunt and quite capable of using language to open wounds. I was amazed at his capacity to communicate and at the naked honesty with which he expressed his feelings about Black people, about White people. He scared me. I'm sure he intended to, but certainly after I saw him in "The Hate That Hate Produced," I knew that I would never forget this man. Now I had known a little bit by reading and other things that there was, you know, the Black Muslims. I had heard about them in general terms but it was that film ah that brought it into focus. Plus the fact that Ruby and I knew Louis Lomax. I had grown up as a boy in Georgia in the same town that Louis came from and knew his family and his uncle. And we also got to know Mike Wallace on a personal basis and they talked to us about what was happening behind the scene and everything like that. But the film did make an impact on everybody and introduced Malcolm to a national audience which gave him a great opportunity which he took full advantage of.