XSpeaks — “The House Negro and The Field Negro”

There were two kinds of Negroes. There was the old house Negro and there was the field Negro.  And the house Negro always looked out for his master. When the field Negro got too much out of line, he held him back in check. He put ’em back on the plantation.

The house Negro could afford to do that because he lives better than the field Negro. He ate better, he dressed better, and he lived in a better house. He lived right up next to his master—in the attic or in the basement. He ate the same food his master ate and he dressed in the same clothes. And he could talk just like his master—good diction. And he loved his master more than his master loved himself. That’s why he didn’t want his master hurt.

If the master got sick, he’d say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” [Laughter] When the master’s house caught afire, he’d try and put the fire out. He didn’t want his master’s house burned. He never wanted his master’s property threatened. He was more defensive of it then the master was. That was the house Negro.

— Malcolm X