Thursday, February 10, 2022

Malcolm X home placed on historic register

The Inkster home where Malcolm X once lived has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The home was placed on the national register, officials said, on Nov. 29 and was announced in a formal statement from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation last week.. The Williams Street home is being renovated and restored by a non-profit group funded by donations and a $380,000 grant from the National Park Service African American Civil Rights program.  

Project organizers are planning the construction of a museum at the home which will highlight the legacy of Malcolm X who lived there with his brother, Wilfred Little. He moved to the home following his incarceration on burglary charges in Boston in 1952.

The house was abandoned and left to ruin for decades until Aaron Sims, founder of Project We Hope, Dream & Believe, rescued the home from the Inkster demolition list. The organization has now purchased three lots on Williams Street, two next door to the home and one across the street, where construction of a community center and a job training/youth tutorial center are planned. 

The designation on the historic register was by a unanimous vote of the nine members of the State Historic Preservation Review Board. To qualify for the designation, the building must be at least 50 years old and have a significant relationship to major events or trends in the history of a community, state or nation.

Sims, now the executive director of Project We Hope, Dream & Believe, said the group is "working hard" toward the rehabilitation of the home which, he said, will focus on the life and legacy of Malcolm X and his human and civil rights activism. 

Wayne State University Professor and Project We Hope, Dream & Believe Project Manager Dr. Tareq A. Ramadan said they are working with the Wayne State Anthropology Department as part of the project.

"Malcolm had a relationship with Wayne State, too. In October of 1963, he gave a speech there in front of hundreds of students in the still-standing State Hall building, so it is befitting that the university and its students will be involved, again, today," Ramadan said.

Sims said they hope to have the renovation completed and the museum open to the public by August of 2023.

Born Malcolm Little, Malcolm X was shot and killed on Feb. 21, 1965, in New York City as he addressed his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights. He was 39.