By Dr. Willie Davis
LANSING, MI – In 1975, the original Malcolm X Homesite Historical Marker was erected at its current site in front of the Regency Townhouse apartments located on Vincent Court. This is where the original Little family home stood and where Malcolm X lived. In March of 2021, a vehicle destroyed the original marker.
Efforts by Dale Schrader, Preservation Lansing President and State Representative Sarah Anthony, developed the means and ways to replace the monument and embellished it with a more accurate version which also honored the Little family. Malcolm X’s original last name was Little. He was a member of the Nation of Islam which celebrated its break with the white world with the letter X.
Most notable with the new wording were references to the mother and father of Malcolm X, and a list of the children. The monument also relates the struggle of the Little family with white racists which resulted in Earl Little, Malcolm’s father dying under suspicious circumstances, and his mother being placed in a mental institution. She was later reunited with her family after 26 years and the children including Malcolm were sent to different foster homes though the children maintained contact with each other.
Much of the contention revolved around Earls’s membership in the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) led by Marcus Garvey whose back to Africa mantra gathered millions of followers from around the world.
The backside of the monument speaks of Malcolm’s life from foster homes to prison where he became a Black Muslim. His role in expanding the influence of the Nation of Islam and Black pride and his conversion to the Sunni Muslim faith.
Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik el Shabazz) also started The Organization of African American Unity (OAAU) –modeled after the Organization of African Unity uniting the nations of Africa. The ceremony also celebrated Malcolm X’s Birthday – May 19, 1925. Malcolm would be 97 years old but he was assassinated on February 21, 1965, at the age of 39. Notable speakers were Malcolm X’s niece, Debra Jones, a representative from the Michigan Historical Commission, an Iman from one of the local mosques, Mayor Andrew Schor, Representative Sarah Anthony, and Derrick Quinney, Ingham County Register of Deeds.
Photos courtesy of the City of Lansing