AÂ small historical plaque on the south side of Lansing Michigan marks one of the childhood homes of Malcolm X. The unobtrusive state history marker was all that publicly recognized this remarkable political leader until now.
Thanks to a small, but dedicated group who thought the life of Malcolm X should be recognized in some public way, street signs went up this past week on the former Main Street in downtown Lansing. At some locations both Malcolm X and Main Street signs still share space. However one of the more interesting locations for the signage is where Malcolm X and Martin Luther King share the same sign post. It would be interesting to know if there is another location in the United States which shares this distinction.
Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little in 1925 in Omaha Nebraska, moved with his family to Lansing Michigan in 1926 after his father, a lay activist minister, was threatened by the Ku Klux Klan. Later, one Lansing house he lived in was burned down by the Black Legion, a racist group popular in that era. Little, spent a number of his formative years in Lansing Michigan before moving to rural Mason Michigan following what may have been a racially motivated killing of his father.
Prior to his own violent death in 1964, Malcolm X and Alex Haley of â€œRootsâ€ fame collaborated on his autobiography. It was published posthumously in 1965 as the â€œAutobiography of Malcolm Xâ€ and it is considered one of theÂ most important books of the American experience.
Little known to Lansing residents is that Malcolm XÂ returned to Lansing in 1958 where he was married by a justice of the peace to Betty Sanders.
Michigan State University Press has published an in-depth book, â€œMalcolm X: Inventing Radical Judgmentâ€,Â analyzing the political and social context of the speeches of Malcolm X. You can read more about that book by clicking here.
Read this passionate plea for recognizing Malcolm X by Lansing resident Doug Warren. Warrenâ€™s essay detailing why Lansing should name a street after Malcolm X appeared previously on Lansingonlinenews.com.
Everyone who worked on this effort should be congratulated and hopefully on May 19 â€“the 86th anniversary of the birth of Malcolm Little- there will be a city-wide recognition of Malcolm X in his old hometown where Malcolm and Martin are finally joined together.