LANSING, Mich., May 20, 2022 – A new state historical marker honoring Malcolm X was erected today at 1003 Vincent Court in front of the Regency Townhomes in Lansing. The original marker was damaged in March by an errant driver. Deborah Jones, niece of Malcolm X, state Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), and representatives from the State Historical Commission and the city of Lansing officiated the dedication.
Anthony, who led the fundraising effort to replace the marker, said its destruction presented an opportunity to reframe the life of Malcolm X in Lansing. “The new marker presents a more accurate depiction of the influence of his parents, the Rev. Earl and Louise Little, who were leaders in the Marcus Garvey Universal Negro Improvement Association, which advocated for economic self-sufficiency for African Americans,” Anthony said. “In many ways, Lansing shaped the man Malcolm X would become. It is only right for our community to honor his legacy in this way.”
The marker site just off Martin Luther King Boulevard became the Littles’ home after their previous home on Lansing’s far westside near the airport was burned to the ground by what was thought to be members of the notorious Black Legion. The Little family also lived on Charles Street on Lansing’s East Side. All of the Little homes have been torn down.
Malcom Little attended Pleasant Grove Elementary School beginning in 1931 and West Junior High School before a welfare organization broke the family up and institutionalized Louise. Malcolm would then live with various families in Mason, Mich., attending Mason High School for seventh and eighth grade before moving to the East Coast when he was 16 years old.
He would later be imprisoned, convert to the Nation of Islam and become a leader in the civil rights movement. In January 1963, Malcolm X spoke to a sold out crowd at Michigan State University’s Erickson Kiva, and after visiting Mecca in 1964, he converted to the Sunni Faith. In the prime of his life, he was murdered in Harlem in 1965. During his lifetime, Malcolm X visited Lansing frequently to visit friends and family. In 1958, he and Betty Sanders were married in a Lansing courthouse with a reception held at a family member’s home on Butler Street.
“The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” co-written with Alex Haley, was published posthumously. This fall, the Historical Society of Greater Lansing and the Library of Michigan will be hosting a citywide read of his autobiography and bus tours to important sites reflecting Malcolm X’s time in Lansing.