The childhood home of minister and human rights activist Malcolm X has officially been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a D.C.-based nonprofit organization has said that the house, located in the Roxbury section of Boston, was the “last known surviving boyhood home” of the Civil Rights era icon and was the spot where Malcolm “spent his teenage years living with his half-sister, fellow Civil Rights icon Ella Little-Collins.”
“With the new designation, the house will be considered in all federal planning, may qualify for federal grants and will be eligible for tax provisions to rehabilitate the building,” said Li Cohen of CBS News.
“Malcolm and his sister moved into the house in 1941 when Little-Collins gained guardianship of Malcolm, who rose to be a prominent Black leader who was a spokesman for the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and ’60s,” Cohen reported. “He was known for encouraging people to fight against racism with whatever means were necessary.”
After his assassination in 1965, Little-Collins never returned to the house. However, she maintained ownership until her death in 1996, passing the property on to her son Rodnell Collins who has owned the historic building since.
The National Trust reported that the two-and-a-half-story house, located at 72 Dale Street, has been vacant for more than 30 years. With the new designation, Collins hopes that it can eventually be redeveloped into a living space for graduate students who are studying African American history, social justice or civil rights.
According to a statement from the National Trust, “Transforming the historic residence where Malcolm X spent his formative years into graduate student housing would provide an innovative model for sites across the country. The rehabilitation would not only restore an important part of American history but transform an underutilized structure into an active and vibrant part of the surrounding community.”
In addition to its historic connection to Malcolm X and Little-Collins, the National Trust said the house and its surrounding property may also provide another connection to even older history in the area, revealing potential “information about 18th-century farm practices within the landscape context for Roxbury and for its later 19th-century development as a streetcar suburb of Boston.”
“In 2016, the city of Boston conducted an archaeological dig at the site of the home and found kitchenware, ceramics and other items that dated back to the 1700s,” Cohen reported. “They also uncovered jewelry and toys from the 1970s.”