It was an honor to join an enthusiastic crowd today at the Malcolm X – Ella Little-Collins House on Dale Street in Roxbury for an announcement by the National Trust for Historic Preservation that the house will be listed as one of the 11 Most Endangered properties in the country. Mayor Menino was on hand to remind the crowd that while Malcolm X did get into “some trouble” during his time in Boston, his legacy lies in what he later overcame and accomplished as a human rights activist and leader of great national importance.
Owned by his half-sister, Ella Little-Collins, the house is where Malcolm X lived for several years as a young man. Working with Rodnell Collins, the current owner and son of Ms. Little-Collins, Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) is taking on the challenge of restoring the house so that its future is secured as a symbol of Malcolm X’s life, and a physical reminder of his role in American history. The house is also important as a representation of the interconnected web of relatives and neighbors who grew up in this tight-knit community.
HBI’s hope is to restore the building to its 1940s appearance, the period when Malcolm X lived there, and to provide housing for students of African American history, social justice, or civil rights. They are undertaking a $750,000 fundraising campaign to try to make this happen. With the spirit and inspiration embodies in this house, I have no doubt that they will make their goal.