Malcolm X House in Inkster listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

• African American Civil Rights leader Malcolm X resided in this house with his brother and family from 1952 to 1953 • Historic designation is an important step to rehabilitating the house for future reuse as an educational facility


LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today announced that the Malcolm X House in Inkster has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Administered in Michigan by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historic significance.

“A key aspect of the National Register program is to document and honor places that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history,” said Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Officer Mark A. Rodman. “People and places in Michigan played important roles in the Civil Rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. We are honored to join the city of Inkster in celebrating one of those roles with the listing of this home.”

Civil Rights leader Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His family relocated several times throughout his childhood before settling in Michigan, and he lived in Lansing, East Lansing, and Mason before moving to Boston and New York City in his teens. His family strongly believed in principles of self-reliance, independence, and a strong sense of Black pride. When Malcolm was just six years old his father died, and his eldest brother Wilfred assumed a largely paternal role, a role that he continued to play throughout Malcolm’s life.

Malcolm’s time on the East Coast led to trouble with the law, and ultimately ended with incarceration. Defiant at first, Malcolm eventually used this time as an opportunity to improve his education, build formidable debating skills, and learn more about the world around him. Inspired by a fellow inmate and several members of his family, Malcolm joined the Nation of Islam, an unorthodox pseudo-Islamic movement and organization operating within a Black Nationalist framework that was founded in Detroit in 1930. While in prison, Malcolm corresponded regularly with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, and this conversation together with other family members’ participation in the movement led to Malcolm’s eventual life-changing transformation.

Older brother Wilfred was already heavily involved in the Nation of Islam Temple No. 1 in Detroit when Malcolm was released from prison in Massachusetts. He came back to Michigan and resided with Wilfred and his family in this house in Inkster, located on Williams Street, near Annapolis Avenue.

It was during the time in late 1952 that Malcolm first met Elijah Muhammad in person and was conferred with the “X.” This marked the beginning of his extraordinary rise in the Nation of Islam and his development into one of its most persuasive and charismatic teachers. Malcolm’s time at his brother’s house coincided with the beginning of active surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which continued for the remainder of his life. He went on to play a key, and often provocative, role in the Civil Rights and racial justice movements of the 1950s and 1960s before he was assassinated in New York City in 1965.

Despite his transient life, few of the places Malcolm resided remain standing in 2022. Although vacant for several years, the form and structure of the modest house are largely intact as it was in the early 1950s when the Littles resided here. Important spaces such as Malcolm’s second-floor bedroom and the area where the family ritually prayed together still exist within.

“With so much of the physical legacy of Malcolm X lost over time, this house is all the more important,” said Michigan SHPO’s National Register Coordinator Todd Walsh. “Its significance is not simply its association with Malcolm X, but its connection to Malcolm at an incredibly pivotal time in his life. This house will help us better understand Malcolm X, not as an icon, but as a human being. It will also help us understand his family and the important role that played in his development into one of the most important figures in American history.”

The National Register listing is just the most recent step toward revitalizing this home. Under the leadership of Project We Hope, Dream & Believe, the house is being transformed into a museum that will focus on the life and significance of Malcolm X, advocacy, and as a youth learning center. The effort was recently aided by a $380,000 grant from the National Park Service African American Civil Rights program.

“We are working hard toward rehabilitating and renovating the Malcolm X house, with the goal of transforming the home into a museum that will showcase Malcolm’s life history, with special focus on his human and civil rights activism, as well as his relationship to the city of Inkster, which he referenced in one of his final speeches,” said Project We Hope, Dream & Believe Executive Director Aaron Sims.

“We have also partnered with Wayne State University’s Anthropology Department to conduct archaeological excavations around the home which, we hope, will provide further clues about what life was like in the neighborhood Malcolm lived in between 1952 and 1953,” said Wayne State University Professor and Project We Hope, Dream & Believe Project Manager Dr. Tareq A. Ramadan. “Malcolm had a relationship with Wayne State too. In October of 1963, he gave a speech there in front of hundreds of students in the still-standing State Hall building, so it is befitting that the university and its students will be involved, again, today. For the city of Inkster, this is truly a momentous occasion, as Malcolm has become a true hometown hero, and Project We Hope, Dream & Believe, as well as the wider community, is deeply committed to the preservation of Malcolm’s legacy.”

To be considered for listing in the National Register, a property must generally be at least 50 years old, and must also be significant when evaluated in relationship to major historical events or trends in the history of their community, the state, or the nation. A property must also possess historic integrity – the ability to convey its significance.

More than 96,000 properties across the country, including nearly 2,000 in Michigan, have been listed in the National Register since the program began in the 1960s. The National Register is a program of the National Park Service and is administered by the states.

Properties are nominated for listing by each state’s SHPO, often in partnership with local individuals or community organizations. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places program in Michigan, and on how to nominate a property, visit

Learn more about the rehabilitation plans for the Malcolm X House and Project We Hope, Dream & Believe at

About the State Historic Preservation Office: Focused on the historic preservation of culturally or archaeologically significant sites throughout the state, Michigan's State Historic Preservation Office’s main function is to provide technical assistance to local communities and property owners in their efforts to identify, evaluate, designate, interpret and protect Michigan’s historic above- and below-ground resources. SHPO also administers an incentives program that includes federal tax credits and pass-through grants available to certified local governments.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.