Historic preservation efforts at Malcolm X House in Inkster win Governor's Award

What’s happening: The 21st annual Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation were bestowed upon four historic preservation projects throughout the state on Thursday, May 2, with preservation and archaeological efforts at the one-time Inkster home of Civil Rights leader Malcolm X amongst the winning projects. The awards are hosted by the State Historic Preservation Office and awarded by Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II.

Statewide selections: The three additional award-winning projects include lighthouse preservation efforts in the Hiawatha National Forest region, a local history program in the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the designation of a historic district in Ludington.

Why Inkster: Civil Rights leader Malcolm X lived with his brother’s family in the Inkster house at 4852 Williams St. from 1952 to ‘53. Born Malcolm Little, it’s during this period when he met Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, and was conferred with X. His stay in Inskter was also when the FBI began actively surveilling the Civil Rights icon.

What’s being celebrated: Vacant and rundown, the WIlliams Street home was slated for demolition before preservation efforts pushed for its removal. Project We Hope, Dream, and Believe nonprofit is rehabilitating the historic site to transform it into a museum and youth learning center, which is expected to open later this year. The Wayne State University Anthropology Program also led archaeological excavations at the site.

Why it’s important: “The Malcolm X House is a reminder of Michigan’s special role in the movements for liberation and freedom,” reads a statement from Governor Whitmer. “Since our state’s founding, Michigan has played host to so much history, and we have a responsibility to keep telling those stories to inspire future generations. Together, we can protect and expand our fundamental rights and keep moving Michigan forward.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.