Malcolm’s ex-house
DFP Staff

The Boston Landmarks Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to designate the boyhood home of Malcolm X an historic landmark. If approved by Mayor Thomas Menino and the City Council, the Roxbury building will have legal protection against demolition and major renovations.

Menino has until a week from Wednesday to sign the proposal, and he should.

Back when he was known as Malcolm Little, Malcolm X spent much of his childhood in Roxbury. It was there that he committed crimes such as thievery and drug use that led to his imprisonment.

In jail, he became a Muslim. After his release, the former Nation of Islam preacher inspired millions of adherents with his oratory brilliance. Malcolm X is one of Boston's most famous products, and the city should treat his former home accordingly.

Nonetheless, he was a controversial figure before his 1965 assassination, and those who decry him as a virulent demagogue may argue he does not merit a landmark.

However, even those who view Malcolm X in a cynical light cannot deny that he was one of the most influential American men of the 20th century. And with this influence, he made himself one of the most historically relevant people of the post-WWII era.

Boston is a city with a ripe historical heritage. Preserving Malcolm X's old house will only add to this legacy.

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