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