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Local nonprofit gets grant to save Malcolm X's Inkster home

Posted at 5:32 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 20:48:42-04

INKSTER, Mich. (WXYZ) — The nonprofit organization We Hope, Dream, and Believe (WHDAB) has been awarded nearly $400,000 in grant money to restore an Inkster home that Malcolm X once lived in.

The home sits on 4336 Williams Street in Inkster. With the money, project organizers hope to turn it into a museum that highlights the life and legacy of the world-renowned human rights activist.

Malcolm X moved to the home in 1952 after being incarcerated back in Boston. The house was damaged by a fire and was abandoned until Aaron Sims came upon it.`

"We were like let's go check out the Malcolm x house and we didn't know if it was still here," said Aaron Sims, executive director of WHDAB, "so we pulled up the FBI file and in the FBI file it said Malcolm little 4336 Williams street."

In the 12th chapter of his autobiography, Malcolm X wrote about his time living in Detroit, which comes to find out was actually Inkster.

"Unfortunately he and his co-author Alex Haley, felt a national audience would be more familiar with Detroit," said Robert Turley, who grew up in Inkster and recalls hearing stories from the family that lived next to Malcolm.

Turley says he always had a book in his hand and often read on the front porch.

Sims said before he and his organization got involved the house was set to be demolished. Eventually, after pleading with the city council, he was able to secure the historical home.

"it's been 13 years of fighting and we can finally say the fight is over," Sims said.

With the help of Dr. Tareq Ramadan, a professor at Wayne State University, Sims applied for a grant. They were awarded $380,850 through an African American Civil rights, provided by the Historical Preservation fun and administered by the National Park Service.

"We are hopeful to transform this place and to cement Malcolm's legacy here in Inkster for the world to see," Dr. Ramadan said.

The plan is also to build a community center next door where kids can learn skilled trades and enjoy recreation.

"Any kind of skill trade," Sims said. "We want to offer that here and have a community garden set aside."

Arthur Edge is the builder on the project. He says dozens of contractors are eager to get started.

"Once the money is released I predict anywhere from three to four months this place will be finished," Edge said.

Edge is also asking the community for any historical records and furniture from the time period when Malcolm lived here.

For contact information and more on WHDAB just visit https://pwhdab.org.