On this day in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in New York City.
In the 51 years since his death, Malcolm has become a cultural icon. He’s now in the pantheon of freedom fighters that includes Richard Allen, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
In 1954, Elijah Muhammad sent Malcolm to Philadelphia to establish Temple No. 12. For years, there has been confusion about where Malcolm lived during his time in Philly. His FBI file has an address provided by an informant. I recently viewed a documentary that includes a first-hand account of where Malcolm lived. In Seeds of Awakening: The Early Nation of Islam in Philadelphia, Brother Hassan recalled:
We would sit up all night. When Malcolm was here, we’d sit up all night talking. We had a Unity House, a Fruit House, on 2503 Oxford Street. A big house. That’s where Malcolm would stay and all the brothers would come.
The house is still there. It’s been owned by the same family since 1956.
In the next few weeks, we will nominate 2503 W. Oxford Street for historic designation by the Philadelphia Historical Commission. Later this year, we will submit the nomination to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
For background information, check out my interview with Hidden City Philadelphia.