Malcolm's First Lansing House

The first house that the Little family owned in the Lansing area. They were evicted by the courts, but it burned to the ground before they could move out.

The Little family moved in to the subdivision of Westmont, Lansing Michigan in 1928 hoping to escape the harassment they were experiencing. Their Westmont home was located in a predominantly white neighborhood. Unfortunately racism followed the Little family and they were still treated like outcasts and soon became the target of the local racist group named the Black Legion, which was the same group that had been harassing them at their previous home Many of the residents in the community complained about the new colored neighbors and Malcolm watched as his family was legally moved out of the house just because of their skin color.

The Land company which owned the Westmount subdivision took Earl Little to circuit court in 1929. The company stated the contract read only Caucasians were permitted to live on the property. The court however ruled that Earl Little could own the property in the subdivision, but could not have a home there. The Little family was forced to vacate their home. This action against the Little family, was common practice in the courts (Seeking Michigan: Malcolm X in Michigan).

Malcolm if he was told about the courts decision would have had a first hand experience of how twisted the American legal system was and how the courts would give no help to him. However, before they were able to vacate, their house was burned down. The entire Little family was inside of the house; they were able to escape without any serious injuries. When Mr. Little got out of the house he fired shots from his pistol at the masked Klan members who were sitting outside of the house. When the fire trucks arrived they watched the house burn down without making an effort to save it (Malcolm X, Autobiography). The next day Mr. Little was investigated for having an illegal firearm but it was never found. The Little family always held the Black Legion responsible for the burning (Seeking Michigan: Malcolm X in Michigan). Malcolm’s life in his first Michigan home showed him how radical the racial discrimination problem was. Malcolm witnessed first hand the struggles that were going to face him for the rest of his life, if he was to choose the same path as his father.
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[updated information, January 2016]

The family owned five plots of land in Westmont along Michigan Highway 16 at the time, Grand River Avenue (3 plots) and along Alfred Avenue (2 plots). It is unclear on exactly which plot the house was located. (Thanks to Roy Saper for the research to discover the addresses.)

Images

Map

3230 Alfred Ave, Lansing, MI and 4627 North Grand River, Lansing, MI