The Making of Malcolm

Throughout Malcolm’s youth, he worked multiple jobs both in and outside of the Lansing area. There is not much known about the jobs he held in Lansing, and his experiences there. Through the information provided about the working experience of African Americans during this time in Malcolm X’s life and on and off site research of these places, we can piece together what it was like for him to work at these sites.
These jobs and other experiences early in life helped to shape the Malcolm that rose to prominence later in his life.

Malcolm's First Lansing House

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…

Work Site: Leo Kelly

While Malcolm X was living in Mason, Michigan he found some job opportunities. One job that he had was working for Leo Kelly when he was living in different foster homes. There was not any information found as to what Malcolm’s job exactly was for…

Work Site: Dr. Gertrude O'Sullivan

One person that Malcolm X worked for in Mason, Michigan, was Dr. Gertrude O'Sullivan (http://brothermalcolm.net/mxtimeline.html). Malcolm was a chauffeur and houseman for Dr. Sullivan. There was not much information for when he started and stopped…

Work Site: Shaw's Jewelry

In 1942, Malcolm X worked for Shaw’s Jewelry Store as a porter-messenger (http://brothermalcolm.net/mxtimeline.html)  He began work after coming home from Boston, and worked there for four months starting in November of 1942. [updated Aug 18, 2017 by…

Work Site: Capitol Bedding

Capitol Bedding is a family owned business from the Lansing area. Malcolm X worked there in 1945 upon his return to Michigan from Boston (http://brothermalcolm.net/mxtimeline.html). He made five dollars a day there.[update Aug 18, 2017 by John…

Work Site: Coral Gables

When Malcolm X worked for Coral Gables in the 1940s, it had turned into a place for big bands to be showcased. It was called the “Coral Gables Ballroom” and it attracted well-known bands and musicians. At this time, it was the closest place to the…

Work Site: REO Motor Car Company

While previously, the REO Motor Company hired primarily white workers, in the 1940s, the demand for labor increased due to the war. In his autobiography, Malcolm X recounted how previous to the war, REO did not hire black workers, but later began to…