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Descendants of Malcolm X unveil historic marker in Lansing telling family story

Two of Malcolm X's nieces, Sheryl Little and Deborah Jones (right) joined Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and Rep. Sarah Anthony (left) to unveil the new marker outside.
Kevin Lavery
/
WKAR-MSU
Two of Malcolm X's nieces, Sheryl Little and Deborah Jones (right) joined Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and Rep. Sarah Anthony (left) Friday to unveil the new marker.

A new state historical marker unveiled Friday in Lansing tells the family history of one of the city’s most iconic residents. 

Civil rights legend Malcolm X spent part of his childhood in a house in south Lansing.

When he was six, white men murdered his father, Earl Little, leaving his mother Louise alone to raise eight children.

The strain drove her to a nervous breakdown, which led her to be separated from her children and institutionalized for 26 years.

Louise’s granddaughter Deborah Jones says the original marker installed in 1975 didn’t convey the story of Malcolm X’s early family life, which played a formative role in his worldview.

“There wasn’t really a lot known about the children of Earl and Louise Little,” Jones said. “There wasn’t a lot known about what happened to Louise Little after she was taken away.”

Jones was 14 when her famous uncle, Malcolm X, was assassinated in 1965.

“He was Uncle Malcolm to me,” Jones said. “The ‘Malcolm X’ part; I had to learn reading about that. But the Uncle Malcolm part, and not just him but my other uncles and my Aunt Hilda…all that they instilled in us is ongoing.”

Louise Little was eventually reunited with her children and spent her remaining years in Grand Rapids. She died in 1989.

The original historical marker in Lansing was struck by a driver in early 2021.

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