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Malcolm X's Roxbury Home to Be Site of City-Led Archaeology Dig

Civil rights leader lived in gabled end house in the 1940s

Beginning on Tuesday, Boston's City Archaeology Lab will commence a dig at the former Roxbury home of Malcolm X at 72 Dale Street. The two-week excavation is open to public view, and is meant to unearth not only vestiges of the civil rights activist's time in the house, but that of its previous Irish owners.

The property dates from 1874, about three decades after that area of Roxbury was laid out, and was done in the so-called end house style, a common type of New England architecture characterized by a gable-fronted form and side-passage entry. Malcolm X lived there from 1941 to 1944, with his half-sister, Ella Little, and her husband, Kenneth Collins, who owned the house from 1941 to 1961.

It fell into disrepair shortly after they vacated it, according to a report from the Boston Landmarks Commission (PDF), a state that accelerated after the last tenant moved out of a back apartment in 1975. Per Madeline Bilis at Boston Magazine, Rodnell Collins, Ella Little's son (and Malcolm X's nephew), now owns 72 Dale, and will be involved in the dig.