By SETH KUGEL
Published: January 2, 2005
The Audubon Ballroom on upper Broadway just hours before Malcolm X was shot there in 1965. (Photo: Bettmann/Corbis)
Nearly 40 years after the civil rights leader Malcolm X was shot and killed at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, and a decade after the city spent millions of dollars to renovate it, the ballroom is finally poised to become a center dedicated to the leader and his legacy.
In a private meeting on Dec. 13, Columbia University, along with the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Malcolm X’s family, agreed to establish the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center on Broadway between 165th and 166th Streets.
Some issues are still unresolved. The center needs to find an executive director and to work out the terms of the lease with the city, which owns the property. But Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X’s daughters, said the center would open on May 19, which would have been her father’s 80th birthday. “It’s the end of a very long process,” she said. “Now, thank goodness, we have come to the end of the road.”
Columbia generated controversy in the mid-80′s when it proposed building the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park on the ballroom site. In the early 90′s, it modified its plans and saved both the Broadway facade and about 40 percent of the original ballroom.
Read more: The New York Times > New York Region > The City > Washington Heights: Where Tragedy Struck, a Memorial Will Rise.
Uptown Gem – The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Center
We invite you to subscribe to the Uptown Love newsletter, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter, or e-mail us at UptownCollective@gmail.com.