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Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Center

About this listing

Memorial and educational center at the former Audubon Ballroom

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Washington Heights
Institution, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile



On The Web

The Malcom X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center website

Nominations

Dowoti Desir

This is the former Audobon Ballroom, the site of the assassination of Malcolm X -- El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz -- Feb. 21, 1965. As one of the most important leaders in the 20th Century, he was an uncompromising person who would not tolerate the human rights abuses forced upon people of African descent living in the United States, especially in the Civil Rights Era. He was a global citizen who understood the need for personal and poltical change as one; marrying the call for social justice to faith-filled action.

Pilgrimages are made to this site daily by visitors from around the world, most notably Muslims who feel vilified in a post 9/11 world and African Americans who embrace his integrity and strength of vision.

This is also a beautiful awe-inspiring place. A site of consciousness and memory that move many to tears and many more are renewed with great hope. It is graced by three major works of public art including a mural by Daniel Galvez, a life-size bronze statute by Gabrielle Koran, and an etched glass and bronze portal by Colin Chase.

The building as SHPO status. The original 1912 lobby was designed by Thomas Lamb, the most prolific theater designer of his day.

The geometric, terrazzo floors; plaster garlands; cherubs; and marblized columns are thoughtfully offset by the sleek, brushed steel mutimedia kioks designed by internationally reknowned contemporary architect Max Bond of DBB. Flanked by large bay windows, the two story building has as triangulated exterior. It possesses gorgeous, tile work by [it appears] Heinz and Laforge], including Neptune, trident in hand coupled with a mermaid ship's plough. A touch of whimsy punctuates the building with fox heads - the only building commission by William Fox that bear his totem. (Sept., 2007)


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