The inspiration for the Malcolm X — Ella L. Little-Collins Family Foundation is best illustrated by Malcolm X’s belief and message that “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
Revisiting Malcolm’s life reveals the uniquely interwoven legacy of the little brother and older sister as they lived in The House at 72 Dale Street in Boston, Massachusetts. A human rights activist herself, Malcolm’s sister, Mrs. Ella L. Little-Collins, as she would be known in later years, was not only a supportive influence throughout Malcolm’s life but a leading organizer in his ministry. Her own life’s work led her to secure educational opportunities for Black students beginning in Boston and New York and eventually throughout the country.
Today, the House on Dale Street where Malcolm X grew up, is one cornerstone of the Malcolm X — Ella L. Little-Collins Family Foundation that commemorates the human rights legacy of the brother sister duo. The Foundation serves to educate, inspire and champion human rights through the preservation of historical assets and stewardship of the environment. The aim of the Foundation is to empower all persons to seek social justice, engage in progressive social change, and advance human rights worldwide.
The Foundation encourages present day human rights activists to learn the legacy left by Malcolm X and Ella Little-Collins and to teach future generations to avoid the mistakes of our past. To facilitate the learning, President and Executive Director of the Malcolm X — Ella L. Little Collins Family Foundation, Rodnell P. Collins, has created the “Citizen Student” concept. As the nephew of Malcolm X and the son of Kenneth and Ella Little-Collins, Rodnell Collins feels it is his duty to provide others a “passport to the future” through education. It is also his way of paying homage to the legacy of his famous uncle and his beloved mother.
Rodnell Collins’ expansive vision is to utilize the Malcolm X – Ella L. Little-Collins House as graduate student housing in Boston. The Foundation under Rodnell’s direction will identify Citizen Students from around the world and initially provide financial support in the way of housing as they pursue their degrees. Eligible candidates will need to demonstrate active community service involvement and pursue higher education objectives in social justice, human rights, and environmental studies. The Foundation’s goal is to eventually expand the level of financial support provided so a portion if not all tuition costs are covered enabling these Citizen Students to attain advanced degrees from the many prestigious institutions in the Boston area.
"Transforming the historic residence where Malcolm X spent his formative years into graduate student housing would provide an innovative model for sites across the country."
- the National Trust
Local educators and community leaders applaud The Foundation and Rodnell Collins’ unique approach. Even The National Trust threw in its’ support to the Citizen Student program by stating that “Transforming the historic residence where Malcolm X spent his formative years into graduate student housing would provide an innovative model for sites across the country.”
Adding more credence to this educational model is the recent announcement by the National Register to list the Malcolm X – Ella L. Little-Collins House at the national and local level, in the areas of Social History, Ethnic Heritage: African American, Native American, Human Rights for its association with the life of preeminent 20th century, civil and human rights activist, Malcolm (Little) X.
“Learn the Legacy, Teach the Future”
Transforming the family patriarch Rodnell Collins’ vision into reality is no small undertaking. The House at 72 Dale Street, once home to young Malcolm (Little) X in his formative years and his older human rights activist sister, Ella Little-Collins, is now under the ownership of the Rodnell P. Collins family. The House is the only existing home in the US associated with Malcolm X. It is also one of a few nationally designated landmarks owned, operated, and maintained by a family.
This national heritage House is adjacent to the historic Malcolm X Park, which has 10.5 acres with two large buildings fully functional, Community Education and Athletic Centers with Multi-Facetted Out-door Athletic facilities.
On March 9th, 2021, the Rodnell Collins Family in conjunction with the Malcolm X – Ella L. Little-Collins Family Foundation launched a capital campaign to raise $4.5 Million for Phase I restoration and preservation.
Reflecting on what this monumental step means to the family and our nation, Rodnell Collins eloquently stated, “The preservation and restoration of this historic site would not only restore an important part of American history but transform an under-utilized structure into an active and vibrant part of the surrounding community.”