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An archaeological dig at the boyhood home of Malcolm X in Boston has turned up some surprising findings

Ian Harvey

There is so much history that surrounds us, but few take the time to stop and look around them. Just think, you could be standing on something very important underground and it may never be discovered because no one thinks about that. More than half of the world is unexplored and holds secrets from hundreds, thousands, and millions of years ago.

One of those very secrets is right in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. Just recently, there was an archaeological dig at Malcolm X’s childhood home in Boston. Why his home? Isn’t it just another ordinary home? Surprisingly, no. The archaeological dig had turned up some surprising things. The most interesting thing about it is that what was found is completely unrelated to Malcolm X.

One of the archaeologists on the job, Joseph Bagley, said that the researchers who were digging outside the two and a half story house had found some kitchenware, ceramics, and other pieces that indicate it was once a settlement that dated back to the 1700s. None of the archaeologists on the job had expected that whatsoever.

Bagley explained that the crew had come onto a whole layer of evidence that measure two feet deep across the whole entire site. It was completely filled with artifacts from that period. These new finds have archaeologists and researchers asking, as Bagley put it, “‘What the heck was going on here in the 18th century?’”

Rodnells Collins, Malcolm X’s nephew, grew up in the house with him and says that some of those findings reveal a whole different story than even he knew about. Collins added that it was fantastic to see the researchers find all of the artifacts. He said that they are dealing with the very history of Boston. It’s an educational opportunity and that’s what his family is all about.

The dig was originally supposed to take two weeks and was focused more on Malcolm X’s earlier years growing up in Boston. They also wanted to get a look at who had owned the home before X’s family. Researchers found out that an old Irish immigrant family had lived there through the Great Depression. City records show that the house had been built in 1874, but Bagley and his team believed that the land had simply been farmland. However, their recent finds suggest there must have been another house on or near that site which dated back to Colonial times.

Another interesting piece they found in the home’s dig was a small stone piece that may even date to Native American tribes who once lived in that city. However, it’s still too early to tell just how old the fragment is and whether it’s even of the Native American origin. All artifacts found will go through a deeper evaluation and identification process.

Some of the items that have been found are broken dishes, some bits of jewelry, toys, and a record. However, these items may have come from when the home was vandalized in the 1970s. They were most likely just tossed into the yard and forgotten about.

Collins said that he is excited to see what comes next in the upcoming dig. Collins’ mother, Ella Little-Collins, had become the legal guardian of Malcolm X’s. Malcolm X was known as Malcolm Little after his father died and his mother was committed to a mental institution.

The family still owns the vacant and deteriorated home; it’s hoped that one day it will be renovated for public tours and other uses. That house is the last surviving home from Malcolm X’s time as a teen and young adult when he lived in Boston’s historically black Roxbury neighborhood in the 1940s. Collins added that just seeing the house again and watching the dig progress takes him back to his childhood. He has so many memories and said they should be shared with others.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News