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Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center Launches
Malcolm X and Percy Sutton at a Harlem rally on Seventh Avenue between 125 and 126 Streets (1963). © O'Neal L. Abel

The Shabazz family in collaboration with Columbia University announced the launch of the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, the largest exhibition on Malcolm X available anywhere in the world. The multimedia presentations invite citizens and scholars alike to experience and learn about the lives and work of two important social leaders of the 20th century, Malcolm X and his wife, Dr. Betty Shabazz.

The memorial is located in Harlem's historic Audubon Ballroom where Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which he co-founded, held some of their most important public events. "Messages from the Heart: Words of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz," an exhibit mounted by The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, also will be on display. The building, between 165 and 166 Streets on Broadway, is where Malcolm X was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965.

The center will hold a ceremony to mark its opening on May 19 at 6 p.m. A press conference and viewing will be held earlier, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Commenting on the significance of the center, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger said, " This memorial represents an important chapter in our nation's history and is a significant achievement both for the Shabazz family and for Columbia University. Through Columbia's Digital Knowledge Ventures (DKV), we are proud to be a partner in establishing this fitting tribute to the social and historical contributions of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz."

The multimedia center features a series of kiosks designed to be accessible to a wide range of visitors, from school children to adults. The exhibition includes a wealth of photographic and archival footage, as well as documents and interviews spanning the lives and contributions of Malcolm and Dr. Shabazz. Visitors have access to more than one and a half hours of short videos, never-before-seen photos -- including images of Malcolm with his family -- historic scenes of Harlem, travel photos taken by Malcolm and postcards that he wrote to friends. The kiosks also include interviews with scholars and contemporaries of Malcolm, as well as interactive, interpretive features: a timeline about the lives of Malcolm and Betty, a map of Malcolm's activities in Harlem and an interview with actor and activist Ossie Davis, a personal friend of Malcolm .

DKV gathered the content for the exhibit with the assistance of the Shabazz family and then designed and executed the three multimedia kiosk presentations. The memorial center itself was designed by renowned architectural firm Davis Brody Bond.

A preview of the exhibition can be viewed online.

Published: May 17, 2005
Last modified: May 17, 2005

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