The Audubon Ballroom
Location: 3940 Broadway, New York
Significance: Site of Malcolm X's assassination
After Malcolm X split from the Nation of Islam and renounced Elijah Muhammad in 1964, tension escalated between the two powerful figures. FBI informants working undercover in the Nation reported that there was a price on Malcolm's head, with one claiming to have been ordered to plant a bomb in X's car. After numerous attempts on his life, including the firebombing of his home in East Elmhurst on Valentine's Day in 1965, X spoke at the Audubon Ballroom a week later. During his speech, gunmen stormed the stage, shooting him 15 times at close range. He was pronounced dead at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital shortly after. The three men convicted of his murder were all members of the Nation of Islam.
In 1992, the same year that Spike Lee's Malcolm X was released, Columbia University sought to demolish the building and convert it to the Audubon Business and Technology Center. Various preservation groups succeeded in stopping the demolition, and after a student protest at Columbia's Hamilton Hall, the university agreed to reach a middle ground. A portion of the original façade was restored, and a museum was built inside to honor X. In 2005, 40 years after he was assassinated, the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center opened.