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Dr. Betty Shabazz May Have Washington Heights Street Corner Named After Her

By Carla Zanoni | April 28, 2011 2:14pm

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Nearly half a century after witnessing the shooting death of her husband, Malcolm X, Dr. Betty Shabazz could soon be honored for her community work with the renaming of a Washington Heights street corner near the site of his murder.

Community Board 12 voted Tuesday to name the northeast corner of West 165th Street and Broadway as Dr. Betty Shabazz Place.

The street is located in front of the Audubon Ballroom and Theater where Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965. It now operates as the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

One board member said the street name change is likely a done deal, but it won't be final until the City Council gives it a green light.

Shabazz remained active in the upper Manhattan community after her husband died.

She fought against the planned demolition of the ballroom when it was purchased by Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in the 1980s, in an effort to honor her husband's "humanitarian efforts." She saw the building as a permanent symbol of the African American struggle for equality, according to the community board's resolution.

An agreement was reached to restore a section of the building as the Malcolm X Memorial Center, where CB12 members said Shabazz worked to preserve her husband's legacy.

The educational center later opened in the same space in 2005, eight years after Shabazz died.

Her daughter Malaak Shabazz voiced her support of the street naming at the board's general meeting, saying the gesture will go a long way toward inspiring the community.

"Everybody is inspired by my father, but the dream didn't die with him," she said. "It continues and strives to go forward."