By Christopher Burbach
September 10, 2010
Malcolm X Memorial Foundation leaders have come up with a new
fundraising wrinkle in their push to buy a building for the late
civil rights leader's Omaha birthsite.
They'll try to set a world record for most people simultaneously
The foundation has $200,000 of the $250,000 it needs to buy the
Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall at 3463 Evans St., said Sharif
Liwaru, president of the nonprofit group.
That's adjacent to the Malcolm X Birthsite, a 10-acre
work-in-progress that includes a plaza, a historical marker and a
parking lot. Plans call for an amphitheater and other features to
make the location an educational center and tourist attraction.
The Jehovah's Witnesses building would house a headquarters and
visitor center. Foundation leaders hope to offer lessons on Malcolm X
and his work, as well as youth leadership programs and community workshops.
Liwaru said the building is in good condition and would not require
renovation. Ron Rieckman, a Jehovah's Witnesses elder, said two
congregations one English-speaking, and one Spanish-speaking use
the Kingdom Hall, but they are willing to sell and move.
Plans to develop the birthsite next door have been talked about since 1971.
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha. After
serving prison time for burglary in the Boston area, he became a
Muslim minister, spokesman for the Nation of Islam and civil rights
leader. He was assassinated in New York City on Feb. 21, 1965.
His parents' house has long been gone.
The birthsite plans gathered steam in the last several years, then
received a big boost in 2009. The foundation won a grant of $200,000
from sales tax revenue set aside for tourism and culture in north
Omaha and South Omaha. The money resulted from 2007 legislation that
returns to the city a portion of state sales tax revenue generated by
the Qwest Center Omaha and Hilton Omaha.
Malcolm X Foundation leaders were talking about how to raise
additional funds when someone suggested trying to set a world record.
Then someone else suggested giving away T-shirts to participants,
Liwaru said. They did a little research and found a record they think
they can break.
There actually is a Guiness World Record for most people
simultaneously folding T-shirts. It's 275. It was set in 2009 in London.
Malcolm X organizers hope to get more than 2,000 people to attend
their event. It's scheduled for Sept. 25 at the birthsite, 3448
Pinkney St. Gates open at noon. The record attempt will begin at 2 p.m.
Those interested in attending should register at one of three
locations: Aframerican Bookstore, 3226 Lake St.; Creighton University
Multicultural Affairs Office in Harper Center #3006 on the Creighton
campus; or the University of Nebraska at Omaha Multicultural Affairs
Office in the Milo Bail Student Center on the UNO campus.
It will cost $25 to participate, with the proceeds going to the
foundation. Participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt and a
certificate of participation.
The T-shirt folding record, Liwaru said, seemed like a good way to
get the community involved, raise money and have fun.
"We'd like to try to make it (the birthsite) as community-based as
possible, so there's accountability for the community as well as for us."
Contact the writer: 444-1057, email@example.com