Earl Little (Malcom X's father) fatally struck by streetcar

After they moved to Lansing, their house was burned in 1929, however the family escaped without physical injury.

On September 28, 1931, Earl Little was fatally struck by a streetcar in Lansing. Authorities ruled his death an accident. The police reported that Earl Little was conscious when they arrived on the scene, and he told them he had slipped and fallen under the streetcar's wheels. Malcolm X later remembered that the black community disputed the cause of death, believing there was circumstantial evidence of assault. His family had frequently been harassed by the Black Legion, a white supremacist group that his father accused of burning down their home in 1929. Some blacks believed the Black Legion was responsible for Earl Little's death. As Malcolm later wrote, "How could my father bash himself in the head, then get down across the streetcar tracks to be run over?"
Though Earl Little had two life insurance policies, his family received death benefits solely from the smaller policy. The insurance company of the larger policy claimed that his father had committed suicide and refused to issue the benefit. Several years after her husband's death, Louise had her youngest son, Robert Little, by an unnamed partner.


Earl Little, 41 Fatally Hurt; Thought to Have Fallen Under Truck
Believe Negro Lost Life Because He Forgot Coat
Left Earlier Car

Earl Little, 41 living at Jolly Corners, sustained fatal injuries late Monday night when he was run over by a street car at Detroit street and East Michigan avenue, a block east of the city limits.

The car was operated by William Hart 1417 Vine street, who told Coroner Ray Gorsline that he did not see the man before the accident. It is believed that he fell under the rear trucks as he was running for the car.

Coroner Gorsline found that Little had taken another car which passed about 12 minutes before the car operated by Hart. He reached for his pocket when he boarded it, but told the motorman to let him off at the next corner. He did not have an overcoat on at this time. It was said, but did have an overcoat on when the accident occurred.

Went Back for Coat

It is believed that he discovered that he had forgotten his coat when he reached for his purse, and that he got off the car to go bakc for it. The coroner has been unable to discover he left the coat. When he was found his purse and a street car check were in the overcoat pocket.

Coroner Gorsline planned to summon a coroner's jury for an inquest and expected to take the members of the jury to the scene of the accident Tuesday forenoon.

Little, a negro, leaves a widow, Mrs. Louise Little, 10 children, the parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Little of Reynolds, Ga., three sisters, and a brother, James Little of Albion. Funeral services will be held at the Buck Funeral home Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock. The body will be taken to Gerogia for interment.