Butterflies for Malcolm (A work in progress)

DSCN1779_Butterflies for Malcolm cropped 72 dpi[Photo by ohcousins]line break white 600 x 1 pixelsIn 2013, The Laundromat Project commissioned artist Aisha Cousins to create 3 remixes of a score called Mapping Soulville as part of their Create Change Public Artist in Residence program. Technically, the residency ended October 2013. Cousins and her neighbors really liked using Malcolm X Blvd as a place to teach kids about Malcolm’s story though. So, in 2014, they came up with a project where local children raised butterflies as a metaphor for Malcolm X’s evolution, then released them on Malcolm X Blvd for his birthday. Below is the basic score. Stay tuned for additional photos + resources you can use to do the project on your own.
You will need

  • a street named after Malcolm X
  • educational videos, books, or reading material to explain Malcolm X’s story
  • educational videos, books, or images to explain the life cycle of the butterfly
  • butterfly larvae kit
  • food or plants for the larvae
  • food or plants for the butterflies to eat when they hatch
Raise the larvae in a place where you can see them evolve from larvae, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly. As they evolve, use the educational materials to explore the various stages of Malcolm Little’s evolution into El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Detroit Red, Malcolm X, etc.), then compare the stages of the butterflies’ evolution to the stages of Malcolm’s evolution. When the butterflies hatch, take them to the street named after Malcolm X and release them there for his birthday. Repeat as needed or wanted each year with your friends and neighbors.

Butterfly larvae suppliers

Educational materials on Malcolm X include

  • Malcolm X a Fire Burning Brightly by Walter Dean Myers (recommended for 3rd graders)
  • Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz (recommended for 4th grade)
  • Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary (recommended for middle school students)
  • Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley (recommended for middle school and high school students)
  • Malcolm X by Spike Lee + Malcolm X: Make it Plain the PBS documentary (recommended for high school students to compare and contrast)
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