Location of Malakoff, Texas
|Coordinates: 32°10′41″N 96°1′6″W|
The community was formerly known as "Caney Creek" and "Mitcham Chapel". An application for a named post office in 1854 under "Purdam" or "Mitcham" resulted in the current name, because the other names were already in use. In the 1920s coal mining became an important activity. The "Malakoff Man", a large prehistoric carved head found in the 1930s, resembles a carving of the Olmec culture.
The City of Malakoff is served by the Malakoff Independent School District. The mascot is the Tiger.
The private Saint Paul Industrial Training School, orphanage and school, is located near Malakoff. It was begun in the 1920s by James William and Alice Olenza Wingfield Smothers. It continues to serve African-American youth, many having been previously homeless. It receives no federal funds.