Malcolm “X” was murdered soon after meeting Cassius Marcellus Clay. Cassius converted to Islam and took the name Muhammad Ali, giving up what he said was his “slave name”. He was never, ever a slave. His original forename and his middle name were as Roman as Caesar. They were also his father’s names.
Cassius, later Muhammad Ali was charming and funny in addition to being a great boxer. He was very brave. People liked him almost in spite of what he said. But a lot of what Ali said was politically incorrect then and a lot of it is still politically incorrect. He got away with it precicesly becasue he was respected as the Heavyweight champion and because he was black.
He constantly told people that white people and black people are different. True then and true now but it’s not PC to talk about it in public.
Slavery in America was outlawed on January 1, 1863 and the blood of many white men were spilled in the Civil War, a war which was fought to keep the Union intact but has been changed into the myth that it was fought to make sure black people wouldn’t be slaves. That was 79 years before Cassius Clay was born so what’s this about giving up a slave name?
Ali was illiterate, as Ali openly admitted. Early in his career, his IQ tested at 78. Gerald Early, a prominent black studies professor and editor of the “Muhammad Ali Reader,” commented, “He hadn’t a single idea in his head, really … I think the score was an honest reflection of Ali’s mental abilities.” Maybe, maybe not.
Early notes, “He was intuitive, glib, richly gregarious, and intensely creative, like an artist.” Ali’s vivid personality changed how athletes behave. Before Ali, jocks were expected to act modest, fair, and kind, just like public school boys in Victorian England, where most modern sports were formalized.
History is the past. Muhammad Ali has been a Muslim since 1963, 53 years ago, most likely because of charismatic Malcolm “X”. At age 74, Ali has passed away.
It’s time to remember his history, perhaps leaving aside the ideas that he was a draft dodger who left America to avoid penalties. He hated white people, as his own words proved. He never acted on his hate but he was outspoken about it, perhaps out of certain naivette towards the consequences. He had more than enough money to take care of himself without relying on the kindness of others. He was a very unique man.
He was brave, hard working, sensationally gifted, triumphant, and, most of all, fun.
He was perhaps the greatest boxer ever. That’s his legacy. In the larger sense that’s all there was.