Category: black pride

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Muhammad Ali celebrating with Malcolm X at the Hampton House in Miami after he won the World Heavyweight Championship against Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964.

Photos by Bob Gomel

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“When I am dead–I say it that way because from the things I know, I do not expect to live long enough to read this book in its finished form–I want you to just watch and see if I’m not right in what I say: that the white man, in his press, is going to identify me with “hate”. He will make use of me dead, as he has made use of me alive, as a convenient symbol, of “hatred”–and that will help him escape facing the truth that all I have been doing is holding up a mirror to reflect, to show, the history of unspeakable crimes that his race has committed against my race.” 

― Malcolm X (The Autobiography of Malcolm X)

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Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X at the United Nations on March 4, 1964.

Malcolm X arranged for Ali (then Cassius X) to meet with diplomats from Africa and Asia at the United Nations.

Sports writer Murray Robinson noted in the New York Journal American that Malcolm X intended to “make the heavyweight champion an international political figure.” Malcolm and Ali made plans to tour Africa together. Days later on March 6, Elijah Muhammad gave Cassius the name Muhammad Ali and forbade all members to communicate with Malcolm after he was ostracized from the Nation of Islam.

A few months later in May 1964, Muhammad Ali had a chance meeting in Ghana, with his former friend and mentor Malcolm X but he turned his back on him.

“Turning my back on Malcolm,” wrote Ali in his 2004 autobiography The Soul of a Butterfly, “was one of the mistakes that I regret most in my life. I wish I’d been able to tell Malcolm I was sorry, that he was right about so many things.  But he was killed before I got the chance… Malcolm was the first to discover the truth, that color doesn’t make you a devil. It is the heart, soul, and mind that define a person. Malcolm was a great thinker and an even greater friend. I might never have become a Muslim if it hadn’t been for Malcolm. If I could go back and do it over again, I would never have turned my back on him.” 

(Read more about their relationship in the book Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X)

Happy Birthday Malcolm X! 

May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

“They called me ‘the angriest Negro in America.’ I wouldn’t deny that charge. I spoke exactly as I felt. ‘I believe in anger. The Bible says there is a time for anger.’ They called me ‘a teacher, a fomentor of violence.’ I would say point blank, That is a lie. I’m not for wanton violence, I’m for justice. I feel that if white people were attacked by Negroes –

if the forces of law prove unable, or inadequate, or reluctant to protect those whites from those Negroes

then those white people should protect and defend themselves from those Negroes, using arms if necessary. And I feel that when the law fails to protect Negroes from whites’ attack, then those Negroes should use arms, if necessary, to defend themselves.“

(Photos by John Launois, 1964) 

Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks to reporters at the Operation PUSH Soul Picnic at the 142nd Street Armory in New York on March 26, 1972. 

Left to right are: Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X; Jackson; Tom Todd, vice president of PUSH; Aretha Franklin; Miriam Makeba and Louis Stokes, rear right. PUSH stands for People United to Save Humanity.  

Malcolm X photographed by John Launois in Cairo, August 1964.

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Malcolm X photographed by John Launois in Egypt, August 1964.

Malcolm X in Rochester, New York on February 16, 1965.

In Rochester,

Malcolm met with the Commission on the Negro and Theological Education, a student and faculty group at Colgate Divinity School. He then held a press conference at the Manger Hotel where he discussed the Civil Rights Movement, his split with the Nation of Islam and expressed his hopes to achieve “a society in which everyone can live as human beings.” In the evening he spoke at the Corn Hill Methodist Episcopal Church on Edinburgh Street. Standing in front of a packed house of black and white audience members, he delivered a speech entitled “Not just an American problem, but a World Problem.” He touched on a variety of topics including Rochester’s recent race riots and the mass media’s depiction of African Americans, but above all emphasized the need to re-conceptualize the American civil rights movement as part of a global struggle. Malcolm’s lecture in Rochester would be the last public speech he gave,

he was assassinated

five days later on February 21, 1965.

The Beatles meet Muhammad Ali at 5th street gym in Miami Beach on February 18, 1964.  

Photographer Harry Benson told the Beatles he would set up a picture with the heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston.

But instead he had dumped them in the training camp of whom they thought would be Liston’s next victim, Cassius Clay. John Lennon called Clay “that big mouth who’s going to lose.” Clay’s press agent, wanted the photo op to help promote the fight and brought them into Clay’s dressing room. When Clay entered the room he said, “Hello there, Beatles. We oughta do some roadshows together. We’ll get rich.” Moments later, the five of them were in the ring, cavorting like old pals. When it was over,

Benson

recalls, the Beatles told him they would never speak to him again. The session had been “degrading. You made a fool of us,” one of them said.

(Source)

Muhammad Ali with his family outside of their home during photo shoot on Barbara Drive in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on April 13, 1973.

(L-R) Ali, twin daughters Jamillah and Rasheda, daughter Maryum, and wife Khalilah holding son Ibn Muhammad Ali Jr.

(Photos by Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)