Category: cassius x

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

Photos by Paul Slade 

Muhammad Ali with his mentor

Malcolm X at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, 1964.

Malcolm 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 intended to “make the heavyweight champion an international political figure.”

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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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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)

Muhammad Ali in New York City on March 5, 1964.

(Original Caption) Diplomats and artists today witnessed the presentation to Cassias Clay of a bronze sculpture, Ode to Cassius Clay created by Dutch sculptor Hans Van de Bovenkamp, who with his brother, Garritt, has a studio in New York City. The brothers came here from the Netherlands six years ago and are graduates of the University of Michigan. Hans conceived the idea of the sculpture some ten months ago and decided to present it it Clay after his win over Liston.

Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali in Harlem, March 1964.

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Mal Goode, Muhammad Ali,

Rahman Ali, Malcolm X and Nigerian ambassador Simeon Adebo at the United Nations in NYC on March 5, 1964.

Mal Goode was the first Black network news correspondent for ABC television network as a United Nations reporter. Muhammad Ali had recently won the heavyweight title the week prior. Malcolm had arranged for Ali to meet with diplomats from Africa and Asia at the United Nations. Malcolm intended to make

Ali an international political figure.

(Video of

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

at the United Nations)

Muhammad Ali and Sam Cooke recording the single “The Gang’s All Here” at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City on March 3, 1964.  

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Malcolm X:

“My advice always to brother Cassius is that he never do anything that will in any way tarnish or take away from his image as the Heavyweight Champion of the world, because I frankly believe that Cassius is in a better position than anyone else to restore a sense of racial pride to not only our people in this country but all over the world. He is trying his best to live a clean life and project a clean image, but despite this you’ll find the press is constantly trying to paint him as something other than what he actually is. He doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink; in fact if he was white they’d be referring to him as the All-American Boy, like they used to refer to Jack Armstrong.”

(Video: Malcolm X Interview On Cassius Clay & Black Nationalism – 1964)  

Muhammad Ali: “Malcolm now questioned the path the Nation of Islam was taking in the United States, and the leadership of Elijah Muhammad. True Islam didn’t teach many of the things Elijah had been teaching. Malcolm was going to separate from Elijah Muhammad and wanted me to come with him. He said it was important that I take his side so that I could become a messenger myself and tell other young Black people in America what’s going on. Malcolm and I were so close and had been through so much, but there were many things for me to consider. Elijah Muhammad had given me my name, Muhammad Ali. I felt he had set me free. I was proud of my name and dedicated to the Nation of Islam as Elijah Muhammad presented it. At that point in my journey I just wasn’t ready to question his teachings.”

(Excerpt from The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey)