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Ali, Muhammad, 1942-

b. 1942

Charismatic and outspoken, Muhammad Ali was the dominant heavyweight boxer of the 1960s and 1970s. During his career he won Olympic Gold and held the world heavyweight championship title three times. While a gifted athlete, Ali is also known for his political stances. Born Cassius Clay, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964. He incited controversy by opposing the war in Vietnam and refusing to be drafted into the army on ethical grounds. As a result he convicted of violating the Selective Service Act and sentenced to five years in prison, a decision that was overturned three years later. In an interview Dr. King recognized the symbolic significance of Ali’s action for the anti-war movement and called the latter’s stance as a conscientious objector “a very great act of courage.”

Associated Archive Content : 13 results

A Memo from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

This memorandum written by Lincoln Lynch, Associate Director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), outlines proposed travel arrangements, speakers, workshop topics and entertainment for the upcoming National Convention.

ABC's Issues and Answers: MLK Interview

Dr. King sat down with Tom Jerriel, Atlanta Bureau Chief, and John Casserly, Washington Correspondent, of the American Broadcasting Company for their program "Issues and Answers." They discussed the civil rights movement, Dr. King's upcoming book, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Dr. King would serve jail time in Birmingham.

Letter form Dorothy Leeper to Muhammad Ali

Dorothy Leeper thanks Muhammad Ali for his courage in standing by his beliefs. She also commends him and Dr. King for their stance against the Vietnam War.

Letter from C. Elden to MLK

C. Elden urges Dr. King to speak with Cassius Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, about his refusal to be drafted into the military. Elden believes that Dr. King's influence will change Clay's mind and make Clay realize that citizens "must fight."

Letter from James Lynwood Walker to MLK

James Lynwood Walker writes Dr. King about Muhammed Ali's refusal to join the army.

Letter from Mrs. G. Wayne

Mrs. G. Wayne, a white American mother, expresses support for Cassius Clay and everyone who denounces the Vietnam War.

Letter from Roud Shaw to MLK

Roud Shaw of Kentucky writes to Dr. King informing him that his defense is "too well written" and should be crafted for a second grade level. Shaw also encloses a self-written article that appeared in the Louisville Courier Journal, in which he affirms his support to Dr. King and asserts that Cassius Clay should not be drafted for military service.

Letter from Theodore R. Britton Jr. to MLK

Theodore R. Britton promotes the candidacy of Dr. King for the pastorship of Riverside Church throughout this letter. Britton also asserts that New York is in need of Dr. King's leadership and sermons.

Letter from William Welsh to MLK

William Welsh objects to Cassius Clay's (Muhammad Ali) rejection to enter the draft for the Vietnam War. Mr. Welsh asks that if Dr. King agrees with this notion, he should denounce Mr. Clay publicly.

Letter to Dr. King from Elder G.W. Watkins

Elder G. W. Watkins writes Dr. King requesting that he and his organization join the fight to regain Cassius Clay's (Muhammad Ali) title as the Heavy Weight Boxing Champion of the World.

Telegram from MLK to Muhammad Ali

Dr. King sends a supportive telegram to Muhammad Ali. test

Telegram from Muhammad Ali to MLK

This message of support from Muhammad Ali was sent to Dr. King during his stay at the County Jail in Birmingham, Alabama.

Telegram from Muhammed Speaks Newspaper to MLK, Sr.

Muhammed Speaks Newspaper contacts Martin Luther King, Sr. to confirm the presentation of a portrait of Dr. King, which is a gift of Muhammad Ali.