The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123325   Message #2716189
Posted By: Azizi
04-Sep-09 - 12:10 PM
Thread Name: Muhammed Ali in Ireland
Subject: RE: Muhammed Ali in Ireland
I met Muhammad Ali in 1970s when he was the keynote speaker at Indiana University in Indiana.

During the question & answer period of his speech, a White man in the majority Black audience asked him what his opinion was of Malcolm X. This was a potentially explosive question since Muhammad Ali was a member of the Nation of Islam and had been brought into that religion by Malcolm X. But the Nation of Islam had not only severed its connection to Malcolm X (for reasons too complicated to go into here), but was said to be at least partly responsible for Malcolm's assasination.

I was anxious to hear how Muhammad Ali would answer that man's question. I knew that if he spoke against Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali would definitely lose the good will of the overwhelming majority of his Black audience. And I'm certain he knew this for he very adroitly declined to answer the man's question. I recall him saying something like "I know what you're trying to do, and I won't be drawn into it. I'm hear to talk about Black culture, and that's what I'm going to talk about". The audience loved his answer and I breathed a sigh of relief.

That experience left me with a much higher regard for Muhammad Ali's intelligence than I had before.

Azizi Powell