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Muhammad Ali (1942 - 2016)

A photo of Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali
1942 - 2016
Born
January 17, 1942
Louisville, Kentucky United States
Death
June 3, 2016
Scottsdale, Arizona United States
Other Names
Cassius Clay
Summary
Muhammad Ali was born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky United States. He is the child of Odessa (Grady) Clay and Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr, with a sibling Rahman. According to his family tree, Muhammad was father to 9 children. He married Khalilah Ali on August 18, 1967 and they later divorced on December 29, 1976. They had children Ali Muhammad Jr, Maryum Ali, Jamillah Ali, and Rasheda Ali. He would also marry Veronica (Porché) Ali on June 19, 1977 and they later divorced in July 1986. They had children Laila Ali and Hana Ali. He married Lonnie Ali on November 19, 1986. They were married until Muhammad's death in 2016. They had a child Asaad Ali. Muhammad's partner was Aaisha Fletcher and they later separated in 2016. They had a child Khaliah Ali. Muhammad's partner was Patricia Harvell and they later separated in 2016. They had a child Miya Ali. He died on June 3, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona United States at 74 years old.
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Updated: December 4, 2021
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Introduction
The Greatest is a 1977 biographical sports film about the life of boxer Muhammad Ali, in which Ali plays himself. It was directed by Tom Gries.[2] The film follows Ali's life from the 1960 Summer Olympics to his regaining the heavyweight crown from George Foreman in their famous "Rumble in the Jungle" fight in 1974. The footage of the boxing matches themselves are largely the actual footage from the time involved. The film is based on the book The Greatest: My Own Story written by Muhammad Ali and Richard Durham and edited by Toni Morrison.[3] The song "The Greatest Love of All" was written for this film by Michael Masser (music) and Linda Creed, (lyrics) and sung by George Benson; it was later covered by Whitney Houston. Cassius was quick, dedicated and gifted at publicizing a youth boxing show, “Tomorrow’s Champions,” on local television. He was soon its star. For all his ambition and willingness to work hard, education — public and segregated — eluded him. The only subjects in which he received satisfactory grades were art and gym, his high school reported years later. Already an amateur boxing champion, he graduated 376th in a class of 391. He was never taught to read properly; years later he confided that he had never read a book, neither the ones on which he collaborated nor even the Quran, although he said he had reread certain passages dozens of times. He memorized his poems and speeches, laboriously printing them out over and over. Muhammad Ali’s Words Stung Like a Bee, Too Outside the boxing ring, Ali fought his battles with his mouth. In boxing he found boundaries, discipline and stable guidance. Martin, who was white, trained him for six years, although historical revisionism later gave more credit to Fred Stoner, a black trainer in the Smoketown neighborhood. It was Martin who persuaded Clay to “gamble your life” and go to Rome with the 1960 Olympic team despite his almost pathological fear of flying. Clay won the Olympic light-heavyweight title and came home a professional contender. In Rome, Clay was everything the sports diplomats could have hoped for — a handsome, charismatic and black glad-hander. When a Russian reporter asked him about racial prejudice, Clay ordered him to “tell your readers we got qualified people working on that, and I’m not worried about the outcome.” Rise of Muhammad Ali Milestones and career highlights of Ali, a showman in and outside of the boxing ring. Of course, after the Rome Games, few journalists followed Clay home to Louisville, where he was publicly referred to as “the Olympic n*****” and denied service at many downtown restaurants. After one such rejection, the story goes, he hurled his gold medal into the Ohio River. But Clay, and later Ali, gave different accounts of that act, and according to Thomas Hauser, author of the oral history “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times,” Clay had simply lost the medal. Clay turned professional by signing a six-year contract with 11 local white millionaires. (“They got the complexions and connections to give me good directions,” he said.) The so-called Louisville Sponsoring Group supported him while he was groomed by Angelo Dundee, a top trainer, in Miami. At a mosque there, Clay was introduced to the Nation of Islam, known to the news media as “Black Muslims.” Elijah Muhammad, the group’s leader, taught that white people were devils genetically created by an evil scientist. On Allah’s chosen day of retribution, the Mother of Planes would bomb all but the righteous, and the righteous would be spirited away. Years later, after leaving the group and converting to orthodox Islam, Ali gave the Nation of Islam credit for offering African-Americans a black-is-beautiful message at a time of low self-esteem and persecution. “Color doesn’t make a man a devil,” he said. “It’s the heart and soul and mind that count.
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Biography
Muhammad Ali
Most commonly known as
Muhammad Ali
Full name
Cassius Clay
Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did Muhammad move a lot? Where was his last known location?
Last known residence
Male
Gender
Muhammad Ali was born on in Louisville, Kentucky United States
Birth
Muhammad Ali died on in Scottsdale, Arizona United States
Death
Birth
Death
There is no cause of death listed for Muhammad.
Cause of death
Cave Hill Cemetery 701 Baxter Ave, in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky United States 40204
Burial / Funeral
Heritage

Ethnicity & Lineage

African American. Ali’s mother, Odessa, was a cook and a house cleaner, his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. was a sign painter and a church muralist who blamed discrimination for his failure to become a recognized artist. Violent and often drunk, Clay Sr. filled the heads of Cassius and his younger brother, Rudolph (later Rahman Ali), with the teachings of the 20th-century black separatist Marcus Garvey and a refrain that would become Ali’s — “I am the greatest.”

Nationality & Locations

Family Members Parents Cassius Marcellus Clay 1912–1990 Odessa Lee Grady Clay 1917–1994 Spouse Photo Sonji Roi Glover 1945–2005 (m. 1964)
Childhood

Education

Lexington KY

Religion

Muslim convert.

Baptism

Was Muhammad baptized?
Adulthood

Professions

World's Most Famous Boxer! His personal life was paradoxical. Ali belonged to a sect that emphasized strong families, a subject on which he lectured, yet he had dalliances as casual as autograph sessions. A brief first marriage to Sonji Roi ended in divorce after she refused to dress and behave as a proper Nation wife. (She died in 2005.) While married to Belinda Boyd, his second wife, Ali traveled openly with Veronica Porche, whom he later married. That marriage, too, ended in divorce. Ali was politically and socially idiosyncratic as well. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the television interviewer David Frost asked him if he considered Al Qaeda and the Taliban evil. He replied that terrorism was wrong but that he had to “dodge questions like that” because “I have people who love me.” He said he had “businesses around the country” and an image to consider. As a spokesman for the Muhammad Ali Center, a museum dedicated to “respect, hope, and understanding,” which opened in his hometown, Louisville, in 2005, he was known to interrupt a fund-raising meeting with an ethnic joke. In one he said: “If a black man, a Mexican, and a Puerto Rican are sitting in the back of a car, who’s driving? Give up? The police.” But Ali had generated so much goodwill by then that there was little he could say or do that would change the public’s perception of him. “We forgive Muhammad Ali his excesses,” an Ali biographer, Dave Kindred, wrote, “because we see in him the child in us, and if he is foolish or cruel, if he is arrogant, if he is outrageously in love with his reflection, we forgive him because we no more can condemn him than condemn a rainbow for dissolving into the dark. Rainbows are born of thunderstorms, and Muhammad Ali is both.” Ambition at an Early Age Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born in Louisville on Jan. 17, 1942, into a family of strivers that included teachers, musicians, and craftsmen. Some of them traced their ancestry to Henry Clay, the 19th-century representative, senator, and secretary of state, and his cousin Cassius Marcellus Clay, a noted abolitionist. Ali’s mother, Odessa, was a cook and a house cleaner, his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. was a sign painter and a church muralist who blamed discrimination for his failure to become a recognized artist. Violent and often drunk, Clay Sr. filled the heads of Cassius and his younger brother, Rudolph (later Rahman Ali), with the teachings of the 20th-century black separatist Marcus Garvey and a refrain that would become Ali’s — “I am the greatest.” Beyond his father’s teachings, Ali traced his racial and political identity to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old from Chicago who was believed to have flirted with a white woman on a visit to Mississippi. Clay was about the same age as Till, and the photographs of the brutalized dead youth haunted him, he said. Cassius started to box at 12, after his new $60 red Schwinn bicycle was stolen off a downtown street. He reported the theft to Joe Martin, a police officer who ran a boxing gym. When Cassius boasted what he would do to the thief when he caught him, Martin suggested that he first learn how to punch properly.

Personal Life

Famous, boxer

Military Service

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Obituary

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Family Tree

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Muhammad's Family Tree

Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali
Partner
Child
Partner
Child
Sibling

Relationships

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Khalilah Ali

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Muhammad Ali

Married: August 18, 1967 - December 29, 1976
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali
Child
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Veronica (Porché) Ali

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Muhammad Ali

Married: June 19, 1977 - July 1986
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali
Child
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Lonnie Ali

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Muhammad Ali

Married: November 19, 1986 - June 3, 2016
Cause of Separation: Muhammad's Death
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali
Child
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Aaisha Fletcher

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Muhammad Ali

Partners: Date unknown
Cause of Separation: Separated
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali
Child
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Patricia Harvell

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Muhammad Ali

Partners: Date unknown
Cause of Separation: Separated
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali
Child

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Obituary

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Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died on Friday in a Phoenix-area hospital. He was 74. His death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman. The cause was septic shock, a family spokeswoman said. Ali, who lived near Phoenix, had had Parkinson’s disease for more than 30 years. He was admitted to the hospital on Monday with what Mr. Gunnell said was a respiratory problem. Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him. But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”) Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition. In later life, Ali became something of a secular saint, a legend in soft focus. He was respected for having sacrificed more than three years of his boxing prime and untold millions of dollars for his antiwar principles after being banished from the ring; he was extolled for his un-self-conscious gallantry in the face of incurable illness, and he was beloved for his accommodating sweetness in public. In 1996, he was trembling and nearly mute as he lit the Olympic cauldron in Atlanta. That passive image was far removed from the exuberant, talkative, vainglorious 22-year-old who bounded out of Louisville, Ky., and onto the world stage in 1964 with an upset victory over Sonny Liston to become the world champion. The press called him the Louisville Lip. He called himself the Greatest. Ali also proved to be a shape-shifter — a public figure who kept reinventing his persona. As a bubbly teenage gold medalist at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, he parroted America’s Cold War line, lecturing a Soviet reporter about the superiority of the United States. But he became a critic of his country and a government target in 1966 with his declaration “I ain’t got nothing against them Vietcong.” “He lived a lot of lives for a lot of people,” said the comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory. “He was able to tell white folks for us to go to hell.” If there was a supertitle to Ali’s operatic life, it was this: “I don’t have to be who you want me to be; I’m free to be who I want.” He made that statement the morning after he won his first heavyweight title. It informed every aspect of his life, including the way he boxed. The traditionalist fight crowd was appalled by his style; he kept his hands too low, the critics said, and instead of allowing punches to “slip” past his head by bobbing and weaving, he leaned back from them. Eventually, his approach prevailed. Over 21 years, he won 56 fights and lost five. His Ali Shuffle may have been pure showboating, but the “rope-a-dope” — in which he rested on the ring’s ropes and let an opponent punch himself out — was the stratagem that won the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman in 1974, the fight in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in which he regained his title.
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1942 - 2016 World Events

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In 1942, in the year that Muhammad Ali was born, on February 19th, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This authorized the Secretary of War to "prescribe certain areas as military zones." On March 21st, he signed Public Law 503 which was approved after an hour discussion in the Senate and 30 minutes in the House. The Law provided for enforcement of his Executive Order. This cleared the way for approximately 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry to be evicted from the West Coast and to be held in concentration camps and other confinement sites across the country. In Hawaii, a few thousand were detained. German and Italian Americans in the U.S. were also confined.

In 1952, when he was merely 10 years old, on February 6th, George VI of England died from a coronary thrombosis and complications due to lung cancer. His eldest daughter, age 25, immediately ascended the throne as Elizabeth II and her coronation was on June 2 1953.

In 1979, he was 37 years old when on March 28th, a partial nuclear meltdown occurred at the power plant at Three Mile Island Pennsylvania. Radiation leaked into the environment, resulting in a rating of 5 on a scale of 7 ("Accident With Wider Consequences") . It ended up costing $1 billion to clean up the site.

In 1980, he was 38 years old when on December 8th, ex-Beatle John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of his home - the Dakota - in New York City. Chapman was found guilty of murder and still remains in jail.

In 1992, at the age of 50 years old, Muhammad was alive when on April 29th, riots began in Los Angeles after the "Rodney King" verdict was issued. Four LAPD officers had been accused of using excessive force (assault) on African-American Rodney King, who had been stopped for drunk driving. The beating had been videotaped. Their acquittal sparked a 6 day riot in Los Angeles.

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