Elson Lecture: Randy Roberts And Johnny Smith, Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammed Ali And Malcolm X

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Elson Lecture: Randy Roberts And Johnny Smith, Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammed Ali And Malcolm X
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Elson Lecture: Randy Roberts And Johnny Smith, Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammed Ali And Malcolm X says
In 1962, boxing writers and fans considered Cassius Clay an obnoxious self-promoter, and few believed that he would become the heavyweight champion of the world. But Malcolm X, the most famous minister in the Nation of Islam, a sect many white Americans deemed a hate cult, saw the potential in Clay. Malcolm X believed that Clay would achieve boxing greatness, making him a great messenger for the Nation of Islam. The two became fast friends, keeping their interactions secret from the press for fear of jeopardizing Clay’s career. Soon, however, their friendship would sour, with disastrous and far-reaching consequences.

Based on previously untapped sources, from Malcolm X’s personal papers to FBI records, Blood Brothers is the first book to offer an in-depth portrait of this complex bond. Historians Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith reconstruct the worlds that shaped Malcolm and Clay as well as postwar New York and civil rights-era Miami. In this detailed account, they reveal how Malcolm molded Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali, helping him become an international symbol of black pride and black independence. Yet when Malcolm was barred from the Nation for criticizing the philandering of its leader, Elijah Muhammad, Ali turned his back on Malcolm — a choice that contributed to the latter’s assassination in February 1965.

Randy Roberts is a Purdue University Distinguished Professor of History who has written biographies of iconic athletes and celebrities, including Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Bear Bryant, and John Wayne. Johnny Smith is a Georgia Tech Assistant Professor of American History and author of The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty that Changed College Basketball.

The Elson Lectures are made possible with generous funding from Ambassador and Mrs. Edward Elson.

Admission for all lectures is $5 members, $10 nonmembers, and free to AHC Insiders unless otherwise noted.
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By: Atlanta History Center

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