Jim Crow America, Cassius Clay, Officer discussed on Fresh Air - The 'Radical' Life Of Muhammad Ali

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

You know the the muhammad ali he he he always believed in himself somehow and cadillacs in big houses were part of the yeah he talked all the time about these mansions he was going to build and how many cadillacs he was going to own and um he always tucked a building housing projects and by buying a house and living above the housing project he had these very specific dreams and and and eight before certain fight it would be a certain car that if i win this fight i'm gonna be able to buy that tomato red cadillac with the white upholstered seats in his definitely interested in the in the the fame and the money and just this image that he had of what it would take what it would be like to be a a a successful wealthy man and you got to remember this is a you know a black kid growing up in jim crow america who's being told by society by the by the law that he is inferior so this is a you know a dream of of even greater magnitude than you can imagine today how do you get into box it's a great story it's one of those legends that i'm actually turns out to be true which is a always had a pleasant surprise for me he was riding his bicycle when they had a brand new fifty dollars swin and the enough for his family as his dad will was assigned painter made some may decent money but wasn't well off by any stretch he had this fifty dollars shoe in that he shared with his brother and they were writing together one on this handlebars one down one on the seat they went downtown with a couple of other friends started to rain um so they ducked into this building and when they came back out the bike was gone and stolen so ali was furious he was cassius clay at that point but he was furious he went looking for the kids who stole his bike then he went looking for a police officer to report the crime and he found a police officer again him joe martin working in the basement of the columbia auditorium and in the basement joe martin was giving a boxing clinic teaching kids had a box and ali was just immediately entrance the almost forgot about his bike.

Coming up next