Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali (2021) Movie Script

No matter which way you turn,
there is destiny.
It was destiny that my father
and Cassius Clay would meet.
Three short years
that they would spend in their lives,
that destiny created for them
that was their blood brotherhood.
We are no longer slaves.
White people no longer own us.
Cassius destroyed that image
the other night
when he knocked out Sonny Liston.
The heavyweight champion is Cassius Clay!
Malcolm came to this young man
and he gave him the power that he needed
to speak.
Malcolm and Muhammad.
They were very close
literally as brothers.
And I was there to witness it.
Did your brother
like being around Malcolm?
Loved, loved, loved being around him.
I did too.
He had that air about him.
It was divine.
The electricity
that came from his body was sacred.
Only a few people like that in the world.
Why do you think
they stopped being friends?
"Destiny can take your best friend
as an instrument to cause you harm
and your worst enemy to do you good."
Judas betrayed Jesus.
Malcolm X betrayed Elijah Muhammad.
"Destiny can take your best friend
as an instrument to do you harm
and your worst enemy to do you good."
It is time for you and me
to stand up for ourselves.
It is time for you and me
to see for ourselves.
And it is time for you and me
to fight for ourselves.
You unloved.
That's what it is to be Black
in a white-supremacist world.
You are unloved, uncared for, untended to,
and viewed less beautiful,
less moral, less intelligent,
and you are told to always be scared.
Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali
no way.
Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali
were the two most freest of Black men
in the 20th century.
On the other hand, you know, there's a...
There's a cross to bear.
There's a tremendous cost
to being a free and loving person.
twenty-two years old.
I must be the greatest!
-I am the king of the world!
-Hold it.
-I'm pretty!
-Not that pretty.
I'm a bad man!
-I shook up the world!
I shook up the world!
It was unusual for a Black person
to think of themself as quote, "pretty."
Champ of the world
should be pretty like me.
I'm the king of the ring!
Athletes were expected to be humble.
And then you had the Louisville Lip.
Tenacity and dignity and, like, pride,
and, "So what you don't like me? So what?"
What do I act like I am to you?
-A bad fella?
-I don't know.
You're just...
Like you say, you're the greatest.
And a lot of people,
even a lot of Black people,
weren't comfortable with this.
They called him a loudmouth.
I don't have to be what you want me to be.
It was a moment of transition,
and Ali really is at the forefront
of this transition, as is Malcolm.
I'm free to be what I wanna be
and think what I wanna think.
That's right.
They're changing the way
the world saw the Black man.
How could so few white people
rule so many Black people?
Martin Luther King,
whose school of thought I come out of,
spoke to who we must become.
Malcolm spoke to who we were
and who put us there.
These homegrown Negro American Muslims
are the most powerful
of the Black-supremacist groups.
Mike Wallace had, of course, done this
television program about the Nation
called The Hate That Hate Produced.
Four or five times a year,
the Muslims assemble
in one of America's major cities
to hear their leader Elijah Muhammad,
founder and spiritual leader of the group.
The Christian religion has failed you.
But of even more interest
to New Yorkers is Malcolm X,
the Muslims' New York minister.
The Black man by nature is divine.
Now, does this mean
that the white man by nature is evil?
By nature, he is other than divine.
This critique of whiteness
was very powerful,
because prior to this time,
you had to say
something like that in private.
You certainly couldn't call
white people devils.
Not out loud.
By nature, he is evil.
He's a remarkable man,
a man who, by his own admission,
was once a procurer and dope peddler.
But now he's a changed man.
He will not smoke or drink.
His life changed for him
when the Muslim faith
taught him no longer to be ashamed
of being a Black man.
You know, you have what you call
a reference point.
Malcolm's father was a solid reference.
Of course his mother too.
Earl, his father, and Louise, his mother,
were followers
of the Marcus Garvey movement.
My father's organization sought
to link Africans,
in Africa, in the Caribbean,
in the United States.
My father felt that
instead of Africans being servile,
they must become self-reliant.
There is no Malcolm X without Garvey.
Garvey used to say,
"The Negro is not afraid."
There's no more
significant influence you could have
for a young Black boy,
is to be in the company
of a father who is so well-versed
and had the... An audience in his hand,
you know, as both a minister, a preacher,
and a representative
of the whole Garvey movement.
Malcolm's father was Malcolm's hero.
But the problem was
there were white supremacists
who wanted to silence Earl Little.
Malcolm's just six years of age
when his father is killed in 1931.
It was horrific, what they did to him.
He was knocked over the head,
dragged to the trolley track
so that the oncoming train
would roll over him.
For the first five
or six years of his life,
he had a kind of a first-hand opportunity
to capture the majesty
of his father's voice.
Over the years,
he would certainly return to those moments
of the whole Garvey movement.
Out of the organization
came people like Elijah Muhammad,
who went on to form the Nation of Islam.
Elijah Muhammad took what he had learned:
the concept of having an economic base,
the discipline,
and the militaristic attire,
and put it in the religious setting
of the Black Muslims.
Long before the age of 21,
Malcolm X ran away from school
and went to Harlem.
And there, he ran numbers,
sold bootleg whiskey,
procured business for prostitutes,
used and pushed dope.
In the late '40s,
Malcolm X pulled a robbery in Boston,
was caught, and sent to prison.
He served time for robbery
in the Michigan and Massachusetts
state penitentiary.
Early on,
he had a kind of inquisitiveness.
You know, like most restless folk,
you can end up expressing it
in a gangster-like way.
You're trying to conquer, be in control.
Inside the prison walls,
he's like a caged tiger,
absorbing information,
cultivating his intelligence, reading.
That's his indoctrination.
That's the beginning.
So once he's out in 1952,
he goes back to Michigan,
and he really involves himself
in the Nation.
I'm real happy and thankful to Allah
for the energy and for the spirit
that he has put in Minister Malcolm.
And so much so, by 1954
he's the national spokesperson.
My name is Rahman Ali.
I'm proud and happy to say
I'm the only brother of Muhammad Ali.
He's gone to paradise. The next time
I see my brother will be in heaven,
and we'll be in heaven together.
As small children growing up,
he always told me,
"I'm gonna be the most famous man
in the whole world."
As a small child, 10, 11, 12, 13
He did exactly what he said he would do.
The pink house right there
is Muhammad Ali.
Cassius Clay, but we called him GG.
We all went to the same elementary school,
junior high school,
and senior high school.
Central High School's
the only Black school
in the city of Louisville.
We didn't have none of the major amenities
the white schools had.
They didn't put a track and football field
at Central High School
until they integrated the school.
Cassius Clay Sr. was
Southern Baptist,
Cassius Clay Jr. was Southern Baptist,
and they went to the church.
He told me one time
he went down to Louisville,
he went outside a little church.
They were singing the same hymns
that they were singing in his church.
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus."
And out comes the minister, said,
"Hey, boy, get out of here."
He said, "Something's wrong."
"They're singing the same hymns we are."
"Now, why do I have to leave
'cause I'm Black?"
Segregation was outrageous.
You went to the bus station,
it said "Colored section."
You knew at thedepartment stores
you couldn't try on clothes.
They'll take your money,
but you gotta buy
that suit and hope it fits.
You ain't gonna put it on.
Cassius Clay was born in 1942.
Emmett Till was born in 1941.
Money, Mississippi,
a story that shocked
the entire United States.
The Emmett Till story
was a searing event
to the man
who's going to become Muhammad Ali.
Emmett Till, 14, was kidnapped and killed
allegedly for wolf whistling
at the wife of accused, Roy Bryant.
Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam,
were acquitted by this jury.
He looked at Emmett Till's mutilated face
in the pages of Jet magazine.
He's heard the horrific stories
from his father about the lynchings
that continue to happen.
My father was always
very sensitive to oppression.
And his father taught him,
like any other Black man would do today,
how to survive.
And my grandmother would say,
"This really bothered your father."
He wanted to be great,
but this is a darkness for a child.
I met Malcolm
in Temple No. 7 Restaurant.
When Malcolm came in, boy, he... A giant.
Malcolm, a giant.
I shook his hand.
The power of his hand, it felt like God.
I first met Malcolm in person
in about 1959, 1960.
He walked down the hallway
and shake everybody's hand.
My cousin would say,
"Go ahead and ask him a question."
I'd say, "No, no, no."
I was so terrified.
On Sunday, at Temple No. 7,
Malcolm taught
two, three, four,
sometimes five hours nonstop.
The man that kidnapped us
and brought us here.
-Who made a slave out of us.
-Who hung us on trees.
-Right on.
-I don't have to tell you which man.
-That's right.
I had never heard anyone
talk about attacks on the mind
with the clarity that he did.
Movies andschool textbooks,
the television programs,
all of this was constant
psychological attacks.
Even calls us "boy."
Don't care how big you get,
he calls you "boy."
Malcolm made you believe you couldn't die.
And when you're a young man
and you get a teaching like that,
that's what you need.
Rome welcomes
the Summer Games of the XVII Olympiad.
In 1960, Cassius Clay is 18 years old.
He's young, he's wide-eyed,
goes to the Rome Olympics.
Cassius Clay the winner for the USA.
And even then,
he had that jaw-dropping charisma.
He becomes virtually the mayor
of the Olympic Village.
First time I really saw him up close,
he's sitting on the steps
in the Olympic Village
and he's raving.He's got the medal,
and he's holding it up. "Look at me.
Look who I am, how pretty I... "
"I'm gonna be the heavyweight
champion of the world."
They don't understand
a freaking word he's saying.
But I noticed something.
Every time the athlete was a woman,
they stopped and turned
and looked back at him.
I said, "This is a guy
that's gonna have something."
"I don't know what,
but it's gonna be something."
Tell me how you came to get
such a Roman name as that.
Well, as I understand,
I'm Cassius Marcellus Clay VI,
and my great-great-grandfather
was a Kentucky slave,
and he was named after
some great Kentuckian.
Where he was from,
or where it was all originated,
I couldn't tell you,
but since I've reached
a little fame in boxing,
most people want to know where am I from
and where did I get that name,
but I haven't really checked on it.
He could not be more proud
to represent America.
This was his greatest honor.
And one of the things
that he recognizes there,
is that there's no Jim Crow signs.
He enjoys a freedom of movement
he's never experienced before.
This is not like Louisville, Kentucky.
I represent to you,
not a puppet.
Yes, sir.
But I represent to you God in person.
-In person.
-Yes, sir!
That's right!
In the most holy name
of Almighty God, Allah
the true and living God, the only God
we forever thank him
for his divine Messenger,
and only Messenger,
the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Why do you have any faith
in white people?
-That's right.
-Tell me that.
The Messenger's programis a discipline
that we all need and never had.
No alcohol,
no drugs, no tobacco,
no pork.
Neat, clean, organized.
I'm Melchisedek Supreme Shabazz-Allah,
known as the universal high priest
of the Nation of Islam
on Earth and in the universe.
I'm 84 years old.
Very peaceful man.
You understand what I'm trying to say?
But it's nothing for me
to take your lights out.
'Cause you're trained that way.
Very peaceful,
very respectful, never the aggressor,
but deadly.
The brother who you think
is humble, meek and ins... And insecure,
that brother is cold as ice
when it comes to the teachings.
You say we hate white people.
We don't hate anybody.
We love our own people so much,
they think we hate the ones
who are inflicting injustice against them.
This is WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky,
and our guest tonight,
Louisville's Cassius Clay,
the fourth-ranked
world heavyweight. Hello.
Do you think that you are
as good a boxer as Joe Louis was?
I'm not as good, but better.
I'm more classier, I'm faster,
and I talk more.
Who wins the gold medal
at the Rome Olympics.
He's a hero.
But when he gets back to Louisville,
he finds Louisville's the same.
I just got in from Rome,
and I wanna turn professional.
The standard understanding
is that Black athletes
will be deferential on civil rights.
They will be seen and not heard.
He wins the Olympics,
and he's also overseas
where things aren't segregated.
He comes back home thinking
being the champion
would change things, but it didn't.
Cassius Clay goes into a diner.
A white man at the counter says,
"We don't serve your kind, boy."
And there he is with his Olympic jacket
and his gold medal.
He's humiliated.
In that moment, he rejects America.
He rips the medal off,
tosses it into the river.
That disappointment, thinking,
"Okay, I've done this for America,
I'm the champ, I'm everything,
but I'm still in a segregated world,".
I think it got him.
That woke us all up, to tell the truth.
I'm Gordon B. Davidson, attorney
for the Louisville Sponsoring Group,
owner of Cassius Clay,
and the hired hand to keep the group
and Cassius Clay together.
He's now of interest
to certain white residents of Louisville,
who view him as a commodity.
Okay? Something that can be marketed.
I'm W.L. Lyons Brown,
chairman of the board
of Brown-Forman Distillers Corporation.
A group of very wealthy businessmen
formed the Louisville Sponsoring Group
to manage his boxing career.
J.D. Stetson Coleman.
I'm Worth Bingham, assistant publisher
And he's controlled
by these 11 rich Louisville guys.
I'm one of the founders
of the group of Cassius Clay.
And talking to them,
you would kind of have a sense
that they were talking about
one of their racehorses.
"He was a really good boy."
Cassius goes to Miami
to train under Angelo Dundee,
one of the best trainers in the business.
And then he met a man
by the name of Abdul Rahman,
"Captain Sam."
My father was the captain
of the Miami mosque.
This was the area of the mosque
at that particular time.
He's out pushing
the Muhammad Speaks newspaper.
He hears a guy
from across the street yell out,
"Why are we called Negroes?"
"Why are we deaf, dumb and blind?"
"Why is everybody making progress,
and we're so far behind?"
My dad said, "Hey, man,
I see you hip to the teachings."
"Yeah, man. I'm Cassius Clay."
Right away,
they had an automatic chemistry.
There's no sense
for most of America
that Cassius Clay has a secret.
That he's leading a double life.
In 1959,
Cassius Clay is in Chicago
for an amateur boxing exhibition.
He had free time, he's out on the street,
and he sees members
of the Nation of Islam.
And one of them hands him a record.
"A White Man's Heaven"
"Is a Black Man's Hell"
by Louis X,
eventually known as Louis Farrakhan,
at one time known
as Calypso Gene the Charmer.
So Cassius takes this record
back to Louisville,
and he plays it
over and over and over again.
When he was training
at the 5th St. Gym in Miami,
I saw some changing faces in the camp.
Sam Saxon, Captain Sam, is with him.
And as far as Angelo Dundee knows,
he's a boyhood pal
who he lets hang around the gym.
I just got through
with the Henry Cooper fight.
Every day, they would get together.
He would teach Cassius Clay about Islam,
and, you know, bring the teachings to him.
The Nation of Islam began to provide Clay
a whole language of Black excellence
and Black supreme achievement.
Captain Sam starts
to mentor Cassius Clay
That is what I'm teaching.
in the career
of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
And these Negro leaders
in the emerging supernova
of Malcolm X.
Cassius becomes closer
to the Nation of Islam.
He doesn't join the Nation,
but he's interested.
You think
your brother could've become the greatest
without his faith?
No, sir.
The faith of Islamgave...
Gave... Gave... Gave us confidence.
G... God... Oh, my God is decent,
God is powerful, God is ri... Righteous.
Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X
gave us confidence to be great.
In June, Cassius and his brother,
they were in their home in Louisville,
and they got a call from Captain Sam.
The Nation of Islam
was holding a big rally in Detroit.
Cassius and Rudy
could not be more excited.
They've never seen
the Messenger in person.
Captain Sam drives
from Miami to Louisville,
picks up the Clay brothers,
and they go to Detroit.
But before they go into Olympia Stadium,
Sam takes them into a diner,
and in that diner is Malcolm X.
There's Malcolm X, sitting at a table
like he would always sit at a table,
facing the door.
You know, almost like
kind of an Old West cowboy movie.
Around Malcolm's table are guards.
Cassius is starstruck.
Rarely is Cassius starstruck.
"He acted as if
I was supposed to know who he was."
"I had never even heard of him."
"Ours were two entirely different worlds."
"In fact, Elijah Muhammad
instructed us Muslims
against all forms of sports."
That's funny.
My father didn't know who he was,
but he just went along with,
you know, that sense of importance.
"If this man thinks he is famous,
then I'm gonna go along with him."
"Of course I know you, you're great."
Malcolm X was a genius.
He spoke the truth about how Black folks
were mistreated in America.
It wasn't hate, it was truth.
Rudy and Cassius,
they go into Olympia Stadium.
And what do they see?
They see an army of Black men.
Proud Black men,
dressed in black suits, bow ties,
and there's a sense of order,
there's a sense of discipline.
Before the white man,
we had great civilizations
just as powerful than what
the white man has put on the Earth.
And the message that Cassius
hears that day is separation or death.
Separation or death.
We don't want no integration.
We want separation.
We don't nothing but the freedom
to own some of this Earth
that we can call our own.
This analysis of the white man
being the devil
was really attractive to people
who had experienced hell
at the hands of white people.
And what good is Christianity to you and I
if the religion will not defend us
against lynchers?
They say they are followers of Jesus.
They're followers of the devil.
"Now and then, I heard how Cassius
showed up in Muslim mosques
and restaurants in various cities."
"And if I happened to be speaking
anywhere within reasonable distance
of wherever Cassius was,
he would be present."
In March of 1963,
Cassius is in New York
for the fight against Doug Jones.
Who's there?
Malcolm has taken a special interest
in this young heavyweight.
Clay, winner by unanimous decision.
The next day,
Cassius Clay is seen out in public
wearing the dark suit,
the white shirt, the black bow tie.
Then he gives an interview
to the New York Post.
He was asked about
why he didn't join civil rights marches.
He says that,
"I don't believe in non-violence."
And that, "I believe in an eye for an eye
and a tooth for a tooth."
It's very clear what happened.
He's in Harlem.
He was spending time with Malcolm.
Malcolm brought Muhammad Ali to the temple
and introduced Muhammad Ali to us.
They had this kind
of student-teacher relationship.
Their age difference
22-year-old Adonis,
and here's... Here's Malcolm coming in,
a little bit older.
An understanding of the world
that's gonna be important to...
To Muhammad Ali.
You can't be around Malcolm and not learn.
Malcolm shared the wisdom.
If the government
can't defend us, what should we do?
Go find out who bombed the church
in Birmingham, Alabama.
If they can't find out,
then let us go find out.
And when we find...
I don't wanna hear that.
And when we find out who it was
who murdered our little female babies,
then the law of justice
is that a murderer should be murdered.
When Cassius Clay meets Malcolm X,
he has no idea Malcolm is moving
in a new political direction.
Malcolm believes
the Nation of Islam has the potential
to make a much bigger difference
if it joins the front lines.
Don't you be fooled
by these Uncle Tom Negro preachers.
When a dog attacks you, you get that dog,
two-legged dog or four-legged dog.
He did not advocate violence,
he advocated self-defense.
We're not trying
to start anything. Don'tstart no shit,
won't be none started.
But if you come for us,
be prepared to fight,
because we're not embracing
this Martin Luther King philosophy.
But Elijah has told him to stand down.
In a number of Elijah's letters
to Malcolm, he reminds him,
"Do not say anything
that you have not heard me say."
Elijah said,
"The judgment of white America
will come at the hands of God."
For Malcolm, this did not align
with his desire to see justice
more immediately.
As long as this so-called
civil rights struggle is led...
And when I say "led,"
I use "led" in quotes.
Actually contained
by Uncle Tom Negro leaders,
then the white power structure
isn't worried at all.
They only worry when they know
that the masses of Black people
are ready to explode.
And in exploding,
it will destroy some of the furniture
in their house.
My father loved his fearlessness.
And he did pattern
a lot of his presentation
based on how Malcolm presented himself.
You start to see
some of the early developing tension
between the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
and Malcolm X.
Elijah Muhammad was not charismatic
in the way that Malcolm was charismatic.
Because you don't like the idea
of white people
shooting Black people down, do you?
And you're ready
to do something about it, aren't you?
We know you are.
The rank and file
of the Nation of Islam loved Malcolm.
For many people,
he was their most direct
experience and encounter
with the teachings of Elijah Muhammad.
Once Malcolm began
to pursue things like an intellectual,
I think he reached a point
where his interest
and the interest of the Nation diverged.
And, of course,
this leads to more tension, more conflict.
"I liked him."
"Some contagious quality about him
made him one of the very few people
I ever invited to my home."
They would talk.
They probably talked on the phone,
but it's all secretive.
But the Louisville Sponsoring Group
were starting to pick up
what was going on.
They began to realize
that Cassius
was affiliated with the Muslims.
They began to step back.
And suddenly, in Cassius Clay's rhetoric,
we start to hear the echo of Malcolm X.
July, 1963, Chicago.
Bruce Hills,
a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times,
is camped outside
of the University of Islam,
which is the Nation of Islam's school.
Somehow, he learns
that there's a tomato-red Cadillac
parked behind the University of Islam.
Cassius and Rudy
and a few others come out.
Bruce Hills gets excited.
His eyes light up,
and he starts following Cassius' car.
Bruce gets Cassius
to roll down the window.
And he sees Cassius
has a star and crescent pin on.
"What's going on?
Are you a member of the Nation of Islam?"
And at first,
Cassius Clay says, "No."
-And then he says
-"Well, so what if I am?"
"It's a great organization."
And it continues until Rudy turns
onto the freeway out of Chicago.
Now, the story published by Bruce Hills,
it doesn't quite
gain momentum yet in the press.
But it's obvious that he has
a relationship with the Nation of Islam.
The fact that Cassius Clay
was somehow connected to this group
made a lot of white people nervous.
And the FBI says the movement
is a potential threat
to the internal security
of the United States.
J. Edgar Hoover
was the director of the FBI,
working for the Kennedy administration.
Hoover and the FBI carried out
a counterintelligence program
designed to cut the legs out
from Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X.
Not just passive surveillance,
but active infiltration
designed to undermine the impact
that the Nation of Islam was having,
to neutralize the impact
that Malcolm was having.
Every day now, they are planning
how to stop Elijah and his followers.
But I say, I think you a little late.
We are confronted
primarily with a moral issue.
It is as old as the Scriptures
and is as clear
as the American Constitution.
The heart of the question is,
whether all Americans
are to be afforded equal rights
and equal opportunities.
Whether we are going to treat
our fellow Americans
as we want to be treated.
From Dallas, Texas,
the flash, apparently official,
President Kennedy died
at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time.
Down this avenue of sadness,
they bring President John F. Kennedy,
martyred hero,
to lie in state
under the great dome of the Capitol.
When Kennedy died,
Elijah Muhammad instructed all the temples
to leave it to him to express
the feelingsof the Nation
about the death of the president.
Elijah Muhammad,
from his home in Phoenix,
telephoned the newspaper
ordering that a statement
be placed on page one.
The statement reads,
"We with the world are very shocked
at the assassination of our President."
I have to respect
what the Messenger said.
No statement should be made.
I... I got that.
For me, if you teaching
the white man is the devil
who the hell is Kennedy?
Far as I'm concerned,
he didn't do a damn thing for me.
I mean, I still got...
I still got to provide for myself.
He ain't put no money in my pocket.
But I have to go with my father,
the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
He did make it plain,
don't make no statements.
In spite of the Messenger's instructions,
Malcolm spoke.
Malcolm X, second in command
of the Black Muslim movement,
expressed joy at the assassination
of President Kennedy
at a Manhattan rally last Sunday.
Malcolm said that
the killing of the President
was an instance
of "the chickens coming home to roost."
He added, and we quote,
"Being an old farm boy myself,
chickens coming home to roost
never make me sad,
they always make me glad."
In Chicago today, Elijah Muhammad,
the leader of the anti-white
Muslim movement,
suspended Malcolm X
and disavowed his statement.
It gave Elijah Muhammad
a socially acceptable excuse
for silencing Malcolm.
He's not allowed to preach,
he's not allowed to appear
at his mosque in Harlem.
And in fact, the members of that mosque
are not allowed
to be associated with Malcolm.
This was a big breach in his life.
He regarded Elijah Muhammad
as his personal savior.
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
His feelings
were unquestionably deep, devout.
I want to apologize to you
for having let you down,
for the mistakes that I've made,
especially during the past year.
And above all else, I am praying to Allah
for mercy and forgiveness in your heart.
He is torn here between this idea
that Elijah Muhammad is like his father,
and the fact that his father
has got his hand around Malcolm's throat.
This growing rift
was going to be a big problem
for, among other people, Muhammad Ali.
If Sonny Liston whups me,
I'll kiss his feet in the rain,
tell him he's the greatest,
and catch the next jet out of the country!
That's what I think about Sonny Liston!
You have,
in Liston and Ali, a thug on one side
and a loudmouth on the other side.
You can look at me,
I'm loaded with confidence!
I can't be beat!
I had 180 amateur fights,
22 professional fights,
and I'm pretty as a girl!
People were scared to death of Liston.
Sonny Liston was a boxer
who came out of the penitentiary,
who worked for organized crime
as a leg-breaker.
You owed some money,
you'd get a visit from Sonny.
He'll fall in eight
to prove that I'm great.
And if he keeps talking jive,
I'm gonna cut it to five.
Cassius, because of
what he was focused on,
training for that major fight,
I don't think he was attuned
to all of the internal dynamics
in the Nation of Islam.
On January 15th, 1964,
Malcolm, he's gonna head south.
He's going to Miami with his family
to visit Cassius Clay.
So, in advance of the trip,
he calls Cassius,
and Cassius responds, "Great."
He's enthusiastic,
he's excited to see him.
We know this call took place
between Malcolm and Cassius,
because a New York FBI agent
immediately called
the field office in Miami
and provided a directive.
"Malcolm is arriving
on this specific flight."
"Cassius Clay is going to be there."
"Make sure you tail their car."
Miami was the only place
where we had gone
as a family together on vacation
and to be in someone else's home.
That family photo of my mother
and my two elder sisters,
Attallah and Qubilah,
and I'm sitting on Muhammad Ali's lap.
For my father to take his wife
and his babies
and go to his home,
it meant that my father trusted him 100%.
My dad considered him to be a friend.
He considered him to be family, really.
And Malcolm was one of those few people
that he met that he could trust.
Malcolm was in need of allies.
He'd become isolated in the movement.
Cassius could be the big fish.
I think that is very possibly
part of Malcolm's calculation.
You can't dismiss the possibility
that he had those particular motives,
that it could be self-serving.
Somebody can...
You know, I can use and utilize,
because of his growing influentiality,
that he could help me too.
Malcolm sends these pictures
to two Black newspapers.
Malcolm wants to remind Elijah Muhammad
that Cassius Clay has the ability
to bring more members into the movement,
and they're as close as brothers.
Malcolm says to Elijah Muhammad,
"What would it be like
if for Savior's Day celebration"
which was the day after the fight,
"if I show up with Cassius Clay?"
"I wanna come back, Honorable Messenger,
and I have someone
who can help our cause."
About a week before the fight,
Malcolm X shows up.
Malcolm goes to a couple of workouts
in the camp.
He had been asked to leave
and go home.
That he could come back for the fight.
The real emphasis at that point
was whether or not Cassius Clay
was a member of the Nation of Islam.
They didn't want some Muslim
being the heavyweight champion,
so they basically threatened him.
Cassius was about to pack up the bus
to leave town,
since they said
they were canceling the fight,
but the promoters find out he was leaving,
they came back and said,
"You just don't tell nobody you're Muslim.
We won't say nothing."
February 25th, 1964.
Heavyweight championship of the world.
Malcolm has come back to Miami.
Miami, Florida,
where the Torch of Friendship
signifies a welcome to good people
of all races and creeds.
Remember, Miami is a segregated city,
and he has to stay at a hotel
that is only for Black people.
From the moment you drive up
to the main entranceof the Hampton House,
your welcome is assured.
A home away from home
to thousands of visitors
from states of the United States
and many foreign lands,
who seek the fabulous Florida sunshine.
If you like to lose your money,
then be a fool and bet on Sonny.
But if you wanna have a good day,
then put it on Clay.
I always thought Sonny Liston
was really afraid of only one thing,
and that was a crazy man.
He'd come out of the system,
and he'd spent time in jail
where he had seen people go nuts.
Cassius used that,
harassing him, making fun of him.
At the weigh-in, he went nuts,
tried to get at Sonny Liston.
A crazy man who had nothing to lose
could really hurt you.
We're almost all set to go
for that world heavyweight
championship fight.
The puncher, champion Sonny Liston,
the boxer, challenger Cassius Clay.
Just before the fight,
Cassius is nervous.
This is a big fight.He's...
He's going to fight Sonny Liston,
who is a bad man.
Suddenly, Malcolm X shows up
in the locker room.
They made prayer.
He talked to my brother,
gave my brother some instructions,
and my brother came outvery confident.
Malcolm encouraged him to believe
that he had to bring with him
into that ring
the power of God, if not God himself.
We're set for an exciting night
here inConvention Hall, Miami Beach.
You know,
with the support of your brother,
who believes just as deeply as you do,
you can pray to God
to give you the will to do what you must.
Now the questions will be answered.
If it goes past the first round,
there will be surprises already.
Malcolm got a seat
sitting in row seven, seat seven.
This is prophecy coming to truth.
And here they come.
Clay just laughs at him,
backs away, bobbing, weaving.
Clay with a left and a right at play!
Liston's caught!
Liston's bleeding under both eyes!
The bell sounds for the fifth round,
and he is having trouble with his eyes.
His trainer yelled,
"There's something in Liston's gloves."
Clay is blinking, said he can't see.
Here is Liston crouching,
hitting the low body.
And Clay keeps blinking
like he doesn't see Liston,
and that will be fatal.
His great body and head movements
kept him from Liston's punches.
Round five saw Cassius
come back on the attack.
All through this fight,
Cassius has ripped that left hand
into Sonny Liston's face.
And here in the sixth round,
Clay has taken control of the fight.
Round six ends.
Liston moves very wearily to his corner.
As we come up
to round seven
Wait a minute!
Sonny Liston's not coming out!
The winner and the new
heavyweight champion of the world
is Cassius Clay!
Every time I watch it,
I still get goosebumps.
Pandemonium has broken loose.
When he goes around the ring,
and he points everybody out,
"I told you, I told you."
"I told you I was the greatest.
I proved it."
That moment, it'll stick with you
the rest of your life.
I shook up the world!
"I shook up the world."
"I shook up the world."
I shook up the world!
He said he was the greatest,
uh, all of the odds were against him.
He upset theoddsmakers.
He won. He became victorious.
He became the champ.
And the, uh, people who, uh...
Who understand psychology
and the... The effect that, uh...
The psychological effect
that the image of one's hero
has upon the person himself
they knew that as soon as, uh...
If people begin to identify with Cassius,
and the ki...
Type of image he was creating,
they would have trouble
out of theseNegroes.
Because they'd have Negroes
walking around saying, "I'm the greatest."
Cassius say, "I am something righteous."
Cassius Clay, the greatest!
-Who's the prettiest fighter in history?
-Cassius Clay!
-He is the greatest!
-All right.
Fly like a butterfly, stings like a bee!
They leave the convention center,
a small group of people.
Rudy, Cassius, Malcolm X,
Jim Brown,
the great football player at the time,
Sam Cooke,
the unbelievable recording artist,
who's a good friend of Cassius.
And they come here
to the Hampton House.
Cassius and Rudy sit back here
on these very stools.
Cassius Clay the champion,
eating a bowl of ice cream.
That was his idea of a big celebration,
was a bowl of ice cream.
One of the happiest times of my life.
Everybody was celebrating victory.
Now, it's in this moment that
they all say, "Well, we believed in you,"
but it was Malcolm who believed in him.
And that means something.
It's with gratitude
that he celebrates with Malcolm.
It's getting late,
and the story goes that Malcolm,
Cassius Clay, Rudy, Jim Brown,
maybe a few others
They go to Malcolm X's room.
It's time to talk serious now.
Now Malcolm X is saying, "You know,
this Louisville Lip,
it's time to end that."
"You've got the title,
you've got the pulpit"
"now you gotta start talking right."
We weren't in the room.
We don't have a recording
of those conversations.
All we know is what happens next.
He was able
by confessing Allah is God
and Muhammad is his messenger
that he whipped
a much tougher man than he.
The enemy wanted him
to come out all blasted.
They had said that he would...
Liston would tear up
that pretty face of yours.
But Allah and myself said "No, no."
And do you think
that Cassius' being a Black Muslim
has had anything to do with this victory?
Well, I haven't heard him say
he was a Black Muslim.
I have heard him say that
he believes in the religion of Islam.
About a week after the fight
between Clay and Liston,
they go to the United Nations.
Malcolm X, I want to talk with you briefly
about your affiliation with Cassius.
How long have you known him?
About three years.
And have you been advising him, uh,
as far as his religious affiliations
are concerned?
Well, no, I don't give advice to anyone.
He's my brother and my friend.
I express what I know
and understand around him.
And Malcolm X introduces him
to Black diplomats from all over Africa.
There's my buddy. Yes, sir.
Glad to see you.
And this is where Malcolm reminds him,
"You are not what you were before."
"Now you are someone
who is looked up to all over the world."
Do you plan to visit Nigeria on your trip?
Yes, sir.
That's one of my main stops, Africa.
Malcolm wanted to play on a larger stage.
He was going to take the race situation
and internationalize it.
Take it to the UN.
The United States was pushing itself
as the leader of the free world,
the supporter of human rights,
and brother Malcolm was out there saying,
"Hey, y'all,
this is simply not happening."
Malcolm knew that this would be something
that would compel
the federal government to move.
Cassius is in a better position
than anyone else
to restore a sense of racial pride
to not only our people in this country,
but all over the world.
Over the course of the week,
Malcolm and Cassius
look like they've never been closer.
They go to Times Square,
and they go and they watch the fight
of Clay defeating Liston.
The winner
and new heavyweight champion of the world
is Cassius Clay!
When they come out of the theater,
what do you see?
A crowd, hundreds of people,
surrounding them.
Reporters are asking Malcolm questions
about whether or not the champ
is gonna be in his movement.
There are all these questions about
what's gonna happen next.
There's an FBI agent in Chicago
who is requesting continued surveillance
of Elijah Muhammad's mansion.
And this agent learns
that Elijah Muhammad
has had phone conversations
with the heavyweight champion.
On March 6th, 1964,
Cassius returns to his room
back at the Hotel Theresa.
He gets a phone call,
and it's Elijah Muhammad.
And the Supreme Minister tells him,
"You are not allowed
to associate with Malcolm anymore."
I understand that you're headed
for Chicago later on this afternoon
to meet with Elijah Muhammad?
-Yes, sir. I'm having dinner with him.
One of the main reasons
for you joining the Black Muslims
was your friendship
with Malcolm X, wasn't it?
No, I was a Muslim four years
before I met Malcolm X.
Oh, really?
Uh, he's a friend of yours
now though, isn't he?
-He was...
He's a brother of mine. He's my brother.
Whatever he do, he's my brother.
Uh-huh. Now that he's
split away from the Muslims...
I don't know about splitting.
I'll have to see
a higher authority on that.
That's one of my main reasons for going,
is to find out the real story.
I don't believe nothing
the press and people write.
Elijah Muhammad says,
"For all my followers
and all my people that believe in Islam,
this is the brother, Cassius Clay,
"he's the most trusted follower
that I got."
"And I name him
Muhammad Ali."
That's how he got the name.
Cassius Clay is given
his Muslim name, Muhammad Ali.
Most people had to wait for years
to get that.
He became a hero.
He appeared on the stage
with the Messenger.
And Malcolm was
out in the cold.
Muhammad Ali, then, is in the crosshairs
between two very powerful individuals,
two powerful Black leaders,
Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X,
whether he was aware of that or not.
When forced to choose,
for Malcolm,
he had no choice but to choose himself.
For Cassius,
he had to choose his spiritual father.
Malcolm was an individual.
Elijah was an institution.
Does this split disturb you,
that has been reported?
No, what Malcolm X does is his business.
He's one man.
-Your leader is Elijah Muhammad?
-Yes, sir.
The Messenger was our father.
A father we never had and always wanted.
He was like the blood in our veins.
There's no Melchisedek
without the Messenger's teachings.
Take these teachings,
I'm just another nigga in the street.
You understand what I'm trying to say?
It was a simple story line,
and my father
was right up in the middle of it,
as this young man trying to choose.
And, yeah, there could have been
an element of survival.
Cassius Clay is a name no more,
is that right?
Yes, sir. It's Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad means "worthy of all praises,"
and Ali means "most high."
When Malcolm heard this,
Malcolm exploded in a car and said,
"That's political."
Has anybody special gave you the name?
Yes, sir. My leader and teacher,
the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
He knew that in the battle
to win the heart of Muhammad Ali,
he had lost the fight.
Muhammad. My name's Muhammad.
Y'all keep calling me Cassius.
I'm tired of telling ya.
You know, you're intelligent.
My name is Muhammad Ali, not Cassius.
Ali would not let America define him,
and he wouldn't even let them name him.
Muhammad Ali,
more popularly known as Gaseous Cassius,
has just hit town for his
All of the endorsements,
all of the commercials,
Hollywood, all of that's open to you,
and changing your name
closes the door to all of that.
It would take a lot of courage in the
21st century, but it was unthinkable...
You would have to be out of your mind.
It was the ultimate statement.
-Mr. Clay, when you...
-Muhammad Ali, sir.
-Mr. Clay...
-Muhammad Ali, sir.
-Mr. Muhammad Ali, either one.
-Yes, sir.
-Just Muhammad Ali, sir.
-When you appeared
And all of a sudden, people said,
"Who does he think he is? A loudmouth N... ".
"The loudmouth N.
Who does he think he is?"
"Go to take a different name,
different religion."
It's a insult to be called Cassius Clay,
'cause I'm not white.
I'm Muhammad Ali. I'm a Black man.
It's the name of our history,
our ancestry.
So now it's an honor,
coming into the knowledge of self,
to be called by my own name.
How would a Russian look
named George Washington?
-Tell me again, who's the champ?
-Muhammad Ali!
-Again. Who's that?
-Muhammad Ali!
You have Muslims around the world
who maybe never followed a boxing match,
now are hearing this name
emanating over the press wires:
Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ali.
1964, Muhammad and Malcolm
traveled to Africa and the Middle East,
but not together.
They both had this concern
for the whole winds of change
that are growing across Africa.
Muhammad Ali was met
with all these adoring masses of people.
He was mesmerizing
in so many different ways.
The kind of charisma that he possessed,
you know, it's extraordinary.
And Malcolm is traveling alone.
Meeting with these here world leaders,
he was trying to bring the message
of 22 million African-Americans
to the world stage
-Salaam alaikum.
-Walaikum Salaam.
and bring charges,
you know, against the US.
In terms of their violation
of human rights.
Our problem is not an American problem,
it's a human problem.
It's not a Negro problem,
it's a problem of humanity.
He's like a representative,
a congressman,
a senator from Black America,
if not the president of Black America.
"The Muslim from America
excited everywhere
the most intense curiosity and interest."
"I was mistaken time and again
for Cassius Clay."
"A local newspaper
had printed a photograph
of Cassius and me together
at the United Nations."
"At that moment,
he had captured the imagination
and the support of the entire dark world."
Ali! Ali!
Ali! Ali!
My father always spoke about
the redemption of Africa.
And "Redemption Song" was an homage,
if you will, to Marcus Garvey,
and a statement
that Marcus Garvey made in 1937,
that we must liberate our minds
from mental slavery,
because while others
may help us to liberate our bodies,
none but ourselves can liberate our minds.
I think Malcolm started to see himself,
I believe, uh,
taking on that mantle.
Because of the spiritual rebirth,
which I was blessed to undergo
as a result of the pilgrimage
to the holy city of Mecca,
I no longer subscribe
to sweeping indictments of any one race.
May 17th, 1964,
Accra, Ghana,
outside the Ambassador Hotel
Malcolm was with
some of his American expat friends,
Maya Angelou and others.
Malcolm is being taken to the airport,
and outside the hotel,
and here comes Muhammad Ali.
Now, keep in mind that Malcolm,
he's been to Egypt and Saudi Arabia,
and in his journal,
he writes about Ali
as his brother and his friend.
So in this moment, in Accra, Ghana,
when he surprisingly sees the champ,
he thinks that
they're going to embrace as brothers.
Malcolm X keeps saying,
"Muhammad, Muhammad."
Finally, Muhammad Ali
turns to him and says,
"Look, you turned your back
on Elijah Muhammad."
"You were wrong, brother. You were wrong."
He turns around and walks away.
He kind of snubbed Malcolm at that point.
Their relationship
had pretty much soured, torn apart.
Maya Angelou would later write about how,
when Malcolm gets in the car,
he's slumped in the passenger seat.
He says, "I've lost so much."
He's lost Elijah Muhammad,
who had played
a paternal role in his life,
and now he's lost Muhammad Ali.
If that's the blood brotherhood
we're talking about,
I think it was probably
the end of the blood brotherhood.
What's your plan now?
I'm going back to the, uh, States,
first to see how my family is doing.
-See what develops.
When he returned from Africa
at JFK Airport,
my mother handed me over to my father,
and he's smiling.
I don't know if that's a fond memory,
or if it's because I've seen the photo
so many times,
but I feel like I see him looking at me
like he's waiting for something to happen.
And this is a golden Muslim mosque
that was presented to me
by the Islamic Council of all Egypt.
It's all solid gold, brother.
All solid gold.
Solid gold.
Solid gold! Yes
This is a gift to our leader and teacher
for waking all of us up,
because we were in a bad state
of condition before we heard him.
Yes, sir!
Hooray! Yes, sir!
Have you and Malcolm X,
the man who helped convert you
to the Black Muslim movement,
have the two of you split?
When the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
cuts a man off,
well then he's automatically cut off
with all of his followers.
My newspaper carried a story saying
upon your return from Africa,
you refused to stay at the Theresa Hotel,
your former headquarters.
My leader told me...
Not my leader, but various officials
said that it wouldn't be nice
being in the same hotel that he was in,
and whatever they say go.
When Cassius Clay was in Accra,
he was quoted as saying things
that were, um, not so friendly.
Uh, could you have anything
to say about that?
I don't know anything about what he said.
I'm always reluctant to believe
what I read in the newspaper
that one Black man supposedly said
about another Black man.
He was...
And if I have anything at all to say
about Cassius, I'll say it to him.
I don't even talk about Malcolm X.
He's not in our mind. He's a little...
We don't worry about Malcolm X.
We have too much to do,
and he's just one individual
who, as we say, went astray.
Do you still consider him a friend?
Yes, I consider
all of our people my friend.
And usually, those who act unfriendly
are only reflecting the poison
that someone else has put in them.
I... I'm wondering if you still believe,
as I think you certainly did
at the time you were allied
with the Black Muslim movement,
in a segregated Black nation
in North America?
I don't believe in any form
of segregation or any form of racism.
-Are you still a Muslim?
-Oh yes.
I'm a Muslim.
I believe in the religion of Islam,
which believes in brotherhood.
Complete brotherhood of all people.
Malcolm felt that
he was now a big man before the public,
and this seemed to have been his desire.
He wanted to be seen and heard.
He wanted to exalt himself
above his teacher.
Once Malcolm is labeled
a hypocrite
it marks him.
What people think hypocrite means
or permits them to contemplate to do,
puts him in an extremely
vulnerable position.
We definitely look at that
as one of the worst things you could do,
is be a hypocrite.
Uh, you know, we don't
affiliate ourselves with hypocrites,
and we let Allah
take care of our hypocrites.
-Why are they threatening you?
-Well, primarily because they're afraid
that I will tell the real reason
that they've been...
That I'm out of the Black Muslim movement,
which I never told, I kept to myself.
But the real reason
is that Elijah Muhammad,
the head of the movement,
is the father of eight children
by six different teenage girls.
Different, uh...
Six different teenage girls
who were his private personal secretaries.
Shouldn't have talked about him
like that. Elijah Muhammad?
Taught you everything you knew.
Gonna turn against that man? What a fool.
That's a mistake he made.
Your mission
and your personal life is separate.
If I got a package for you,
and my mission's to come across the street
and give you the package,
that's my mission.
If you see me across the street
with a young girl,
or drinking a quart of wine,
that ain't none of your business.
'Cause I fulfilled my mission.
The Messenger's job is not to discuss
or explain his personal life.
His job is to deliver the message.
Who in the hell are you
to question the Messenger
who took you out of a garbage can,
cleaned you up,
and put you in front of the world
as the number-one spokesman
for Black people?
Now you gonna question him?
No, no.
When Malcolm did that,
talked about Elijah,
said some bad things about his lifestyle
with women and things like that,
everybody that loved Elijah
turned against him.
He shouldn't have said that.
Too many people love Elijah.
They would kill for Elijah.
They did.
February the 14th, 1965,
Malcolm's house was firebombed
in East Elmhurst.
His house in Queens
was seriously damaged by fire,
a fire started by Molotov cocktails.
For my mother,
a bomb was thrown into the nursery
where her babies slept.
That has got to be frightening.
My house was bombed.
It was bombed by the Black Muslim movement
upon the orders of Elijah Muhammad.
They had planned to do it
from the front and the back
so that I couldn't get out.
I was working the graveyard shift
in one of the automobile plants
in Detroit.
He was supposed to be on the schedule
to come to Detroit to speak.
When I heard early in the morning hours
that his house had been firebombed
in East Elmhurst,
I knew he was not coming.
I was wrong.
At nine o'clock, Malcolm was on a plane,
came to Detroit, spoke at Ford Auditorium.
A friend of mine attended,
said he could smell the smoke on him,
what he had salvaged from his house
after being firebombed.
There were about
400 persons present in the ballroom here,
representing the...
An organizationknown as
the Afro-American Unity Organization
uh, headed up by Malcolm X.
The Audubon Ballroom was a huge ballroom,
but it had a very small lobby area.
I was sitting in the lobby,
facing the... The entrance.
I guess I'd been there
maybe 10, 15 minutes at the most,
and I heard Brother Malcolm say
assalamu alaikum,
and next thing I heard was shots.
Salaam alaikum.
I saw people crawling on the floor,
and so I got down too.
And my children were crying, you know,
"What's going on? What's going on?
Are they gonna shoot us?"
I knew they had shot my husband.
I ran forward.
I saw Malcolm hold his side
and hold his stomach and fell down.
We have two suspects in custody now.
One of these men was arrested
on the street
by one of our patrolmen close by.
Are they members of the, uh,
Black Muslims?
I would not know that.
-How do you feel now?
- I wanna kill somebody.
That's right, I wanna kill somebody.
Before the night's over, if Malcolm dies,
somebody gonna die.
He was our manhood.
He was the...
A milestone, you know, our anchor.
Malcolm X was the greatest Black man
since Marcus Garvey.
And when you lost it,you found out
how really lost you were as a people.
Mr. Muhammad,
yesterday in a wire story, uh,
a Muslim was quoted as saying, uh, that,
"The chickens had come home
to roost on Malcolm,"
in reference to Malcolm's
earlier statement
about the assassination
of President Kennedy.
Do you feel a Muslim brother
would make such a statement about Malcolm
upon learning of his death?
Well, I don't know.
I know nothing about who it was
any more than you.
Has any police force, sir,
asked you for a statement?
No, sir.
Mr. Muhammad, Malcolm,
before he was killed yesterday,
said the Black Muslims
were trying to kill him.
Would you comment on that?
I know nothing about it.
We're not, uh, violent people.
This is a shock to us.
What do you think happened to Malcolm X?
-What do I think?
Uh... Uh...
What I know, what happened to him.
I know he deviated and
And he died.
It's very easy to tell the story
of the assassination of Malcolm X
as a story of a dissident
who leaves a movement
and is punished for that.
And certainly,
there was definitely bad blood
between Malcolm and the Nation of Islam.
But from what we have been able
to gleanfrom the released FBI files,
and they have not all been released,
is that the FBI was gleefully
watching this gap, this split grow,
and grow bitterly between Malcolm
and the Nation of Islam.
The hidden hand
was the federal government.
They would never let
a white man shoot Malcolm,
'cause that would have been catastrophe.
Now, you always have,
excuse my expression,
niggas who will sell out
their mother for $2.
Police are everywhere, on rooftops,
standing on fire escapes,
in plain clothes,
and hundreds of New York City policemen
in uniform along 147th Street.
So far, the last rites for Malcolm X
are being performed without incident.
My sisters and I lost
our father
but I think for Black people,
that we lost someone who was brilliant,
kind, loving,
very compassionate.
I think that you have to be
in order to have
such a profound reaction to injustice.
James Baldwin wrote of Malcolm X,
"He was the most gentle
and tender man I ever met."
That's not the image of Malcolm.
But he saw Malcolm relating to Black folk.
He honored his own code
that he taught us.
Accept death.
Once you accept death, you're free.
The day before Malcolm X was
to be buried,
Elijah Muhammad made his first
public appearance since the assassination.
The Nation's leader was barely visible
behind the human wedge of bodyguards.
If you would like to follow anyone
against me,
go ahead and do it.
But your, uh...
That... Your end will be pretty bad.
I fear for you.
Also in Chicago,
participating in the Muslim convention,
is the heavyweight champion Cassius Clay.
His adopted Muslim name: Muhammad Ali.
Malcolm X and anybody else who attacks
or talks about attacking
Elijah Muhammad will die.
No man can oppose the Messenger
of Almighty God, uh,
verbally or physically,
and get away with it.
Muhammad Ali becomes part of this chorus,
that anyone who crosses
Elijah Muhammad must die.
That's the tragedy in all this.
That Malcolm is the enemy?
Was Malcolm the enemy
when he brought his family to Miami?
Did he think that Malcolm was the enemy
when he prayed with him before his fight?
Malcolm X got famous
mainly being hard
on people like you, white people.
White devils,
you blue-eyeded, blond-headed dog.
Whites cared nothing about Malcolm
nor so-called Negroes
when he was with
the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,
but they seem to love and follow
our dead leaders,
and now they have a dead man
who was nothing but a...
And he admit himself, Malcolm,
was a tramp, a
Had white women
selling their body for him.
He was nothing until the Honorable
Elijah Muhammad made him great.
And if Malcolm X had stayed
with the man that made him great,
taught him everything he knew,
today, he'd have been big, big, big.
In '72, my father went to Mecca.
And that is what got my father
to true Islam.
Elijah Muhammad,
leader of the Black Muslims,
died of heart failure today in Chicago.
He was 77 years old.
We left the Nation, I believe, around '75.
I was seven years old.
My brother was so good.
See, you gotta be me
to understand how I feel.
I was the only brother. Only one brother.
Blood brothers.
I miss him so much,
but I'm going to see him in heaven.
Oh, I can't wait to see him.
I will hug and kiss him.
Do you remember
anything that Muhammad Ali regretted?
Let me think.
-Let me think a few minutes here.
That's a hell of a... Hell of a question.
So many years are gonna go by,
and we're always curious about
a generation or two from now,
and what perceptions are they gonna have,
what estimations will they have
of Muhammad Ali,
of Malcolm X?
You know, what were the trajectories
of their lives, and what did it mean?
Already we can see it being played out
in different literature, different films,
different venues.
Look who gets it next.
The greatest.
The Ali that has been
presented to the public
since 1996
is a false image.
They've managed to edit out
those things that made Muhammad Ali
controversial in another era.
The same people who gave him
a standing ovation in Atlanta
the same people 20 years earlier
had talked about him like a dog.
He was a strident critic
of white supremacy.
And I just don't think
I should go 10,000 miles from here
and shoot some Black people
who never called me nigger,
never lynched me, never put dogs on me,
never raped my mama.
And I think a lot of that got written out
because of his illness
and the fact that
he wasn't really able to speak.
And even today,
America is still a country
whose governmental system
is based upon freedom, justice
and equality for white people only.
There's no such thing as freedom
in this country for a Black man.
Malcolm, of course, got killed in '65
and so people have been
rewriting his narrative ever since.
First time I went to the post office
to buy Malcolm X stamps, I was conflicted.
When Malcolm was killed in 1965,
no one would've imagined
that he would ever be
on any official product
of the US government.
Seeing Malcolm on a stamp
is really symbolic
of how his image changed over time.
To a certain extent,
he still lives with us.
He hasn't been taken away.
The spirit of him lives.
You can kill a man,
but you can't kill the idea.
Every junior high school, every college,
every university, all over YouTube,
they playin' Malcolm's audios and videos
just like he's still here.
And what he was teaching 50 years ago,
you see it happening today.
Black history, American history,
and world history changed
because of these two guys
that had the nerve
to be themselves and be bold.
And that boldness became contagious.
it's the two-legged dog that controls
They defined a whole generation
of where we walked
with our heads held high
and our shoulders back.
People forget my father
was still this young man in his 20s
whose eyes was on a championship.
There are things that Malcolm taught him
that my father kept with him
until his last day.
How did your brother feel about Malcolm X
after he was assassinated?
Did he ever talk to you
about regrets or how he felt?
He never did, but I know my brother. He...
He felt... He felt bad.
It hurt my brother bad, yes.
Once he severed ties
with the Nation of Islam,
Muhammad Ali reached out to our family.
I think Muhammad Ali likely felt
that he owed it to my father
to make sure that his wife
and his babies were safe
and that they were okay.
There was a double take
when I came upon him,
somewhere between me turning 18, 19 or 20.
Now looking right into his face...
You know how he is.
You know, he gives you
that little dare like, "Is that you?"
From the very moment we found one another,
it was as if no time had passed at all.
We cried out loud.
His grief for having not spoken
to my dad before he left.
Having Muhammad Ali in my life
somehow sustained my dad's breath for me
just a little while longer,
51 years longer.
Until now.
I upset Sonny Liston,
and I just turned 22 years old.
I must be the greatest!
I am the king of the world!
He's my brother and my friend.
I express what I know
and understand around him,
but he has a mind of his own,
an understanding of his own.
It was destiny
that they would feel that brotherhood
and learn together.
But there were these outside forces
that prevented them from continuing
this beautiful relationship
that had started.
We were writing my father's
autobiography, The Soul of a Butterfly,
it was in 2003,
I asked him about Malcolm X
and how he felt about
the relationship and how it ended.
And I remember,
my father sat back in his chair
and he closed his eyes
and it took him a little bit to respond,
maybe 10 or 15 seconds,
and he said to me...
He said that turning his back on Malcolm
was one of his greatest regrets.
He wished that he could go back
and tell Malcolm that he was sorry,
that he loved him, that he was his friend,
and that he was right
about so many things.
One of the things
that I'll never forget was
looking up at Muhammad Ali and asking him,
"Did you love my father?"
And him saying,
"I loved your father with all my heart."