Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. “Muhammad Ali and the Negro Movement”

Firing Line Videos, Hoover Institution, taped on December 12, 1968, uploaded to YouTube on August 16, 2010.

Guest: Muhammad Ali


When Mr. Clay joined the Black Muslims, his draft board reversed its earlier determination (made in order to keep him out of the Armed Forces so that he could continue to box) that he was not sufficiently intelligent to serve. When he was reclassified, he pleaded conscientious objection, was refused, and was about to begin a term in jail. Clay: “I have to be real cool and not savage and radical, because it makes me angry when I think about it–when I see the white boys, who really are the number-one citizens, the future rulers, when I see them, by the hundreds, leaving the country, and I see the white preachers breaking into draft-board houses in Wisconsin and Baltimore, tearing the files out of the walls and making a bonfire out of 45,000 draft cards, pouring blood on them, and I see them go to court and the juries say two years, and I get five years for what’s legal–”