June 3 marks the one-year anniversary of boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s death, and many are reflecting on his life and legacy. A piece featured in TIME delves into his transformative conversion to Islam.
In his forthcoming book Ali: A Life, out in October from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, author Jonathan Eig excerpts a letter that Ali wrote to his second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, who was married to the legendary fighter from 1967-1976. In the letter, which Camacho-Ali says her ex-husband wrote some time in the late 1960s, Ali describes seeing a cartoon in the Nation of Islam newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, outside a skating rink in his hometown of Louisville.
The cartoon illustrated how white slave owners brutally beat their slaves, while insisting that they pray to Jesus. The message: Christianity was the religion of the oppressive white establishment. “I liked that cartoon,” Ali wrote. “It did something to me. And it made sense.”
Ali’s description of the cartoon matches a strip printed in the December 1961 edition of Muhammad Speaks.
According to the outlet, Ali publicly converted to Islam in 1964; a powerful decision that sparked a lot of backlash from his critics.
Bishop Walter Scott Thomas, Pastor Of The New Psalmist Baptist Church In Baltimore, Announces Retirement
Throwback Thursday: Classic Gospel Songs That Still Excite The Black Church
Kirk Franklin Shares Emotional “Father’s Day” Documentary; Social Media Responds
Sarah Jakes Roberts Announces Dates For The Newly Rebranded Woman Evolve Conference
7 Throwback Gospel Performances We'll Never Forget
Sarah Jakes Roberts Announces "The Hope Revival" Tour
12 Gospel Artists Who Are Also Pastors
Gospel Singer DOE Announces Engagement: "And So It Begins"