Clay Puts Black Muslim X In His Name
“The new world heavyweight champion confirmed today that he was changing his name to Cassius X Clay to conform with Black Muslim nomenclature, but he left some doubt what would happen to Marcellus, his given middle name.
Clay was asked about the change after he had visited Chife S.O. Abedo, the Nigerian representative to the United Nations.
“My name is Cassius X. Clay” the boxer said in answer to a question. He added; “X is what the slave masters used to be called.”
When Clay was ask whether X would replace his middle name, he consulted briefly with Malcolm X, suspended East Coast leader of the Black Muslims.
“This isn’ the time to answer that question,” Clay said. “It will all come out in time.”Elijah Muhammad the national leader of the Black Muslims, had a different idea. In a radio broadcast taped today in Chicago and broadcast here on WWRL tonight, Muhammad said:
“This Clay name has no devine meaning. I hope he will accept being called by a better name. Muhammad Ali is what I will give him as long as he believes in Allah and follows me.”
-New York Times. March 7, 1964