I love your show and I like your style but your pay is so cheap I won't be back for a while.. Ali on Parky; GLOVES ARE OFF HE ENTERTAINED MILLIONS ON TV'S MOST-WATCHED TALK SHOW.
I came on after him and he was talking about, "I am the prettiest wrestler. I am great! Look at my beautiful blond hair."
I was 21 years old, I was the Olympic champion but I hadn't started talking yet... I saw all those people coming through the door to see Gorgeous George get beat - and they all paid to get in... And I said, "This is a good idea".
Right away, I start talking: "I am the greatest. I am beautiful. If you talk jive, you'll fall in five."
People sold everything... to come in and see me beat. I went to the bank laughing every time.
PARKY: When you were a kid in Louisville, did you get involved in fist fights and things like that? ALI: A couple. I can remember a couple of real fights when I ran. Because they were kinda dangerous. One fella was going for a rock and another was picking up a stick and there wasn't no referees or judges and I got out of there real quick.
PARKY: You are as much now a political figure as you are an athlete. ALI: I don't call myself a political figure but I'm taken to be.
PARKY: But you're involved in a political struggle, a power struggle, between black and white and you're a leading member of that.
ALI: I need to get everything straight. I'm not involved in a power struggle between black and white. I'm not trying to get power over white. I'm involved in a freedom struggle...
We're not trying to take power away or rule anybody. We're just trying to get up from under the rulers.
PARKY: When is your first recollection, as a child, of being a second-class citizen? ALI: Second class? Oh no. Sixteenth class. They used to always say I was a second class citizen.
I would say to my mother, "Momma? How come the Chinese can go where I can't go in America? Englishmen can come and set up a business in white America and do things I can't do?" I won the Olympic gold medal in Rome, Italy... And the flag is going dun-dun-dun-dun. I'm standing so proud. And I'd have whooped the world for America. I took my gold medal...
I said, "Man, I know I'm going to get my people freedom. I'm the champion of the whole world. Olympic champion. I know I can eat downtown now."
I went downtown... had my big gold medal on and went in a restaurant. At that time, things weren't integrated. Black folks couldn't eat downtown... I said, "A cup of coffee, a hotdog." The lady said, 'We don't serve negroes." They put me out. I had to leave that restaurant in my home town... from then on, I've been a Muslim.
PARKY: Yes, I was going to ask you about what attracted you to leave to the Muslim faith.
ALI: The teachings of Elijah Muhammad on how black people have been brainwashed. How they've been taught to love white and hate black, how we've been robbed of our names in slavery... And when I heard the truth about my name was not Cassius Clay, like I knew a black man in America named John Hawkins.
Now, you know who John Hawkins was. He was a slave trader from England. But the white people of that love and black time, if one had five slaves and his name was Jones, they would be called Jones' property.
ALI ON OF ELIJAH MUHAMMAD If you was auctioned off to Mr Smith, your name was Smith. Identifying you as property of certain masters.
So now that I'm free, now that I'm no longer a slave, then I want a name of my ancestors. Muhammad Ali.
PARKY: Elijah Muhammad teaches separatism, the two races shall live separately... Why do you reject integration? ALI: We don't hate nobody. But Elijah Muhammad teaches us the truth of God beautified the planet by separating everybody in different countries: Chinese in China, English in England...
Americans took that country and stole it away so there's always going to be trouble and chaos.
PARKY: Do you think... to ever get this separate state, do you think it can be achieved bloodlessly? Or do you white hate think there will be a fight? ALI: There won't be on our part. We're taught it's impossible for us to be violent.
TEACHINgS The most powerful military country in the world, America, taught us how to shoot the guns.
And when you say integration, that comes with a marriage too, right? I'm sure no intelligent white person watching this show, in his or her right white mind, want black men and women marrying their white sons and daughters and in return introducing their grandchildren to half-brown, kinky-haired black people.
PARKY: I wouldn't object to it. ALI: Well, you wouldn't. But I'm sure a lot of them would. What I'm trying to say is - well, you say that but you're on a show you gotta say that.
PARKY: That's not true... Elijah Muhammad is on record saying he believes white men are devils. You don't believe that, do you? ALI: Yeah, I believe everything he preach. Mainly he talks about the American white man... He didn't mention anything about Europe or Sweden or Canada. America. If he can prove he's not the devil, then he should get on television and call the man a liar. No white man says he's not the devil. He don't say nothing.
PARKY: Are you saying that every white man in America is a devil? Was John F Kennedy a devil? ALI: Who am I to say he was the devil? I am not Elijah Muhammad. I've heard Elijah Muhammad say that many white people mean right and in their heart want to do right.
But if 10,000 rattlesnakes were coming down the aisle right there and I had a door I could shut, and one thousand of those snakes meant right.
Those rattlesnakes didn't want to bite me and I knew they were good. Should I let those rattlesnakes come down, hoping that those one thousand get together and form a shield? Or should I just close the door and stay safe. You understand? The Viet Cong are not all bad. But America still dropping bombs... So now I'm going to forget the 400 years of lynching and killing, raping and depriving my people feeding of justice and equality and the lowest of low last respect and I'm going to look at two or three white people who are trying to do right and don't see the other million who are trying to kill me? I'm not that big of a fool... They kill all our leaders. Those who ever come in to prominence...
They rape our women daily. Policemen pull black people over, hit them across the head and try them unjustly in court. And none of those good white folks can be found to help us. And what am I going to tell you? Get up and say Elijah Muhammad is wrong when he says they are the devil? They have to prove they are not the devil.
PARKY: I'd like to talk to you now about what happened when you refused to join the forces. As you said, the black Muslim movement ALI: It's just Muslim. Not black Muslim.
That's what the press call us because the history of Americans is to divide and conquer.
We got white Muslims, brown Muslims, yellow Muslims, tan Muslims, red Muslims and black muslims - we're the same all over. There ain't no such thing as black Muslims.
That's how they tried to cut off all my brothers in the rest of the world and divide us in America and make other Muslims think that we are not with them.
We are all the same. I recognise them and they recognise me. I'm invited to all of their homes all over the world and I'm invited to Muslim countries.
And the first thing they ask me is, "Why do you call yourselves black Muslims?". I think we're all brothers - that's the truth.
PARKY: If it ever came, and God hope it never does, into a war between black and white, would you fight then? ALI: Black and whites, how? A lot of wars are fought between black and whites daily in America.
But if it's something I want to be with, the people who started it were black, I wouldn't not get in it. It would have to be a holy war declared by God himself.
If some black man go out and start something, a riot or something or, I'm not going to jump in it and get killed because he's gone out and started something I don't believe in what he's fighting for or his approach.
PARKY: Would you like to be president? ALI: No. No sir. Too dangerous. Life is like a ship. There's people dancing on a ship. There's a lot of money on the ship, but I cannot integrate on the ship or get equality on the ship. And I never could. I'm just in the galley working and I never could get up to see the captain of the ship.
Now, all of a sudden, the man tells me, "Come on, I want you to leave the galley because I want you up here to have something to drink", and giving me number one spot.
I'd think, "This ship must be sinking, right? Why's he so nice to me now? What moves him to call me up here?" Black men, one might be the president. Well, America's in too much trouble. I don't want that job now. Something to think about, ain't it? PARKY: To lighten it a little... I saw a picture of you in the paper two days ago cornered by a group of fans, mainly women, in the supermarket.
Can I ask what the problem is, if it is a problem, about being regarded as one of the most attractive men and the fan adulation from women? ALI: I don't pay much attention to it. I don't consider myself no attractive man. People like Tom Jones and Elvis Presley. I'm not nothing like that.
PARKY: You hear it from some champions, saying that every guy thinks they can fight you or take you on... Never happened to you? ALI: If a man dreamed to be, they better wake up and apologise. Walk up and just hit ME? He would stand an easier chance in Vietnam with a BB gun. No, I've never noticed that.
PARKY: Are you fearless? Do you have fears of anything at all? ALI: Yeah. I tell you what I really fear. I fear aeroplanes.
When the flight's all right and smooth I'm still thinking, "What if the engine blow up? What if a fool's got a bomb on it?" PARKY: How do you travel when you're in the States then? ALI: Mostly by Rolls-Royce. (I've not been paid for that commercial). PARKY: What plans do you have for the future now, apart from fighting? ALI: Let me tell you something - I've never said this before. I really care nothing about boxing. Boxing is a stepping stone just to introduce me to the audience... Like, when I speak I draw people in the States to teach them various things or to give them dignity, pride and self-help.
I have to help the dope and prostitution problem. And I use my image to try to help young people fighting and killing each other.
Boxing is just going to be another year. But my main fight is for freedom and equality. This is what I plan to do.
Boxing is good for the livelihood but, mainly, money don't really mean nothing...
So number one comes freedom first for my people and equality. And this is what I plan to do after I'm through fighting - working with nothing but the people, the little people in the alleys. The downtrodden people, going out and helping them with my image.
PARKY: Do you find people's attitude in America changed towards you? Those that criticised you at first when you refused to go in the army... three-and-a-half years later when Vietnam became an unpopular war, did you then become a hero? ALI: Only for reasons of war, not for religion or my people's freedom.
They later agreed with me on just that subject. But the same people that are with me for not going to Vietnam because I saved them and their children. The same people will give me hell if I turn to them and say, "Let's free my people now".
They're with me on one part of my beliefs about the war, that's all. Not for my freedom...
I have one more poem about your show. I asked how much money was I getting, you know, for taking up my time.
I was told your budget was kinda low and you don't pay too much.
So I wrote a poem and I'm going to close with this: I love your show And I like your style But your pay is so cheap I won't be back for a while.
When the flight's all right and smooth, I'm still thinking, 'What if a fool's got a bomb on it?' When the flight's all right and smooth, I'm still thinking, 'What if a fool's got a bomb on it?' ALI ON FLYINGBlack people have been taught to love white and hate black ALI ON TEACHINGS OF ELIJAH MUHAMMAD
SPARRING PARTNER Showman Ali squares up to Parky