Muhammad Ali

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Muhammad Ali was a professional boxer.

Vietnam survey

Wallace Terry, author of "Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans" visited Vietnam in 1967 as a correspondent for Time magazine.

"While there he observed that the majority of African-Americans in Vietnam were of the school of thought that it was better to fight for civil rights at home by proving their patriotism in Vietnam, rather than engaging in violence."

Three years later in 1970, Wallace Terry returned to Vietnam to conduct a survey among 392 African-American and white soldiers from all branches of the military and from both enlisted and officer ranks.

The results of his survey dramatically show a change in African-American attitudes only after three years. In 1967 Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and Stokely Carmichael were not very popular with African-American soldiers because of their stance against the Vietnam War. But in 1970 they were regarded as heroes for the same reason.

Some of the other results of Terry's 1970 survey:

  • 50% of African-Americans said that they would use their weapons in the struggle for civil rights in the United States.
  • 30% said they would join black power organizations.
  • 83% believed that additional American race riots were inevitable and 45% of those said that they would participate in such riots.
  • 45% would refuse orders to put down riots involving African-Americans.
  • 65% believed that race relations in Vietnam would deteriorate.
  • 76% rejected the term "Negro" for "Black" or "Afro-American."
  • 69% approved of Muhammad Ali.

Relationship to Joe Walker

During his life, long time Communist Party USA associate Joe Walker enjoyed professional and personal relationships with a number of dignitaries, civil rights activists, and freedom fighters to include Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. James Baldwin, Hulan Jack and David Dinkins, the former Mayor of New York City[2].

Writing and broadcasting

In 1971, Richard Durham created a television series, Bird of the Iron Feather, which aired on WTTW, a local PBS station in Chicago. Described as a "soul drama" and funded by the Ford Foundation, this series was praised for introducing more authentic television programming and for portraying African American life in a more realistic fashion. Given the dearth of blacks in television production, Bird of the Iron Feather broke new ground by being almost exclusively written, directed and produced by blacks. While working as an editor for Muhammad Speaks, Durham was asked to assist Muhammad Ali in writing his autobiography, The Greatest, which was published in 1977[3].


  1. Terry, Wallace. (1970). "Bringing the War Home." Black Scholar, 2(3), p. 6-18.
  2. [1] ChickenBones: A Journal for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes, obituary of Joe Walker, accessed June 4, 2010