Interview with Muhammad Ali
QUESTION 14
JUDY RICHARDSON:

What kind of role model and image did you present for young Black people back then?

MUHAMMAD ALI:

First I wasn't thinking about myself first and then my people, White people, all of our people are brothers and all need help, mainly to my people. I liked being who I was because they put it on television and when I say, "I'm the greatest, I'm pretty," it means that little Black children and people who felt like they were nothing, "We got our champion. Look what he's doing, look at the way he's living." So, when they see, they go to the store, they see White Owl cigars, White Swan soap, King White soap, White Cloud tissue paper, White , phew, it's a White tornado. Tornadoes are Black. You can see them coming but they made them White. And they say Jesus is White, the Last Supper, White, all the angels are White, nation of America, White. In the movies, the hero always rides on White horse and certainly men in White. And for me to come along, "I'm the greatest of all times." That's all I needed to do. A Black man saying, he's the greatest. And if all of them can do it, I'm their father, this is why I use boxing to promote that idea. Maybe if you see me today, I feel so bad, when I was a kid I did dumb things, you help me in the school, made me feel better. I have people today telling me that. I'm still the greatest of all times. Of all times.

MUHAMMAD ALI:

Little Black kids, little Black kids see that.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

That's perfect. I'll tell you what, before you get up--