Interview with Steven Dunkley
QUESTION 26
INTERVIEWER:

What happened when they did the actual induction? Give me that story again.

STEVEN DUNKLEY:

The actual induction, ah--

STEVEN DUNKLEY:

What happened at the actual induction ceremony was that, ah, Muhammad Ali and the people who were to be inducted that day, ah, came in. We had this induction ceremony room, had like a podium in it. They were lined up in front of the podium and then, ah, ah, I came in and got, stood up on the podium and basically told them that they were there for induction in the Armed Forces of the United States. I explained to them that as I called their name, they would take a step forward and that step forward would constitute their induction in the U.S. Army. OK, so then I started down, ah, through the list, starting with the A's, you know, Army always starts at the A's and ends with the Z's. So I started with the A's and when I got down to the M's, Muhammad Ali, I said, "Muhammad Ali," I looked him in the eye, wondering if he was going to do it and he didn't do anything. Then I called Cassius Clay and, ah, he didn't do anything. Because we wanted to make sure that the name was correct that we were calling**. At that time Captain Hall and Lieutenant Hartman took him from the room to advise him of his rights. I, ah, continued on with the ceremony and, ah, the rest of the gentlemen in the room took the step forward, became, ah, part of the U.S. Army. Then I did the, raise the right hand and swore, and swore them into the United States Army and then they left. Then we brought Muhammad Ali back in after he had been advised of rights, ah, and then, ah, called his name again. I looked him in the eye again and said, "Muhammad Ali," and he stood there. And then I said, "Cassius Clay," and he stood there. And then we told him that we, he was free to go, that he had in fact refused induction in the United States Army and he was free to go. At that time we asked him, ah, if he wanted to go to the press room and talk to the press because we had a large room full of people that, movie cameras and, and newspaper people that wanted to talk to him and, and get his thoughts and his feelings and why he had done what he had just done. Or if he wanted to quietly leave by a back entrance that we had. And he said that he wanted to go to the press room and, ah, talk to the press people. He had a prepared, ah, press release that was typed out that he had been carrying through all the, the processing, ah, and he, ah, took it out of his briefcase and gave it out to all the, the people in the press room and, ah, which basically, ah, gave his reasons for refusing induction. That he was, ah, a Muslim minister and therefore was not, ah, was exempt from serving in the United States Army or the Armed Forces of the United States.

INTERVIEWER:

Great. Cut. That was very good. Thank you.