Interview with Edwin Pope

Were you comfortable with Cassius Clay whose name changed to Muhammad Ali? What did you call him, what did you--?


Uh I don't think, ah, many of us in the writing business were real comfortable with, ah, Cassius Clay joining the Nation of Islam and, ah, changing his name to Muhammad Ali. On the other hand, it wasn't, it didn't seem near as big then as, as it turned out to be. We didn't realize what was going on. To most of us it was about the same as a Baptist standing up and saying he'd become a Presbyterian, or an Episcopalian saying he'd become a Baptist, or something along that line. We didn't really realize what was involved, uh. There was a little trepidation because Malcolm X had been in the headlines quite a bit and it may have been that some people perceived this as, as a little bit of a threat, ah, to themselves. We didn't, I guess the most practical application was that we didn't know what to call Cassius Clay. We didn't know whether to call him Cassius or Muhammad, we felt very strange calling him. Ah, his wife, at that time called him Ali, most of the people called him Ali. But you wouldn't call him Clay. You would have called him Cassius, and it seemed odd to call him Muhammad. So it was a strange situation.


OK. Let's stop.