Birth Name: Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.
Date of Birth: January 17, 1942
Place of Birth: Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Date of Death: June 3, 2016
Place of Death: Phoenix, Arizona
Ethnicity: African-American, some English and Scottish
Muhammad Ali was a legendary American professional boxer and activist. He is considered the greatest heavyweight fighter in the history of the sport.
Muhammad was the son of African-American parents, Odessa Lee (Grady) and Cassius Marcellus Clay. His brother is boxer Rahman Ali. He was a descendant of pre-Civil War era American slaves in the South. He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., and he and his father were named after abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay. He was given the name Muhammad Ali in the mid 1960s, when he was twenty two, by Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.
Muhammad was married to Yolanda (“Lonnie”) Williams, until his death. He had at least nine children, including a son with Yolanda, four with his former wife, actress and martial artist Khalilah Ali, a daughter with Aaisha Ali, and two with his former wife, actress and model Veronica Porché Ali.
Muhammad’s maternal great-grandfather, Abe Grady, is often said to have been an Irish immigrant, from County Clare, who moved to Kentucky, but this is evidently incorrect. No Irish-born people named Abe or Abraham Grady appear on any Kentucky censuses. The Abe Grady who was Muhammad’s maternal great-grandfather was almost certainly an African-American man, born in Kentucky.
One of Muhammad’s maternal great-great-grandfathers, Armstead S. Morehead, was caucasian, and had English and Scottish ancestry. Through this great-great-grandfather, Muhammad was also descended from Bartholomew Taliaferro, an Italian man who moved to England in the 1500s.
Muhammad’s paternal grandfather was Herman Heaton Clay (the son of John Henry Clay and Sarah “Sallie” Anne Frye/Fry). Herman was born in Kentucky. Sallie was said to have been born in Madagascar.
Muhamma’s paternal grandmother was Edith Edean Greathouse (the daughter of James Montgomery Greathouse and Betsy Jane Alexander). Edith was born in Kentucky. Betsy was the daughter of Wesley John Alexander and Patsy Fry.
Muhammad’s maternal grandfather was John Lewis/Louis Grady (the son of Abraham “Abe” Grady and a woman surnamed Walker). John was born in Kentucky. Muhammad’s great-grandmother was the daughter of Lewis Walker and Amanda “Mandy” J.
Muhammad’s maternal grandmother was Birdie Bell Morehead (the daughter of Thomas/Tom Morehead and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bibb). Birdie was born in Kentucky. Thomas was the son of Armstead/Amistead S. Morehead and Dinah. Elizabeth was the daughter of Abram Bibb and Rachael Ferguson.
New York Times article about Muhammad’s ancestry, 1980 – http://www.nytimes.com
Muhammad’s paternal great-grandparents, James Montgomery Greathouse and Betsy Jane Alexander, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Muhammad’s mother on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Muhammad’s maternal grandfather, John Lewis/Louis Grady, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org