Muhammad Ali

by ethnic on June 24, 2010

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.

Sources: Genealogies of Muhammad Ali –

New York Times article about Muhammad’s ancestry, 1980 –

Muhammad’s paternal great-grandparents, James Montgomery Greathouse and Betsy Jane Alexander, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Muhammad’s mother on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Muhammad’s maternal grandfather, John Lewis/Louis Grady, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

neiltennant June 6, 2018 at 9:49 am

please believe me or not but there are racist people outside who see him as an idol.

people from US and germany

he is a legend and we will never forget him.

andrew January 25, 2017 at 3:40 pm
andrew January 25, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Armistead S. Morehead had also significant Scottish ancestry (his Morehead and Duncan lines). On his father’s side, Alì had 1/32 Caucasian ancestry, through this man, James Bradley, (, and more distant British Isles roots through other lines.

follers January 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm

I don’t think Morris Greathouse and America Bradley were Muhammad’s ancestor James Montgomery Greathouse’s parents. For one thing, Muhammad’s ancestor James is listed as black on the census. For the other, they would have been around 11 and 9 years old when James was born.

andrew January 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm

In that case, rootsweb family tree is wrong. Also according to this findagrave page, America Bradley’s husband was a William Marshall, and not Morris Greathouse.

andrew October 13, 2016 at 12:32 pm
DGM June 7, 2016 at 11:02 am

Wait, so he doesn’t have Irish ancestry? LOL

Somebody needs to let these guys know:

Connerfromvine June 5, 2016 at 11:06 am

Was there ever a DNA trace back to his African ancestors? He looks very South African to me, which would be very unusual for an African American from Kentucky.

fuzzybear44 June 6, 2016 at 12:46 am

South African coloured, and African Americans have the same ethnic ingredients in common(Euro/African) mix. So it’s only natural that you may have some looks in common

ethnic June 4, 2016 at 2:46 am

Rest in peace

fuzzybear44 June 3, 2016 at 11:34 pm

To the greatest, may he rest in peace

follers June 3, 2016 at 9:51 pm
hotvic June 4, 2016 at 8:03 pm

r.i.p king of the world

and handsome fighter : )

Manila June 3, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Muhammad died in Phoenix, Arizona, United States on June 3, 2016.


andrew November 4, 2013 at 5:32 am
andrew November 4, 2013 at 5:39 am

@ follers

excuse me so Alì is related to ed helms and lacey chabert
throu’ Mr Taliaferro

follers November 4, 2013 at 5:56 am

Yes, and to many other famous people. Taliaferro is a very common American lineage.

andrew November 4, 2013 at 6:22 am

who other?

follers November 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Off the top of my head, there is Glenn Close (the daughter of William Taliaferro Close). As I recall, Glenn is descended from Taliaferro (at least) twice over.

I often group Taliaferro together with Nicholas Lanier and the Italian-born Lucretia Bassano, since they also moved to England in the 1500s, and a lot of people are descended from them, too (Will Ferrell and Keanu Reeves, for example).

andrew November 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm

how much are reliable these family trees? I find quite bizarre so many famous ppl are somewhat related between them

andrew November 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Even Jimmy Carter is related to the Taliaferros

follers November 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Some trees are more reliable than others.

However, there is nothing unusual about either the Lanier or the Taliaferro families having so many famous descendants. People who lived in the 1500s have millions and millions of descendants.

For example, every person of English descent is descended from English kings of the 1300s. It’s just the law of math. As you go further back in time, a person has more and more ancestors, but there were less and less people in the world.

Is Jimmy Carter a Taliaferro descendant as well?

follers November 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Rashida Jones is another Bassano descendant (on her father’s side).

andrew November 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm

yes, Carter/Taliaferro families seems to be related. You should investigate. Carter is related to Presley too

andrew September 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Dennis Hopper and Jodie Foster are Bartolomeo Taliaferro descendants too.

follers November 27, 2017 at 9:10 am

Ali was 1/4096 Italian.

MettaWorkPlease November 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm

With what he went through in his time, I’m sure like most African Americans of the time, he could care less bout his European ancestry

fuzzybear44 November 4, 2013 at 3:30 am


Well that might be true for most AA’s.Although Ali did go to Ireland:

Alice November 4, 2013 at 3:41 am

His Irish ancestry came though his great grandfather who was from Co. Clare. It was a love match and wasn’t from slavery. Muhammad Ali is revered around the world and the Irish were thrilled to find out about his ancestry. He was welcomed with open arms in Ennis where his Great Grandfather was from. The fact that he went there and was such a gentleman and went out to meet the people shows that he accepted his ancestry. He was made an Honorary Freeman of Ennis.

I think the main thing here is his Irish bloodline wasn’t through slavery.

fuzzybear44 November 4, 2013 at 5:24 am


I guess they would treat Martin Luther King the same way

Alice November 4, 2013 at 5:42 am

Yes he would be a hero. I’m sure you have heard of the anti-slave campaigner Frederick Douglass. He is highly thought of in Ireland.

John November 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Agreed. If everyone looks at you and thinks you’re Black, then in your mind, you are black. That’s how it goes. That’s why blacks usually side and own their “blackness” more than their white side if they’re mixed. If someone is German and Irish, they can celebrate and “be” whatever side they wish, but when someone is black and white, everyone usually just assumes they’re black, and accuses them of all of the stereotypes, so they grow to resent their white side, in most case. This is why black and white mating is not good for the children. They become confused and angry people.

ethnic November 27, 2013 at 11:41 pm

You make it sound like they are animals.

sadie April 10, 2012 at 4:23 am

Looks only black to me!

nnnnn November 20, 2012 at 7:39 am

How should he look? He’s only 1/8 white.

nnnnn November 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm

My commentar was not racistic. I like him.
My point was, “black” strong predominates by him,
if 1/8 or 1/6

Maria January 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Muhammad Ali has Irish heritage who would of taught.

Brian November 3, 2011 at 1:55 am

That’s why we call it black irish haha this is one of my favorite black men.

Asli October 19, 2011 at 8:34 am

It seems like almost every American, has some extent of Irish ancestry.

rafa June 25, 2010 at 7:12 am

i am spanish english and irish

my great great grandfather was irish from co. armagh ireland

ali is two times more irish then me i know that still proud of my celtic irish ancestors

Rick June 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Abe Grady, his great grandfather was from Ennis, Co. Clare in Ireland.

Check out this video of his Irish ‘homecoming’ :

ethnic June 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm

nice vid thanks!

total23 June 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm

So Y Don’t You Put Irish Also?

He Also Has English Ancestry:

total23 June 25, 2010 at 11:53 am

Thanks Ethnic!

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