Muhammad Ali

02/09/2008 – Muhammad Ali – 12th Annual Keep Memory Alive “Power of Love Gala” – Arrivals – MGM Grand Convention Center – Las Vegas, NV, USA – Keywords: Muhammad Ali, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., Cassius Clay – – – Photo Credit: PRN / PR Photos

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 –


Curious about ethnicity

44 Responses

  1. neiltennant says:

    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.

  2. andrew says:

    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.

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