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, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States

Date of Death: June 3, 2016

Place of Death: Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American, small amounts of English, Scottish, and Welsh, possibly some Malagasy

Muhammad Ali was a legendary American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. He is considered the greatest heavyweight fighter in the history of the sport. He was nicknamed “The Greatest.”

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 four with his former wife, actress and martial artist Khalilah Ali; a daughter with Aaisha Ali; two, including professional boxer and television personality Laila Ali, with his former wife, actress and model Veronica Porché Ali; and a son with Yolanda.

Muhammad’s maternal great-grandfather, Abe Grady, is often said to have been an Irish emigrant, 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-grandfathers, Thomas Morehead, was born a slave, to a slave mother, Dinah. His father was said to have been Dinah’s owner, Armstead S. Morehead, who was white, and had English, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry.

Muhammad’s paternal grandfather was Herman Heaton Clay (the son of John Henry Clay and Sarah “Sallie” Fry). Herman was born in Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky. Sallie was said to have been born in Madagascar.

Muhammad’s paternal grandmother was Edith E. Greathouse (the daughter of James Montgomery Greathouse and Betsy J. Alexander). Edith was born in Kentucky. James was the son of Flemming Fance/Lance. Betsy was the daughter of Wesley Alexander and Patsy Hopkins/Fry, who was born a slave. Wesley’s father, Muhammad’s great-great-great-grandfather Archer Alexander (c. 1806, Virginia – December 8, 1880, St. Louis, Missouri), was a slave who warned Union troops of Confederate sabotage attacks in 1863. He was the model for the slave in Freedom’s Monument, the Emancipation Memorial located in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C. A biography of Archer, The Story of Archer Alexander: From Slavery to Freedom, March 30, 1863, was written by The Rev. William Greenleaf Eliot, Jr., 1885. He also appeared on a U.S. postage stamp released in 1940 as part of the Black American Commemorative series.

Muhammad’s maternal grandfather was named John Lewis Grady (the son of Abraham “Abe” Grady, and of a woman surnamed Walker). John was born in Allensville, Todd, Kentucky. Muhammad’s great-grandmother was the daughter of Lewis Walker and Amanda J. “Mandy.”

Muhammad’s maternal grandmother was Birdie Bell Morehead (the daughter of Thomas/Tom Morehead and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bibb). Birdie was born in Logan County, Kentucky. Thomas was the son of Armstead S. Morehead and Dinah. Elizabeth was the daughter of Abram Bibb and Rachael Ferguson.

Sources: Genealogies of Muhammad Ali – http://www.wargs.com
https://www.geni.com
http://www.wikitree.com
http://famouskin.com
http://www.findagrave.com

New York Times article about Muhammad’s ancestry, 1980 – http://www.nytimes.com

Muhammad’s paternal great-grandparents, James Montgomery Greathouse and Betsy J. 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 Grady, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

ethnic

Curious about ethnicity

50 Responses

  1. dlxzvs says:

    correction word “caucasian” should be changed to white

  2. andrew says:

    Armstead S. Morehead had also Welsh and 1/16 Swedish ancestry.

    https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Morehead-Family-Tree-443

    Cited here at the bottom: http://ericjames.org/wordpress/2016/06/09/heavyweight-ancestry-muhammad-ali/

    This man was his 3rd great-grandfather – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archer_Alexander#cite_note-2

    Tag “Cameroonian” and “Malagasy”

  3. andrew says:

    http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=PED&db=dowfam3&id=I340924&style=TABLE

    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, (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9733962), and more distant British Isles roots through other lines.

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