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Cassius Clay Visits Harlem

Mar. 1, 1964 - Cassius Marcellus Clay, heavyweight champion of the world, paid a surprise visit to Harlem this afternoon.

After attracting a crowd of autograph-seeking kids, he went into a secret conference with Black Muslim leader Malcolm X. The meeting took place in Cassius’s three-room suite at the Theresa Hotel, 125th St. and Seventh Avenue, shortly after the champ’s arrival at 3 p.m. An unidentified friend of Clay said the get-together had to do with an appearance of the new champion at a Black Muslim rally.

When Cassius and his party — which included his brother, Rudolph Valentino Clay — drove up to the hotel in a black 1964 Cadillac limousine with chauffeur, the word spread through the neighborhood that the champ had arrived.

Spearheaded by kids from a nearby church, some 100 persons quickly surrounded Cassius and adoringly chanted, “You are the greatest.” Cassius was quick to agree, but he then added: “Allah is the greatest.”

Clay was more than eager to keep his well-wishers around. He stood in the hotel lobby for more than an hour, gladly signing autographs.

Eugene Dixon, a switchboard operator at the hotel, said he expected Clay to remain at the hotel for about a week. He said Clay recited some poetry as he went up the elevator.

Last night, Clay attracted a crowd of about 500 persons when he attended the Trans-Lux Theater to see films of his victory over Sonny Liston.


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