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Muhammad Ali Visits Nation of Islam Temple in Boston

Apr. 19, 1964 - The man formerly known as Cassius Clay — who now answers only to his Black Muslim name of Muhammad Ali — arrived today unheralded at the Muhammad’s Temple of Islam in the Roxbury section of Boston. There was no advance notice. Boston police did not know he was coming, and Boston’s press did not know he was coming. He was spotted lounging against the temple door, surrounded by three men known as X — Clarence X, Ronald X, and Joseph X. About 30 youngsters stood awe-struck at the foot of the stairs, gazing at the heavyweight champion of the world. One newsman who had been alerted to the champion’s presence at the mosque asked Clarence X if Muhammad Ali would pose for a picture. He would. Ali silently came down the stairs and posed with the children for two photographs and then went back in the mosque.

“Could he be interviewed?” Clarence X was asked.

“You’ll have to ask him,” Clarence X said, pointing at another X on the sidewalk.

Anonymous X said the champion would grant no interviews.

Would the champion speak to the Muslims inside the temple?

“He’s attending,” said Mr. X.

When did he arrive in Boston?

“Today,” said Mr. X.

When will he leave?

“We don’t know yet,” said Mr. X

What’s he doing here?

“He’s attending,” said Mr. X.

That concluded the interview.

Meanwhile, Bill Faversham, Ali’s manager, said this week that a rematch between his man and Sonny Liston was likely in September, “probably in Louisville,” if Liston is reinstated by the World Boxing Association as a top contender. Sonny was dropped from the rankings after an encounter with the Denver police. There were other contractual conditions as well.

Asked what would happen if rematch plans failed, Faversham replied: “Then we’ll sit and wait for Inter-Continental to come up with a top-ranked opponent for Clay. We have a contract extending through February of 1965 to fight for Inter-Continental, but this doesn’t mean Liston has to be the opponent.”

Bill Cherry, an Inter-Continental official, later said that Liston had agreed to meet all demands outlined by Ali’s advisers for a return fight.

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