Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami

Fri, 03/04/2011 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Pictured: Malcolm X (right) gets Cassius Clay's attention in a Miami diner.

Credit: Courtesy of photograph © Bob Gomel.

Explores the critical role that Miami played in the evolution of one of the most significant cultural figures of our time: Muhammad Ali (né Cassius Clay).

The film chronicles Cassius Clay's arrival in Miami in the fall of 1960 (fresh from earning a gold medal in the Rome Olympics), his life in Overtown - a neighborhood that was considered "Harlem South" and a vibrant center of black entertainment and commerce - and his affiliation with the famed Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach. Over the course of the next few years - coinciding with the height of the national civil rights movement - Clay evolved both professionally and politically, piling up victories in the ring and adopting the black separatist teachings of the Nation of Islam. As Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami makes clear, it was in this period that Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami encores Friday, March 4 at 6 p.m. on WXXI World (cable 524/DT21.2).

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami is not only Ali’s story, but the story of Miami’s black community and the Fifth Street Gym. The film combines rarely seen footage with interviews with Dundee, fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco, Ali’s Miami neighbors, former Overtown residents, and sportswriters and photographers who covered the young phenom, as well as nationally recognized figures such as best-selling Ali biographer Thomas Hauser, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Remnick and Columbia University historian Manning Marable.

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami explores Ali’s friendship with Malcolm X, his celebrated encounter with the Beatles, his dramatic victory over Liston and his refusal to be drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War — all episodes that played out in Miami.

Until now, Muhammad Ali’s time in Miami has been treated as little more than prologue to his worldwide fame. Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami argues that, without Miami, there might never have been a Muhammad Ali.