sonny clay

In one of the most iconic and controversial moments of his career, Muhammad Ali stands over Sonny Liston and yells at him after knocking the former champ down in the first round of their 1965 rematch. Skeptics dubbed it “the Phantom Punch,” but films show Ali’s flashing right caught Liston flush, knocking him to the canvas. Refusing to go to a neutral corner, Ali stood over Liston and told him to “get up and fight, sucker." Ali, the heavyweight boxing legend who fought opponents in the ring and on behalf of social justice outside of it, has died at 74 years old. (Neil Leifer)

GALLERY: SI’s 100 Greatest Photos of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali holding Malcolm X’s daughter Qubilah, surrounded by young fans at his training camp in Miami, January 1964.

The kids are holding up 8 fingers because Muhammad predicated he’d win the World Heavyweight Championship fight against Sonny Liston in 8 rounds as the underdog. The defending champ Liston predicted he’d win in 2. Ali ended up winning in 7 rounds on February 25, 1964.

In 1964 Malcolm X was in Miami to support his mentee Cassius Clay’s (Muhammad Ali) upcoming Heavyweight World Championship fight against Sonny Liston. While in Miami, Malcolm sent this humorous postcard of a chimpanzee to his old friend comedian Redd Foxx aka “Chicago Red” from his hustling days. The postcard reads:

One hundred years have passed since the Civil War, and these chimpanzees get more recognition, respect & freedom in America than our people do, because even the monkeys that lead them have more sense than the monkeys that lead us.

Bro Malcolm X

Yes! I love ALL the original dragonets!

Glory, Clay, Sonny …… Stairflight ……… *looks at smudged writing on hand* Salami?

“The Colored Idea Band” of Sonny Clay arrives in Sydney, 1928.

The troupe got into trouble when African-American band members were accused of having interracial relationships with Australian women. All of the remaining Australian shows were cancelled after this incident and several members of “Sonny Clay and the Colored Idea” were deported. African American bands were banned from visiting Australia until 1954.

In January 1928, bandleader Sonny Clay brought his band to Australia to tour with an African-American vaudeville production called “Sonny Clay and the Coloured Idea”. The production included thirty-five singers, musicians and dancers.  The tour was well-received but ended abruptly when band members were accused of having relations with white Australian women. The band was deported and Australia’s Federal Cabinet barred “colored” artists from entering the country. The ban continued until 1954, when Louis Armstrong became the first African American to bring an African American band to the country in 26 years.

Hood Collection of the State Library of New South Wales

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
- Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali stares at a picture of boxer Sonny LIston who he was training to fight at the time.