What's My Name? Black Vernacular Intellectuals

By Grant Farred | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Muhammad Ali, Third World Contender

It was not with Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, and Joe Frazier that Ali stood, but with Garvey, DuBois, and Jomo Kenyatta.

—Budd Schulberg, Loser and Still Champion

America doesn't like a man who's good at what he does and wants to talk about it.

—Lawrence Raab, “Why the Truth Is Hidden”


What's My Name? A Beating in the Dome

In a career filled with truly epic pugilistic battles, the 1967 boxing match between Muhammad Ali, holder of the world heavyweight crown, and his challenger, Ernie “the Octopus” Terrell, in the Houston Astrodome ranks unexpectedly as one of the most telling contests the champion ever fought inside the ring. As an opponent, the twenty-seven-year-old Terrell was not in the class of Ali's legendary adversaries—champions Smokin' Joe Frazier, George Foreman, or even the aging Charles “Sonny” Liston, the first title holder whom the then Cassius Clay had dethroned in February 1964. A lanky six-Wve, the Chicago native Terrell boasted a two-inch reach advantage and a solid jab but he lacked the awesome punching power and ferocity so innate to the boxing arsenal of Ali's fiercer foes.

The fight possessed no element of surprise such as had transformed Ken Norton and Leon Spinks overnight from ordinary heavyweights into celebrated conquerors of Ali. The Ali-Terrell match was completely devoid of the great drama that elevated the trio of Ali-Frazier contests to the level of fistic myth. But within the larger drama that was Ali's personal and professional life, this bout assumes an especial salience.

-27-

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What's My Name? Black Vernacular Intellectuals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction - Thinking in the Vernacular 1
  • Chapter 1 - Muhammad Ali, Third World Contender 27
  • Chapter 2 - C. L. R. James, Marginal Intellectual 95
  • Chapter 3 - Stuart Hall, the Scholarship Boy 149
  • Chapter 4 - Bob Marley, Postcolonial Sufferer 215
  • Notes 275
  • Permissions 297
  • Index 299
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