• Season 3, Ep 5
  • 09/29/2015

Wayne Wheeler leads the Prohibition charge, Dorothy Fuldheim paves the way for women in journalism, and Muhammad Ali refuses to fight in the Vietnam War.

Did you have a nickname?

- My dad wouldcall me "Squirrel bait."

- Squirrel bait?- Yeah.

- What is that?

- I guess squirrel bait would belike a nut, like, crazy.

- You're a nut.

There's nothing wrongwith being a nut.

- But, like, yeah,my other sisters were, like,

princess and cutie, and--

- [laughs]

- Hi.


Hi, I'm Ashley Barnhill,

and today we're goingto discuss the Cleveland Summit.

- Cheers.

- So in 1964 you know, at the age of 22,

Cassius Clay-- he is fighting Sonny Liston.

Clay is a 7-1 underdog.

He's not going to win.

And he goes, You're an ugly bear.

You smell like a bear.

You're an ugly bear.

You smell like a ugly bear.

When I'm done with you,when I beat you,

I'm gonna donate youto the zoo.

Bam, bam, bam. He wins.

Yeah, he becomes the World Heavyweight Champion.

Right after he winsthe championship he announced,

My name is Muhammad Ali.

I'm a black Islam--I'm a Black Muslim.

I am the people's champion.

The war is going on.

Muhammad Ali was drafted.

He was like, you know, My religion doesn't--

I'm not allowedto fight in wars.

This doesn't seem right?

- Yeah.


- You all right?

- Yeah, no, I'm okay.

Should I start overfrom the beginning?

- Yeah, can you start again?

- [laughs]

Um, we're going to be talkingabout the Cleveland Summit.


So Muhammad Ali is draftedand and he says,

Now I'm a conscientiousobjector.

My religion doesn't let mefight in a war.

And then he also added,

I have no quorumwith Viet Cong.

Like, no Viet Cong has evercalled me the n-world--n word.

No Viet Conghas ever sicced dogs on me.

The draft board said was--

The draft board says--[laughs]

Too bad.Sorry, we don't accept that.

You have to go tothe induction ceremony.

[cracks neck]

- Geez.

How the [bleep] did you do that?

That was, like, four cracks.

- [laughs]

So he goes to the induduction,

and the officer's like, We're gonna say your name,

and then you haveto step forward.

Okay, Cassius Clay.

My name is Muhammad Ali.

He doesn't step forward.

Cassius Clay.

And he doesn't step forward.

And the officer is like,

Do you understandwhat you are doing?

Basically,if you don't step forward

you're committing a felony.

You can servefive years in prison.

Thank you.I know what I'm doing.

Cassius Clay. He doesn't step forward.

That day he's stripped of his medals,

his boxing title--his boxing license, and his title.

Okay, people in America werelike, Ugh, this is bull[bleep],

like, this guy'sjust trying to getting--

this guy's just tryingto get out of going to the war.

Muhammad Ali's manager callsfootball legend Jim Brown.

And he's like, Can you talk to him?

Can you convince himto go to the army?

And can you not tell himI told you this?

Or anyone I told you this.

Can you keep your mouth shut?

Can you keepyour [bleep]ing mouth shut?

Don't [bleep]ing tell anyoneI ever told you this.

Uh, bye!

Jim Brown is very shocked, and he goes,

This is shocking.

This is a shocker.

Jim Brown calls John Wooten and he goes,

Can you gatherten of the most prominent,

top black athletesand meet me in Cleveland?

Yeah, on it.

Everyone's just like, Yeah, see you there.

Got it.

Be there.

We're talking to Ali?

He's my hero. Okay.

So, basically, they're all like,

We have all served, you know,we've been part of ROTC.

We've been lieutenantsof this and that.

We've been in this and thatmilitary-affiliated--

we're served.We've served.

What's going on, you know?

He talked for two hours straight.

And just kind of talked about

his religious convictions and beliefs.

I stand by my religion;Black Muslim religion.

The Nation of Islam,which is basically--

I will not contributeto any war.

- That's a good point.

- [laughs]That is a good point.

They face the media.

Hi, media.

Yeah, we thoughtthis guy was full of [bleep].

And this guy--have you met Ali?

This guy--we support Ali.

We believe in him, and he'ssincere and we believe in--

we validatehis religious conviction.

Ali was on trial.

It was presented in front of an all-white jury.

And within 21 minutes they found him guilty.

And he's sentenced to five years.

So he appealed and he appealed.

And basically getsto the Supreme Court.

So the Supreme Court is planning on

ruling 5-3 against Ali,

but then Justice John Harlan reads a book

based on Black Muslim religious doctrine

and he goes to all the other justices and is like,

We screwed up.This is me convincing you.

I am convincing you.We screwed up.

You screwed up.I screwed up.

We have to change our opinion.

Okay, you're right.

And so they anonysmally vote.



I have a hard word sober,by the way guys.

- Anonymous?

- Anonysmally.

No, that's not the word.

They anonysmally, um--



- Perfect.

- [laughs]

- Where did I leave off?

- Don't crack your neck anymore.

- It's not there.

- I heard it four times.- I know.

- You can't do it anymore.

- Okay.

So, basically, they vote for Ali to go free.

He wanted to be the greatest,

and eventually he would become the greatest.

This is what I stand for.

I don't careif you don't believe in it.

I'm gonna die for it.

Ali fought for his religion.

He fought for his race.

He fought for civil rights.

He fought for--I mean,

kind of everything that was going on at the time.

He changed the world.

♪ You can change the world

- ♪ You can

- ♪ Change the world


♪ You can change the world