Muhammad O' Ali.
February 8, 2002 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Muhammad O' Ali. Geneologists have uncovered his Irish roots. His great grandfather was an Irish emigree who married an African American woman in Kentucky.
posted by Lanternjmk (12 comments total)
That explains the fighting.


I'm here all week.
posted by UncleFes at 10:59 AM on February 8, 2002

We micks always knew that The Greatest was one of us. Where do you think he got his gilded tongue?
posted by jonmc at 11:03 AM on February 8, 2002

Hmmm, interesting, as a thread on white men can't jump runs, this post appears...hmmmm ;)
posted by bittennails at 11:08 AM on February 8, 2002

A little more detail here.
posted by Zootoon at 11:20 AM on February 8, 2002

bittennails - that same thread mentions another great Black/Irish athlete, hockey pioneer Willie O'Ree. Interesting phenomenon.
posted by jonmc at 11:20 AM on February 8, 2002

I had not know Ali was an Irish name. No wonder he changed it from Cassius Clay.
posted by Postroad at 11:49 AM on February 8, 2002

allaboutgeorge authored an interesting article about the "Black Irish" back when he was writing for Salon.
posted by jennak at 1:36 PM on February 8, 2002

Thanks for the great article george and jennak, although they forgot to mention
another great Black Irishman, Thin Lizzy vocalist
Phil Lynott
.Another great peice of work that points out(among other things) the parallels
between the Irish-American and African-American culture is Michael PatrickMcDonald's memoir of his South Boston childhood,
All Souls.

Along with being an astute examination of a number of social phenomena,
McDonald's book is also a deeply moving family saga. And George, top o' the
mornin' to ya, lad.

posted by jonmc at 1:56 PM on February 8, 2002

although they forgot to mention another great Black Irishman, Thin Lizzy vocalist Phil Lynott.


posted by jpoulos at 2:21 PM on February 8, 2002

Last time I checked, I was equal parts African and Irish too. Lots of people -- especially people of colour -- have multiple ethnicities in their backgrounds. Why/how is this news/discussion worthy?
posted by Dreama at 5:16 PM on February 8, 2002

Dreama - Not newsworthy perhaps, but discussion worthy in the spirit of ethnic reconciliation of two historically oppressed groups who have both created vibrant cultures. Unfortunately, African-Americans and the Irish have often clashed, as in the NY draft riots of the 19th century and the incidents surrounding busing in Boston back in the seventies(discussed in detail in the aforementioned McDonald book.
I thought cultural cross-pollination was a good thing and in the case of Black and Irish cultures, it's yeilded some interesting results, witness Thin Lizzy, Afro-Celt Sound System, House of Pain, in music, not to mention the vocal support many Irish nationalists gave the civil rights movement back in the day. It's not a debate it's a celebration of it.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 PM on February 8, 2002

Another one - Paul McGrath, one of the finest soccer players in the 80s and 90s. He made the world XI as well.
posted by tomcosgrave at 7:14 PM on February 8, 2002

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