Johnny Smith Book Talk: "Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammed Ali and Malcolm X"

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As part of the Elson Lecture series at the Atlanta History Centery, Johnny Smith will discuss the research and narrative of his recent book, Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammed Ali and Malcolm X, written with Randy Roberts.

Based on previously untapped sources, from Malcolm X’s personal papers to FBI records, Blood Brothers is the first book to offer an in-depth portrait of this complex bond. Historians Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith reconstruct the worlds that shaped Malcolm and Clay as well as postwar New York and civil rights-era Miami. In this detailed account, they reveal how Malcolm molded Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali, helping him become an international symbol of black pride and black independence. Yet when Malcolm was barred from the Nation for criticizing the philandering of its leader, Elijah Muhammad, Ali turned his back on Malcolm — a choice that contributed to the latter’s assassination in February 1965.

Johnny Smith is a Georgia Tech assistant professor of American History and author of The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty that Changed College Basketball.

Attendees may use the discount code 34 to purchase tickets for $5

The Elson Lectures are made possible with generous funding from Ambassador and Mrs. Edward Elson.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Rebecca Keane
  • Created:02/15/2016
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:04/13/2017