Al Satterwhite is back with us this evening.
Dateline: 6.7.16 – Al is a master photographer and was with us last year to talk with us about his then-new photography art book titled, “Hunter S. Thompson, The Cozumel Diary.” Al’s master files of negatives are a virtual treasure trove of our times. He’s photographed SO MANY interesting people.
Since Al’s last visit, he’s found a bundle of gems that he’s making into another special, limited edition photography art book.
The subject is, the one and only, The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. So, for our younger listeners, you might be wondering, why was Muhammad Ali so important that a special limited edition book would be produced?
I was only 10 years old in 1964 when a young, brash, 1960 Olympic Gold Medal winner for boxing, named Cassius Clay, won the World Heavyweight Championship against ALL ODDS, defeating Sonny Liston (a frightfully tough boxer with the nickname, The Brown Bear)
It was stunning!
Cassius Clay had electrified professional heavyweight boxing like no one before or since. He was like the Elvis Presley of boxing – a man with genuine charisma. But Cassius had a secret, he was a Muslim. The day after the Liston fight, he publically converted to the Nation of Islam and took the name Muhammad Ali, and explained his new name thusly, “Muhammad means” worthy of praise,” and Ali means, “most high.”
Three years later when he was drafted and declared himself a conscientious objector, Ali stated: "War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don't take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers." More succinctly and famously he said, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong – no Viet Cong ever called me Nigger."
Upon his induction, he refused to step forward when his name was called – a felony crime. He was arrested and the next day, stripped of his title and license to fight. Two months later in a trial, after only 21 minutes of deliberation, he was found guilty. The Court of Appeals upheld the case and it went to The Supreme Court where it was finally overturned on June 28, 1971 by a unanimous 8-0 decision.
(I’d call that a knockout!)
George Carlin had an amusing rap on Muhammad Ali’s situation. After Ali won his court case, George said,
“He’s allowed back to work once again. He wasn’t for while, as you know, about 3-1/2 years they didn’t let him work. Of course he had an unusual job – beating people up. It’s a strange calling you know. But it’s one you’re entitled to. Government didn’t see it that way. Government wanted him to change jobs. Government wanted him to kill people. He said, “No… that’s where I draw the line. I’ll beat’m up, but I don’t want to kill’m.” And the government said, “Well, if you won’t kill’m, we won’t let you beat’m up! HA-HA-HA!”
So, when Muhammad Ali made his comeback, it was a BIG DEAL. And Al Satterwhite was privileged to be able to capture images of this amazing man, and spend some time with him.
Al Satterwhite was with us in 2013 when he talked about his new Hunter S. Thompson photography book titled, “The Cozumel Diary Gonzo Vacation.” You can enjoy that conversation here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbTy2aqyey0
Thanks for listening! – Scott
Vist Al Satterwhite's website… http://www.alsatterwhite.com/index