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Word WarriorRichard Durham, Radio, and Freedom$
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Sonja D. Williams

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039874

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039874.001.0001

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Globetrotting with The Greatest

Globetrotting with The Greatest

(p.146) Chapter 11 Globetrotting with The Greatest
Word Warrior

Sonja D. Williams

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on Richard Durham's travels with Muhammad Ali as part of their collaboration to write the autobiography of the self-proclaimed “greatest” boxer in the world. Durham relished the idea of chronicling the life of a man who had mastered his favorite sport, and who had become an internationally known, if controversial, cultural icon. During his seven years as editor for Muhammad Speaks, Durham had interacted often with Ali and genuinely liked him. On February 25, 1964, Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, beat Sonny Liston to become the heavyweight boxing championship of the world at age twenty-two. Durham began shadowing Ali with his tape recorder and microphone, regularly recording the fighter's reflections and interactions. He even captured Ali talking in his sleep. The result was The Greatest, which Durham ended with a brief postscript summarizing Ali's exhausting September 1975 battle against Joe Frazier.

Keywords:   boxing, Richard Durham, Muhammad Ali, autobiography, Cassius Clay, Sonny Liston, The Greatest, Joe Frazier

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