Cassius Marcellus Clay

If he is remembered at all today, Cassius Marcellus Clay is recalled solely because that was the name of Muhammad Ali, the boxer, before he converted to the Nation of Islam and changed his name.  Ali had been named after his father who was also named Cassius Marcellus Clay in honor of the man who freed his great-grandfather.

Cassius Marcellus Clay, called Cash by his intimates, was a Kentucky abolitionist.  A cousin of Henry Clay, Cassius Marcellus Clay was born on March 19, 1810 to Green Clay, one of the wealthiest plantation owners and slave masters in the Blue Grass state.  His father’s wealth ensured that he was well educated, first at Transylvania University and then Yale.  While at Yale in 1832 he heard the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison speak and was converted to the anti-slavery cause.  Going back to Kentucky he served three terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives, his political career being cut short, due to the unpopularity of his anti-slavery views. (more…)

Published in: on March 19, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Cassius Marcellus Clay  
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