A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE
Last week Muhammad Ali said he wasn't going in the Army, because as a "so-called Negro" he wouldn't murder to "help continue the domination of white slavemasters." He said the real enemy of his people was here, where "peaceful black people" were being "beaten, stomped and kicked in the street."
Without his gloves on, Ali is just another demagogue and an apologist for his so-called religion, and his views on Vietnam don't deserve rebuttal. But the other quotes are truthful. For example, earlier this year in Atlanta, peaceful black people were beat up—by five of Ali's fellow Black Muslims when they refused to buy the house paper, Muhammad Speaks. Then, while the Muslims were being booked, they assaulted police officers.
And in Omaha last month, when a policeman approached Theopholis X to see if he had a permit to peddle Muhammad Speaks, he took the cop's gun and shot him. During his preliminary hearing Theopholis grabbed a detective's gun and in the struggle shot a second cop. Next two Black Muslims in the courtroom jumped two other cops but on a command from a fourth Muslim stopped fighting, raised their hands and shouted, "Police brutality."
It is, of course, purposeless to dwell on the good Ali could have done for black and white alike if he hadn't aligned himself with the Muslims. But if indeed he does go to jail, Ali can achieve the martyrdom he seeks only if it is shown that he is sacrificing himself for the sake of a principle worthy of the name.
There is a waiter at Mickie Finn's, the San Diego saloon, who parts his hair in the middle, is introduced as Ludwig Yoyo and does a great yoyo act.
"I am the recognized world yoyo champion," says Ludwig Yoyo, who is 35 and comes from Wildwood, N.J., where he began life as Ludwig Robert Baab. "I've got 20/17 vision. That's better than 20/20. You need good eyes, but it's more than that—it's feel, it's control, it's coordination.
"I went on tour with the Duncan Yoyo Company when I was 16. My mother had to sign her permission. I've been all over the U.S. doing exhibitions and selling yoyos. We sold 400,000 yoyos in San Francisco in 1963. The best town we ever hit, though, was Nashville, Tennessee. We sold more yoyos in Nashville than they had residents. They had 223,000 people there and we sold them 239,000 yoyos.
"I am also the world champion in go-go ball. The yoyo people were pushing go-go ball for a couple of years, but it didn't go over like yoyos. We made $35,000 in four weeks, though, in Portland, Oregon.