If you are a grown-assed man or woman, who gets to decide what your name is? The answer in the USA depended on your Slave vs Free Person status. Did you read Alex Haley’s book ROOTS or watch either of the TV miniseries based on the book? Are you “Kunta Kinte” or are you “Toby”?

Three years after Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr legally changed his name to Muhammad Ali most main stream media outlets refused to call him Muhammad Ali. Slavery had ended (officially) almost 100 years earlier.


The advocates of Jim Crow did not care. The everyday racism in public media allowed them to decide that man’s name in spite of the fact that they knew it was legally changed.

Ali conviction for refusing draft crop 1

Enlargement of 1967 article in the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS can be seen at http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/ali-convicted-draft-evasion-1967-article-1.2660483

The 1967 story was based on information supplied by the ASSOCIATED PRESS, a news service which supplied content to thousands of media outlets around the USA and the world.

The sin committed by Muhammad Ali was not the name change itself. People do it every day. But, in 1964 the scariest minority organization in the USA was the Black religious organization based in Chicago named the Nation Of Islam. They regularly referred to White people as “Devils” and that infuriated USA Caucasians from coast to coast. The new Muhammad Ali name angered them, and that was reason enough to vilify the former Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.

If Cassius Clay had picked another Anglicized (English) name little would have been said about it. But, of course, he didn’t. It was considered an insult and a sign of naked defiance by most of White AmeriKKKa, including most of the press, who were almost all White.

The date on the article above reads “June 21, 1967” and more than three years had passed since the name change. When you look at the article you are seeing INSTITUTIONAL RACISM in action. This is what I call the “Toby” game.

Traditional AmeriKKKa, like its British Mama, insisted on changing names of its victimized people and nations. They wanted Slave names to sound comfortable to them. It was one of many was of brainwashing and imposing their will.

In the “ROOTS” book and story newly enslaved Kunta Kinte was given a barbaric choice; Accept the assigned name his abuser wanted to call him, Toby, or be beaten – possibly to death.

roots-whipping-scene1 1977 - medium

Other Minority peoples in North America have faced cultural genocide in many forms. It started with the subjugation of Native Americans and continues with other newer non-anglo peoples. The Ugly Anglos have left a trail of death and misery and they continue with less overt methods:

  • Wrecked families and communities
  • Name changes
  • Clothing changes
  • Language changes
  • Religion changes
  • Livelihood changes
  • Etc, etc., etc.


In 2016 many Whites and their Minority brown-nosers still take offense when Minority people choose to define themselves. Why must it be only their definitions and opinions that matter?

There is no Melting Pot and there never has been. I defy anyone to prove otherwise.

So what’s in a name? Sometimes it’s barbaric oppression!

Article by Stephen Maddox Sr.

I am a former teacher, marketing representative, labor negotiator and small business owner. As a black man born and raised in New York City I learned how to survive in the "neighborhood" and in business. Hearing about and witnessing the trials, tribulations, hopes and fears of my extended family and the people in their lives helped mold my life. Helping others with their own life journeys is my goal.

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