Upon winning the heavyweight championship in his shocking upset over Sonny Liston, the then Cassius Clay told the press and the world to call him Cassius X. He had become a Black Muslim and would no longer answer to the former slave master’s name given him at birth. That he felt his name should reflect the origin from where his ancestors came just like everyone else. His initial name change was a nod to his good friend and fellow Black Muslim, Malcolm X. However, shortly after the announcement was made the leader of the Black Muslims, the honorable Elijah Muhammad,re-named him Muhammad Ali. It was the name he would carry from that day forward. It is a name he has made famous in every corner the world over. For years there was resistance from the public, particularly Christian whites and blacks, to use his new name. The historic reality of how most blacks in this country acquired their names was indeed from their slave masters. Ironically, the name give to Ali at birth, Cassius Marcellus Clay, was that of a 19th century anti-slavery crusader and abolitionist who emancipated the 40 slaves he inherited from his father defying Southern conventions of the time. He faced death threats and was beaten, stabbed and shot by political opponents for his position. He was the second cousin of the Kentucky senator, Speaker of the House, and Secretary of State Henry Clay, who Lincoln quoted in many of his speeches including his first inaugural address. No one can deny that Muhammad Ali had the right and was fully justified in changing his name to one that he felt appropriately and proudly reflected his ancestry. But given the legacy of the name given him initially, no one should have been surprised by his role as an outspoken leader against inequality and injustice in this country and around the world. Some things just seem inevitable, maybe even predestined.