The boxer Ernie Terrell, a very fine heavyweight whose most famous match was against Muhammad Ali, died in Chicago yesterday.
Terrell lost the match and was beaten badly, but the fight was most famous because Terrell had taunted Ali at the press conference, calling him “Cassius Clay” instead of his Muslim name. In the ring, Ali beat Terrell punctuating his punches with “What’s my name!”
Years later, when I was a rabbi on the South Side of Chicago, I used to frequent a restaurant owned and operated by Black Hebrews. (The food was kosher and they spoke a little Hebrew, which was fun). Ernie Terrell was a regular at the restaurant, and the owners introduced me to him.
Rest in peace-