Main Bout, Inc., Black Economic Power, and Professional Boxing: The Cancelled Muhammad Ali/ Ernie Terrell Fight

There was a major drift toward economic nationalism in many areas of African- American life during the 1960s. Though often viewed as extreme at the time, scholars have come to place it within a constant ideological struggle between black nationalism and integration going back to the nineteenth century and later to the debates between Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois at the turn of the twentieth century, and the work of Marcus Garvey in the 1920s.1 The issues involved all areas of black life, and Muhammad Ali's embrace of black economic nationalism in the late 1960s demonstrates the saliency of nationalism as well as Ali's role as a race leader.