Odessa Clay, also known as Odessa Lee Clay, is the mother of the legendary professional boxer Muhammad Ali, whose birth name was Cassius Clay. Odessa Clay was born on April 25, 1917, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and passed away on August 20, 1994, in Louisville, Kentucky. She was married to Cassius Clay Sr., and they had two sons together, Muhammad Ali and Rudy Clay. Odessa Clay played a significant role in shaping Muhammad Ali’s early life and provided support and encouragement throughout his boxing career.
Despite facing racial discrimination and the challenges of raising a family in a segregated society, Odessa Clay instilled in her children the values of determination, self-belief, and perseverance. Muhammad Ali often spoke fondly of his mother’s influence and credited her as a source of inspiration in his life. Odessa Clay’s support for her son continued even after he achieved worldwide fame as a boxing champion. She attended many of his fights and remained a constant presence in his life, providing love and guidance.
Although Odessa Clay’s own life is less well-documented compared to her famous son, her role as a devoted mother and the impact she had on Muhammad Ali’s life cannot be understated.