Gallery Photographer Bob Gomel Returns To The Historic Hampton House After 58 Years
February 28, 2022 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography
This past weekend, Bob Gomel returned to the site of where some of his most historic and iconic images were made 58 years ago.
Black Muslim Leader Malcolm X Photographing Cassius Clay Surrounded by Fans After He Beat Sonny Liston for the Heavy Weight Championship, Miami, February 1964
In February of 1964, Muhammad Ali, then as Cassius Clay, was training for his Heavyweight Championship fight in Miami with Sonny Liston, Bob Gomel was assigned by Life magazine to cover the matchup. Clay was an 8–1 underdog, but Gomel was assigned to take photographs of him in advance of the fight that could be used on the cover of the next weekly Life issue in case Clay upset Sonny Liston.
History was made on Tuesday night, February 25, 1964 as Clay defeated Lison in a 7-round TKO. Bob Gomel was ringside photographing the fight, and instinctively followed the triumphant Clay back into his dressing rom. From there, he accompanied the crowd to the Hampton House Motel for a celebration with ice cream along with Malcolm X and an entourage. The story was later shared on the big screen in the movie "One Night In Miami".
Shortly thereafter, bolstered by his mentor Malcolm X, Clay stepped in front of a room of journalists to declare his conversion to the Nation of Islam. After fielding hostile questions, he voiced the words that would become his lifelong anthem and would forever change the world of sports: “I don’t have to be what you want me to be.”