So who was the original Cassius Clay? The simple answer is that he was a prominent abolitionist politician in the mid-1800s. He served in the Kentucky House of Representatives and was appointed ambassador to Russia by Abraham Lincoln.
But that’s not the whole story. Known as the Lion of White Hall – Cassius Clay was named after the estate and plantation he owned and grew up on – he was also one of the toughest politicians ever to walk the halls of Congress. He won duel after duel, and his physical exploits are legendary. Not only that, but he was also an open and vocal advocate for the abolition of slavery in the 1840s, in Kentucky of all places.