Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr.

Digging through the Getty Images' archives can be a dangerous activity. One could go hours, days, weeks, maybe years rummaging through nostalgic images. It's a slippery slope.

On Monday morning, our procrastination led us to an incredible gem.

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be the first ever celebrated without Muhammad Ali, who passed away last June at age 74. The world champion boxer was also a civil rights activist who famously refused conscription into the U.S. military. Due to his protest, Ali lost his heavyweight title belt and missed over three years of competition.

On April 28, 1967, Ali refused to step forward at his scheduled induction to the U.S. Armed Forces. King would be assassinated the following April, but in the year between, he came to the support of Ali.

And Ali returned the favor. In the fall of 1967, King was arrested in Birmingham in contempt of court after the city claimed he organized his famous 1963 protest without a necessary parade permit. Prior to the protest, Birmingham had publicly announced it would not approve King and his group of a permit if they applied for one. King and three others were each sentenced to five days in jail and a $50 fine.

While King was in that Birmingham prison, Ali sent him the following telegram from Chicago:

Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali


Getty Images acquired the photo while the telegram appeared at Sotheby's auction house in New York City in June 2006. The telegram was part of 10,000 manuscripts and books from King's life.

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