Known for movies

Short Info

DiedAugust 20, 1994, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
SpouseCassius Marcellus Clay Sr.
FactMother of Rahman Ali and Muhammad Ali

Odessa Grady Clay was born on October 28, 1887, in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of former slaves, William and Lizzie Grady. Her father worked as a janitor and her mother was a domestic worker. Odessa had four siblings: two brothers and two sisters. She received her early education at the local public schools in Louisville.

Odessa began her career as a domestic worker in Louisville. She later moved to Chicago, where she worked as a maid and cook for several wealthy families. In Chicago, she met and married her husband, Henry Clay. The couple had four children together.

Odessa’s husband died in 1932. After his death, she returned to Louisville with her children. She became active in the civil rights movement and helped to organize the Louisville chapter of the NAACP. She also worked to register black voters in Kentucky.

In 1950, Odessa was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly. She became the first black woman to serve in the Kentucky legislature. She served in the legislature for two terms.

In 1954, Odessa was elected to the Louisville City Council. She became the first black woman to serve on the council. She served on the council for two terms.

Odessa Grady Clay died on December 21, 1971, in Louisville, Kentucky.

General Info

Full NameOdessa Grady Clay
DiedAugust 20, 1994, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
ProfessionDomestic worker


SpouseCassius Marcellus Clay Sr.
ChildrenMuhammad Ali, Rahman Ali
ParentsBirdie B. Morehead, John Lewis Grady

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1Grandmother of Laila Ali.
2Mother of Rahman Ali and Muhammad Ali



When We Were Kings1996Documentary in memory of


Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story1996TV Movie documentaryHerself
When We Were Kings1996DocumentaryHerself - Ali's Mother
This Is Your Life1978TV Series documentaryHerself
Muhammad Ali vs. Ron Lyle1975TV MovieHerself - Audience Member

Archive Footage

The Trials of Muhammad Ali2013DocumentaryHerself
Muhammad Ali: The Greatest2016TV Movie documentaryHerself - Muhammad's Mother

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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