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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A new book co-authored by a Purdue University historian is shedding light on the secret friendship between boxing great Muhammad Ali and civil rights leader Malcolm X.

“Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X” was co-written by Purdue history professor Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith, an assistant professor of American history at Georgia Tech.

The book chronicles a friendship that began in 1962 and ended with Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination.

Undated picture of Malcolm X (C), the leader of the Organization for the Afro-American unity. (credit: STF/AFP/Getty Images)

Undated picture of Malcolm X (C), the leader of the Organization for the Afro-American unity. (credit: STF/AFP/Getty Images)

Roberts says the book is “the story of a friendship of two people who loved each other but also were using each other.”

At the time of their friendship Ali was still known as Cassius Clay. Ali’s management kept the friendship secret because associating with the polarizing minister could have damaged his boxing career.

It was in Texas, in 1967, where Muhammad Ali made headlines for refusing to be drafted into the U.S. Army. Claiming that his status as a Muslim minister and a conscientious objector made him exempt, Ali refused to enlist and fight in the war in Vietnam.

Ali was arrested at the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in Houston, went on trial and was convicted of draft evasion. When asked why he made the decision not to join the armed services he said, “No, I am not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end.”

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