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Remembering a Legend; Muhammad Ali


Most people today are too young to really remember Muhammad Ali’s legacy. The legendary boxer passed away on Friday at the age of 74. The boxing legend spent five days at an Arizona Hospital for respiratory problems that gradually worsened and went into septic shock. His wife and children surrounded Ali, a family spokesman said Saturday morning.

Besides being, “The Greatest of all time,” Muhammad has displayed to the world his heavyweight talents as well as offered society some logical enlightenment on politics, religion, and race. An Olympic gold medalist and the first fighter to capture the heavyweight title three times Ali fighting career lasted 21 years, 61 fights, 56 wins, and 37 wins by knock-outs. Ali was quick on his feet, “I don’t run. I dance.”


Born Cassius Clay Jr, he changed his name in 1964 after joining the Nation of Islam which was inspired by Malcom X. Muhammad was drafted to the Vietnam war but refused to go to battle citing it was against his personal beliefs in this speech,

Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m 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. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

Ali was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission immediately suspended his boxing license and revoked his heavyweight belt. He was convicted of draft evasion and then sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He remained free while appealing the decision but many saw Muhammad as a draft dodger and his popularity plummeted. He was banned from boxing for three-years. In 1970, the New York State Supreme Court ordered his boxing license reinstated, and the following year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in a unanimous decision.

He went on to becoming one of the most polarizing figures our nation has ever witnessed both inside and outside the ring. Not only was Muhammad Ali’s life an inspiration for so many but he helped preach the importance of acceptance and tolerance for all human-beings. Our nation has taken a few steps back in the progression of equality. With Muhammad Ali’s passing, it has allowed inspirational quotes to resurface and hopefully shine a light of hope on religious and racial tolerance.

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

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