Posts Tagged ‘Muhammad Ali’

pledge of allegianceSometimes, you need to tell a story so you can tell another story. This is one of those times.

Back in the fall of 1968 (I believe) , I was a sophomore at Binghamton (NY) Central High School. This was, of course, a period of a good deal of strife across the country. The war in Vietnam and civil rights movement were prominently on my mind in the months after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April. I read a lot of King after his death, most notably his speeches in April 1967 opposing the Vietnam war. Also in 1967, Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title for his refusal to be drafted into the armed service.

Both Ali and King evoked race in stating their positions. Read the rest of this entry »

Orwell
Nation Wishes It Could Just Once Be Reminded Of Preciousness Of Life Without Mass Shooting.

Get Visual: On passing.

Everything Doesn’t Happen For A Reason.

NY Gov. Cuomo signs “unconstitutional, McCarthyite” pro-Israel exec. order punishing BDS boycott movement.

Chuck Miller: The Blackbird: 2006-2016.

John Oliver: Debt Buyers.

Dan Rather on a free press.

Dear Journalists: For the Love of God Read the rest of this entry »

MuhammadAli Muhammad Ali was born on January 17, 1942. When I was growing up, my grandfather McKinley told me that being the heavyweight champ in boxing was a most notable achievement.

This brash young man out of Louisville, KY, named Cassius Clay, who had won the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and tossed his medal into the river, because being an Olympic champion, did not inure one from racism. (Or he just lost it.) He was an underdog against reigning champ Sonny Liston.

Most thought his pre-fight chatter that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” was just talk. But he beat Liston on February 25, 1964 in Miami, becoming the youngest boxer to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion. His new name was announced shortly after that fight.
Read the rest of this entry »

There are certain figures who are, for whatever reason, transcendent. For instance, people knew who Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan were, even if they didn’t follow baseball or basketball. Muhammad Ali was, and is, like that. In a period when the heavyweight championship of boxing still was culturally significant, before an alphabet soup of different boxing authorities stripped the championship of any lasting meaning, Ali was most noteworthy.

I remember that it was the conventional wisdom that that Clay could not possibly beat champion Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964, a fight I recall hearing on the radio. Yet, Clay prevailed.

Shortly after the fight, he announced his conversion to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Ultimately, it was that conversion, scorned by some opponents who kept referring to him by what he called his “slave name”, that was the gateway to the next phase of his life: being stripped of his boxing crown and even his boxing license in 1967 for his “refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War.” This was a momentous event, which “inspired Martin Luther King Jr. – who had been reluctant to alienate the Johnson Administration and its support of the civil rights agenda – to voice his own opposition to the war for the first time.” Ultimately, Ali won his US Supreme Court case, but not before he lost nearly four years working at his chosen profession.

This set the stage Read the rest of this entry »

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