Jack Roosevelt “Jackie Robinson” &
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr “Muhammad Ali”
Muhammad Ali once said, "Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong.” Muhammad Ali stood for the common black man, so did Jackie Robinson. Both of these men were professional athletes, two different sports, baseball and boxing, were changed forever because of these men. They both broke segregation barriers not only in their profession but also outside the field and ring. Both these men had some similarities but overall had more differences whether it was their profession, who they were influenced by, or their involvement with war.
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play on a professional baseball team, Muhammad Ali was arguably the best boxer in the world. On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became a historical figure through the civil rights movement. Throughout Jackie Robinson's baseball career he took physical abuse, verbal abuse, and death-treating letters. He knew what would happen if he stuck with it, he knew it might cost him his life but he also knew he was making history. One of Jackie Robinson's teammates, Pee Wee Reese, said "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them." This changed the baseball game forever. 20 years after Jackie Robinson's great emerge, Muhammad Ali, had won a gold medal in the 1960s Summer Olympics at Rome. He was proud of himself, showing it off to the world, most importantly showing the black community, that anything could be done. Being proud of himself Ali had gone into a five-and-dime store but wasn't served because of his color. Ali had said to his wife, "I was young, black Cassius Marcellus Clay, who had won a gold medal for his country. I went to downtown Louisville to a five-and-dime store that had a soda fountain. I sat down at the counter to order a burger and soda pop. The waitress looked at me. … 'Sorry, we don't serve coloreds,' she said. I was furious. I went all the way to Italy to represent my country, won a gold medal, and now I come back to America and can't even get served at a five-and-dime store. I went to a bridge, tore the medal off my neck and threw it into the river. That gold medal didn't mean a thing to me if my black brothers and sisters were treated wrong in a country I was supposed to represent." This was the first of many antics Muhammad Ali had committed, but he was right, why would he represent his country if his country would treat African-Americans wrong? These men had changed the world of sports forever.
Both men were influenced by civil rights leaders. Jackie Robinson worked side by side with Martin Luther King Jr while Muhammad Ali worked with Malcolm X. Jackie Robinson had retired from baseball and enlisted in the civil rights struggle, working on behalf of the N.A.A.C.P and Martin Luther King. As Jackie Robinson grew closer to politics and the civil rights movement, he had launched the Jackie Robinson Construction Company, which built low income housing for the poor and underprivileged. He also worked for black enterprises projects, serving as a founder of the Freedom National Bank in Harlem. Although Jackie Robinson supported civil rights and was doing things to end segregation, it just wouldn’t end, he had gotten into politics involving politicians such as H. Humphrey, President Nixon, President John F. Kennedy, and Nelson Rockefeller. Jackie Robinson has supported H. Humphrey because of his apparent commitment to the civil rights movement. Robinson also supported Nixon in his election against Kennedy, but later praised John F. Kennedy because of his stance on civil rights. Although Jackie Robinson was greatly involved in politics, Muhammad Ali was not. He really wasn't about presidents and all that, but he was inspired by Malcolm X. It wasn't until he met Malcolm X and became a member of the Muslim faith that Muhammad Ali had changed his name into...
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