Montgomery College, Rockville
Muhammad Ali & His Influence in the Media
“The most influential and inspirational sportsman ever on this earth. His self-pride and self-respect inspired many in different parts of the world to stand by their principles and defend their basic rights.” - Samuel Shivute (Walter, 2013)
When someone thinks about Boxing’s best fighters in the world, they will most definitely bring up the name Muhammad Ali. Ali was considered to be one of the best African American fighters in sports history. Not only was he a great fighter, but he was also one of the most influential people in history. Ali was not afraid to speak his mind out when he was asked about his thoughts on a specific issue that was going on around either in the World or U.S. He is famously known for his public displays and famous sayings such as “Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee.” He was a man who publically stood for what he believed in and spoke out against injustices throughout his entire career (Abdulmalik, 2013). From the war in Vietnam to his conversion to Islam, Ali made the world know he was exactly and where he stood. He became a huge public figure throughout the entire world and he influenced many people. People either loved him or hated him. Either way, Ali was bound to become a huge icon and be a part of American history. Part One
Muhammad Ali, born as Cassius Marcellus Clay, decided to join the Nation of Islam in 1964. It was in this group that the group’s leader, Elijah Muhammad, gave him the name Muhammad Ali. When Ali made the decision to change his name and made a public announcement about his decision to join the group, the nation was shocked. Some of the people became very angry and hostile towards him but that did not bother Ali one bit (Abdulmalik, 2013). Ali ended up becoming a public face of what America saw the NOI as a hate group (Reese, 2013). Not only that but the NOI was also seen as a potential threat to the nation., especially during the 1960s and 70s. Since they were seen as a security threat, Ali ended up being one of the most hated public figures in the U.S. and was labeled as a possible security risk by the State Department (Oates, 1999). This did not affect Ali in any way. Instead he kept going and prophesizing his beliefs and opinions hoping to change the minds of the people. In the book Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times, Ali spoke about how changing his name was one of the most important things to happen to him in his entire life. He started how it freed him from the family name that the slave masters had given him. He answered back to the people’s rage about him changing his name by stating how people like Hitler, the Pope, actors and actresses changed their names but nobody made a big deal out of it. He said how he was truly honored to be given such a beautiful name because Muhammad meant “worthy of praise” and Ali was the name of a great general (Hauser, 1991).
After Ali changed his name and became a part of the NOI, most of his opinions were based off on his beliefs from race and Islam. He had a strong opinion against racial intermarriage and stated how “No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons or daughters” (Reese, 2013). This showed that his position on civil rights moved on a little more to the side of separatism. The African American community was not really happy with his opinion. However, Ali decided to come back by saying, “The black man that’s trying to integrate, he’s getting beat up and bombed and shot. But the black man that says he don’t want to integrate, he gets called a “hate teacher” (Hauser, 1991). Many famous black people gave their sayings about Ali’s opinions. Arthur Ashe did not like the fact about Ali saying how black people should strive...