THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MUHAMMED ALI
“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
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., on Jan. 17, in Louisville. 1954
After having his bike stolen, a 12-year-old Clay promises to "whip whoever stole it." In an attempt to channel his aggression, the policeman he reported the crime to takes him under his wing and eventually directs him to boxing trainer Fred Stoner.
Despite an unblemished 19–0 record, Clay is a heavy underdog in his championship bout with Sonny Liston. The fight ends and Clay becomes heavyweight champion of the world. After the fight, Clay announces he has become a Black Muslim and has changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
In April, Ali refuses induction into the U.S. Army due to his religious conviction.
In March, he fights heavyweight champ Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden. A left hook by Frazier knocks Ali down in the 15th...
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