6/5/16 O&A NYC IN MEMORARIUM: Muhammad Ali

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A heart is not judged by how much you love;

but by how much you are loved by others.  

L Frank Baum from the Wizard of Oz 

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Muhammad Ali, the three-time heavyweight-boxing champion, political and civil rights activist, and humanitarian died on Friday, June 2, 2016 at age 74.

Boxing- Never Feel Sorry For Me

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Early in his career Ali proclaimed to the world, “I am the greatest“. Muhammad Ali created boxing history through a series of legendary boxing matches. From the first Sonny Liston fight, three with rival Joe Frazier, and one with George Foreman (where he regained titles he had been stripped of seven years earlier) Ali never lost his indomotiable fighting spirit. Ali remains the only three-time World Heavyweight Champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. He became one of the most recognized sports figures of the past 100 years, crowned Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated and Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC.

U.S. Olympic Team Tribute To Muhammad Ali

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Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky.  His supportive African American middle-class dual parent family instilled a knowledge and pride in their heritage. Named after his father Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., (who himself was named in honour of the 19th century abolitionist and politician) 

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Louisville police officer and boxing coach Joe E. Martin encountered the 12-year-old Clay fuming over a thief taking his bicycle. He told the officer he was going to “whup” the thief. The officer told him he had better learn how to box first. For the last four years of Clay’s amateur career he was trained by boxing cutman Chuck Bodak.

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Clay won six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union National Title, and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Ali would claim in his 1975 autobiography that he threw his medal into the Ohio River after he and a friend of his were being refused service at a whites-only restaurant, and fighting with a white gang.

Muhammad Ali- Hard Work

On April 28, 1967, with the United States at war in Vietnam, Ali refused to be inducted into the armed forces. Ali stated he had “no quarrel with them Vietcong”. “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape or kill my mother and father…. How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Interview On Not Joining The Army

He was systematically denied a boxing license in every state and stripped of his passport. As a result, he did not fight from March 1967 to October 1970—from ages 25 to almost 29—as his case worked its way through the appeals processDuring this time of inactivity opposition to the Vietnam War began to grow and Ali’s stance gained sympathy and support. Ali spoke at colleges across the nation, criticizing the Vietnam War and advocating African American pride and racial justice. Newly declassified material revealed that during this period the National Security Agency (NSA) secretly tapped into the overseas phone calls of prominent critics of the Vietnam War, including Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and two actively serving US senators, the Idaho Democrat Frank Church and Howard Baker, a Republican from Tennessee. 

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In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in a unanimous 8–0 ruling (Thurgood Marshall recused himself, as he had been the U.S. Solicitor General at the time of Ali’s conviction).

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In retirement Ali devoted much of his time to philanthropy. He announced that he has Parkinson’s disease in 1984, a degenerative neurological condition, and  became involved in raising funds for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the years, Ali also supported the Special Olympics and the Make a Wish Foundation among other organizations. In 2005, Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

Muhammad Ail Bio

 

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