HEADLINES

Tribute: The Man Who Made America Great – Muhammad Ali

By Alistair Reign, June 8, 2016. Alistair Reign News Blog.

It was two decades ago, and Muhammad Ali was still feisty at age fifty-four when Ed Bradley of CBS News interviewed and declared him, “The Greatest.” Born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, he grew up to win a gold medal in boxing for America at the 1960 Olympics; and then tossed the medal into the Ohio River as a protest against his country’s racism.

It was last week, on June 3rd when the media announced that Muhammad Ali had passed away peacefully at the age of seventy-four; Ali was surrounded by his wife and nine children.

And I say, Ali ought to be awarded a posthumous title of “The Man Who Made America Great.

A 12-year old Muhammad Ali, in 1954

A 12-year-old Muhammad Ali in 1954.

Because Ali proved that the American Dream was attainable – with hard work and determination. The man who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, also fought for what is a foundation stone of the American Constitution – freedom to pursue your dreams, no matter your race, religion or economics – and Ali fought that fight with class, and a style that won the hearts of people worldwide; not just with his boxing skills, also with his humour and love of family.

In ways that nobody else could, Ali appealed simultaneously to people and organisations who otherwise agreed on little politically.

In the words of one organizer, Bob Moses, “Muhammad Ali galvanised the Civil Rights Movement.

Later, Ali announced to the media that, “Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name – it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me.”

The New York Times columnist, William Rhoden wrote: “Ali’s actions changed my standard of what constituted an athlete’s greatness.”

Named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. after his father, the sporting champion denounced his birth name upon converting to Islam. Malcolm X, a key figure of the movement before his conversion to orthodox Islam, became a spiritual and political mentor for Clay, and he briefly referred to himself as Cassius X, before he was given the name Muhammad Ali (Praised one) in 1964 by Elijah Muhammad, his religious group’s leader.

Later, Ali announced to the media that, “Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name – it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me.”

Muhammad Ali was escorted from the armed forces examining station in Houston after refusing to be inducted into the Army on April 28, 1967. Credit Associated Press

Muhammad Ali was escorted from the armed forces examining station in Houston after refusing to be inducted into the Army on April 28, 1967. (Credit: AP).

Standing true to his new beliefs, Ali refused to be drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam War. He risked a jail sentence; ultimately Ali was forced out of the ring at the height of his career; denied a license, and banned from boxing for three years.

“Crucial to Ali’s connection to civil rights workers was their shared sense of urgency. Activists who were putting everything on the line, including their lives, could relate to Ali, who risked just about everything he had when he refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War. As Mississippi organiser Lawrence Guyot put it:

“”We were down there in these small, hot, dusty towns in an atmosphere thick with fear, trying to organise folk whose grandparents were slaves … And here was this beautifully arrogant young man who made us proud to be us and proud to fight for our rights.”” [01]

Muhammad Ali’s radical choices and daring speeches inspired many.

The New York Times columnist, William Rhoden wrote: “Ali’s actions changed my standard of what constituted an athlete’s greatness. Possessing a killer jump shot or the ability to stop on a dime was no longer enough. What were you doing for the liberation of your people? What were you doing to help your country live up to the covenant of its founding principles?[02]

Muhammad Ali attends Celebrity Fight Night XVI at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix

Muhammad Ali attends Celebrity Fight Night XVI, at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, AZ.

Here are a few snippets from Ed Bradley’s interview with Ali titled, “The Greatest.
Produced by John Hamlin and aired in March 1996. CBS News: Muhammad Ali dies at 74:

This most famous of all heavyweight champions who ever lived has come to terms with the Parkinson’s syndrome that doctors say came from his years in the ring and by all rights should have laid him low, and probably would have if he weren’t Muhammad Ali. […]

Yet it’s hard not to see the Muhammad Ali of today without remembering the Ali of yesterday,” continues Bradley.

Flashback to Ali in his prime:
Muhammad Ali: I am the king of the world.
Reporter: Hold it. Hold it. Hold it.
Muhammad Ali: I’m pretty.
Reporter: Hold it. You’re not that pretty.
Muhammad Ali: I’m a man’s man.
Reporter: Wait. Wait. […]

Dr. Dennis Cope has been Ali’s physician for 16 years. Ali asked him to talk to us,Bradley says during the 1996 interview.

Dr. Dennis Cope: He (Mohammad Ali) has had a development of what’s called Parkinson’s syndrome. And from our testing on him, our conclusion has been that that has been due to pugilistic brain syndrome resulting from boxing.
Ed Bradley: Pugilistic brain syndrome?
Dr. Dennis Cope: That’s correct.
Ed Bradley: What is–is that what people call punch-drunk?
Dr. Dennis Cope: That is a common term that was used for it in the past. I think with regard to his particular case, it doesn’t fit because all of our testing has indicated that his cognitive function, his ability to think clearly, to understand what’s going on, to really analyze situations hasn’t deteriorated at all. […]
He (Ali) keeps on going, on the road more often than not and mostly for charity, but also for business commitments that generate close to $1 million a year. His schedule only allowed him 90 free days last year to spend at his farm in southwestern Michigan, where he and Lonnie raise their five-year-old son Assad, Ali’s ninth child. […]

Last week Muhammad Ali passed away peacefully at the age of seventy-four. Lonnie Ali: Muhammad is very well taken care of. He is a very independent individual, probably always will be to the day he dies. He makes his own decisions. Muhammad's a very happy man.

On June 3rd 2016, Muhammad Ali passed away peacefully at the age of seventy-four. 

His wife, Lonnie Ali in 1996 said: Muhammad is very well taken care of. He is a very independent individual, probably always will be to the day he dies. He makes his own decisions. Muhammad’s a very happy man.

🔝

Watch the television special The Story Of Muhammad Ali in our Documentaries section.


Send inquiries and requests for permission to re-blog article to Alistair.Reign@Gmail.com, thank you.


We welcome comments and conversations. Scroll to bottom of page to use the comment box.

Click Picture for a Popular Article

  • The month is also a time of community; it is the custom for Muslims to invite their neighbours and friends to share their evening meal – iftar – and recite special Tarawih prayers in congregation. It is also a time when Muslims try to reconnect with the Qur’an, which they believe is the word of God. However, Children, people who are sick or who have mental illness, elderly people for example do not have to fast.
  • A 29-year-old woman who was raped in October 2015 by peacekeepers stationed in Bambari, Central African Republic. © 2015 Lewis Mudge/Human Rights Watch
  • The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is amongst 17 organizations and two individuals that sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today (January 5, 2016) urging him to press Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to halt the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and several other demonstrators from the country’s marginalized Eastern Province. On October 24 2015, the Saudi Supreme Court ratified the death sentence issued to Sheikh Nimr in October 2014. Since September, the Saudi criminal justice system has also ratified the death sentences of Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher, three men arrested as minors in 2012 for their protest activity.
  • Faces of the women who had their lives cut short by Pickton.
  • Codepink protesters outside the NRA headquarters, Fairfax, Virginia June 19, 2016. (Photo: CODEPINK).
  • Refugee-girl-cries-as-her-Central-American-shanty-town-is-destroyed-0714-by-Spencer-Platt
  • Yemen is the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula, with more than 40 percent of people living below the poverty line Reuters
  • Documentary: Part One - A Year In Space With Scott Kelly
  • afghan_clinic_bombed
  • Painted on the side of a building in Bristol, southwest England - home of the celebrated graffiti artist Banksy - the image reprises a 1979 photograph of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German President Erich Honecker kissing, which was later turned into a mural on the Berlin Wall. It was commissioned by pro-EU campaign group "We are Europe" as what they call a warning of things to come if Britons vote to leave the 28-member bloc on June 23, as advocated by both Johnson and Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate in November's U.S. presidential election. Johnson is the "Out" campaign's best-known leader and Trump has said Britain would be "better off without" the EU, which he has blamed for Europe's migration crisis.
  • The remnants of a US drone strike on August 29, 2012 in Khashamir, Yemen. The strike killed three alleged members of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a policeman, and a cleric who preached against the armed group.
  • People light candles at the scene of a massive car bomb attack in Karada, a busy shopping district where people were shopping for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday, in the center of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 3, 2016. More than 100 people died Sunday in a car bombing that the Islamic extremist militia group said it carried out, an official of the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

Click Picture for a Popular Cartoon

  • Victoria's 'Homeless' Drug Addicts
  • Caption this winner sept 1
  • The moment Bruce Jenner realized he was a woman
  • What Donald Would Do!
  • Britney Spears Looking Hot in black leather in Toxic music video. who was sexiest? Britney in Toxic or Taylor Swift in Bad Blood
  • GOP Caption winner first place on AlistairReignBlog.com
  • Donald Trump for President
  • Take Our Poll: Come on in and decide for yourself! Who worked the puffy white shirt best?
  • Includes Meryl Streep's full Golden Globe speech, a peek at her stage performance where she play Donald Trump, SAG Speeches: Ashton Kutcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman, Lily Tomlin and others, as well as talk show host's comments and interviews. Tied together with indie music and skits of Peter Griffin of Family Guy playing Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump and I Lama Crazy. alistairreignblog.com
  • Donald Trump and a Cheshire cat have the same smug smile.