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Saying Goodbye to Ali

Dear friends, a few days ago we lost the greatest boxer of all times. A true champion inside and outside the boxing ring he was an activist and true humanitarian. The legendary boxer and human rights activist Muhammad Ali passed away at the age 74. Ali was an excellent boxer with tremendous talent and skill but who would have ever thought that a young black boxer from Louisville Kentucky would shake up the world the way he did? Ali called attention to major world issues of racism, war, and human struggle. Some people in the early days of Ali’s career thought Ali was just another Negro clown ready to dance for racist white America but Ali would quickly dispel that notion. First, he shocked both the boxing community and establishment by changing his name from Cassius Clay to what the world will forever know him as; Muhammad Ali.

Young Fighter

In addition to changing his name, Ali also became a member of the hated and feared religious group called the Nation of Islam ; lead by the honorable Elijah Muhammad . The Nation of Islam was seen by the American media as a hate group in those days because they spoke out against racist America and the treatment of black people. Many white and black American’s didn’t like the fact that Ali would join such a group. The establishment didn’t like the idea that a black man whom they had esteemed in the boxing world would go and do something like that. Ali was someone whom they felt owed them for his success in the boxing world and they saw his move to join the Nation as him turning his back on them. I personally don’t feel Ali was ever with them and I can’t understand why they would be mad. In 1967 Ali refused to be inducted into the United States armed forces a move that cost him the heavyweight boxing championship.


Ali was more than a champion in the ring he was the hope of a nation of people who had been oppressed and enslaved in America. Later in life Ali would become much more not just to his people but to all oppressed people around the world Ali became a symbol of freedom and justice. Ali had to give up his heavyweight championship after his refusal to enlist in the armed forces but he would regain the title in 1974 when he defeated heavyweight champ George Foreman in a historic match promoted by legendary promoter Don King. The match was the first major boxing match to be promoted by a black promoter. Because of Ali’s bravery, inside and outside the ring he inspired a generation of people around the world to fight against oppression and war. Ali loved human beings and hated racism, bigotry, and oppression.  Ali was looked at with scorn by the establishment in the past but now everyone can clearly see that Ali was never hateful or a bigot. Now that some of the dust has cleared the world can see that Ali was on the right side of history and he has been vindicated. He stood for justice when many would not and care to change the world when many had given up. For those reasons I love Muhammad Ali and he will forever be a hero of mine.

When I was a child I was crazy about Ali, I had Ali toys and clothing and I couldn’t wait to watch him box on the television show called Wide World of Sports. The family would gather around the TV set to see and hear our champion, our prince, our noble warrior and to watch him be victorious. When he won I felt as if all was right with the world but on the few auctions when he lost I cry like a baby. I still remember when he fought one of his last fights against the heavyweight champ Larry Holmes; I turned my face from the TV because I couldn’t bear to watch. I cried that day as well because it hurt me to my heart to see my champion ending his career in the ring that way. When I was younger I could never imagine a world where Muhammad Ali wasn’t the world’s heavyweight champion and now it’s going to take me a long time to get use to a world without Ali.


Muhammad Ali was a living example of black manhood and in these trying times, our people should take some time to reflect on the lessons Ali taught us and do our best to stand up as he did. I believe we can honor Ali best by doing some of what he did. Ali risked everything because he loved the people and we should do the same or we shouldn’t speak Ali’s name from our mouths. The great Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton once said: If you’re not going to do any revolutionary act, I don’t want my in your mouth; don’t even put my name on your mind. I feel that same thing can be said here about Muhammad Ali. If you’re not going to take a stand for the people then don’t have Ali on you mind. We salute the G.O.A.T. Muhammad Ali may he rest in peace. Also, we thank him for his service to humanity and although the world didn’t see his worth in the beginning we knew he was fighting for truth justice and equality. We could never repay him for what he has done but we can live our lives as better human beings to show appreciation to a man who gave us his all inside and outside of the boxing ring.

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