A Newly Renowned Boxer Muhammad Ali

As the Vietnam War was on the rise and segregation filled the nation, Muhammad Ali, a newly renowned boxer, declined being drafted into the U.S. army on account of his Muslim beliefs which resulted in the tragedy of losing all his boxing titles, honor, pride and a five-year jail sentence; this event affected the country heavily; it sparked more controversy over the Vietnam War across America. Many began protesting drafting and the war, discrimination and segregation became apparent in Muhammad Ali’s hometown and society and discrimination was beginning to be perceived as unfair. Over the course of four long years of fighting, with the help of attorneys, Muhammad Ali gained his final triumph; he won his Supreme Court case; sadly, as Muhammad Ali retired from his boxing career, he faced his final tragedy of Parkinson’s Disease.

It was the year 1942 when a future icon was born. Muhammad Ali lived through the 50’s-60’s era. At the time, the president of the United States was Dwight Eisenhower. John F. Kennedy became the president of the U.S. when Muhammad Ali received a gold medal in the Olympic games in Rome at age 18.

Muhammad Ali grew up in Kentucky city. The vast majority of Muhammad’s childhood community was black and middle class. Muhammad’s father painted signs for a living and was said to be quite good at it, while his mother cleaned houses for a living. Muhammad and his brother Rudy were introduced to the Baptist church in their childhood but neither would stay active in this faith as time went on.

Segregation and discrimination proved to be a consistent and continuous occurrence where Muhammad grew up that it seemed almost normal, “a part of life” in Muhammad and his family’s lives. Muhammad had to adjust to this lifestyle as a child. During Muhammad’s childhood, all races were not on the same level; white people were undoubtedly viewed as superior to blacks.

Because of the concept of Prohibition being controversial in Muhammad’s hometown of Louisville, the city’s economy faced some serious troubles. In all places around the city, from restaurants to bathrooms, from stores to amusement parks, blacks were separated from whites; they were simply not allowed “to mix.”

Basically, African Americans, often referred to as “Negroes” by the white people in a demeaning manor, were not allowed to touch anything white people touched or have anything white people had. For example, when Muhammad was around twelve years old, he wanted a bicycle, but unfortunately, right after he got one, it was stolen. This event would later catapult Muhammad Ali into his future boxing career.

Muhammad himself felt that white people were always being promoted as exemplary people and black people were always below that. Muhammad believed that his life consisted of white people always being labeled as better than black.

Muhammad Ali´s main triumphs are attributed to his medals and awards.

In 1978, Muhammad Ali became the first boxer to ever earn three heavyweight championship titles.

After Muhammad Ali’s court case was resolved, Muhammad Ali re- jumped into his boxing career with a win against Jerry Quarry. ?

Muhammad Ali came back to boxing after being banned from the sport for 4 years; he still proved to be an outstanding boxer.

Soon after his comeback to boxing, he beat George Foreman in a famous match Muhammad referred to as “The Rumble in the Jungle” and reclaimed his title as heavyweight champion. Ali won both matches to regain his title as the world heavyweight champion.

In 1975, Sports Illustrated magazine named Ali its “Sportsman of the Year.”

Another major triumph of Muhammad Ali was winning his Supreme court case.

The Supreme Court reversed Muhammad’s sentence in 1971 unexpectedly; they gave no official reasoning for doing so.

The government acknowledged that Muhammad’s argument for fulfilling two of the three requirements were true even though they had previously stated that they were not.

John Harlan, a Justice of the Supreme Court, was persuaded that Muhammad Ali might actually be a true conscientious objector after hearing testimony from “another clerk who had read Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X and he in turn tried to convince the Chief Justice, Warren Burger, that perhaps they had made a mistake.

Later that day, Justice Harlan looked at the case again and decided that Muhammad Ali really was a conscientious objector. He blamed the government for the mistake.

Justice Harlan proposed to the court that they should reverse the case.

The case was then essentially reopened, it was being looked at again for further consideration and under closer observation.

In order to deem Muhammad’s claim of declining induction due to being an conscientious objector credible, the FBI would first have to hear the testimonies of at least 35 witnesses (people who knew Muhammad Ali) before making their decision. After reviewing Muhammad’s, his family member’s, his attorney’s, and the Muslim minister’s interviews and the FBI’s report, the court made the decision to cite Muhammad’s claim as valid, therefore he was not breaking the law because certain exceptions could be made for conscientious objectors. ?

All the justices agreed on the final decision after Justice Potter Stewart proposed a simple solution.

One of Muhammad Ali’s most devastating tragedies included his Supreme Court conviction. ?

Just as the Vietnam war was at it’s peak, Muhammad Ali declined being drafted into the U.S. army. He claimed that going to the war conflicted with his Islamic religion. Many people disproved of this and thought it dishonorable.

Muhammad Ali reported to the Induction center on the 28th of April 1967 to be given his fate after rejecting being drafted into the United States Army.

At the Induction Center, Muhammad would not answer to Cassius Clay, his birth name, (what he had gone by before he converted to Islam.) Muhammad rejected his induction because he believed that fighting in a war went against what he believed and stood for as a Muslim and what he knew or thought to be right as a Muslim minister.

Currently, the Vietnam war was very controversial among the nation.The government acknowledged that Muhammad’s argument for fulfilling two of the three requirements were true (even though they had previously stated that they were not). Later, Muhammad Ali was brought to trial and was given his sentence. In this court affair, Chauncey Eskridge fought for Muhammad Ali along with Jack Greenberg, Jonathon Shapiro, Elizabeth B. DuBois, and James M. Nabrit. General Griswold fought for the opposing (the U.S.)

People like Muhammad Ali, who didn’t believe they should be asked to participate in the Army and didn’t believe in fighting in war were leaving the country to avoid it, but, Muhammad believed he should not have to do that. He felt he should be able to stay in his country and his home and be excused from this major calling.

Part of Muhammad’s reasoning for being against the Vietnam war included the fact that he didn’t think he should have to and it would not be right to kill others in foreign countries who basically have no negative relation to him at all just because America wanted to become more powerful. Essentially, those people never did anything to him, at least not anymore than his own country has; most of them are poor and have done nothing wrong. Muhammad implies that it’s hypocritical and rather ironic that America wants him to go hurt others for the betterment of the country when America is the one who did the same things to his people.

One of the reasons the court wouldn’t allow him to classify as a conscientious objector was because they believed that he was only selectively against the Vietnam war—not just war in general. The court believed that he would still fight in an Islamic holy war if he had gotten the chance, which would not make him eligible to classify him as a conscientious objector.

On April 23, 1971, the justices of the Supreme court held a secret meeting in order to discuss the case. To come to an agreement, they took a vote. The majority decided the outcome of the trial.The Justices of the Supreme Court convicted Muhammad by voting on if his claim of objecting his drafting into the U.S. army was valid due to his said status as a conscientious objector. More than half of the votes believed that Muhammad’s claim was invalid, so, Muhammad Ali’s titles as well as his boxing license were taken from him. Muhammad Ali was devastated. Not only was he not able to box, he also wasn’t aloud to be employed. Probably worst of all to Muhammad Ali, was his pride. Muhammad Ali was a very proud man and he did not want to be a convict, especially for something that he did not think was fair. The other main tragedy in Muhammad Ali’s life was his struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

About a few years into Muhammad Ali’s boxing career, he began to show symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Although every bone in his body was telling him to quit, he kept going knowing that the fights would hurt more and more.

Probably because he was getting older, “Ali now used a new style of boxing, one that he called his “rope-a-dope.” He would let his opponents wear themselves down while he rested, often against the ropes; he would then be strong and lash out in the later rounds.”

In 1978, Muhammad Ali became the first boxer to ever earn three heavyweight championship titles. As the years went by, Muhammad Ali wasn’t as quick on his feet and his punches weren’t as strong as they once were. He was still probably the best boxer, however he wasn’t as successful in matches as he was when he was younger. A disease similar to Parkinson’s disease had taken over him. As Muhammad aged and his condition got worse he had to stop boxing; he had his last turn in the ring in the year of 1981. Whether it be aroused from his boxing success, from his media star quality, or from his Army drafting refusal and Supreme court case, Muhammad Ali made great impact to many in various ways.

Muhammad Ali had a great deal of influence through his boxing career after winning 56 matches and only losing 5.

Muhammad Ali was the first man to ever win the heavyweight title three times.

Although he had an outstanding career, that is not the main reason people liked him. Muhammad Ali put himself out there with his confidence, bold opinions and his love for his race.Ali became an idle not because he could throw a punch but because he could take one. In the year 1962, Muhammad Ali was introduced to the nation of Islam and became a Muslim soon after. Muhammad Ali was raised in the Baptist church, but yet he became a Muslim. A letter he wrote illustrates how he came across the religion in the first place. According to Muhammad Ali,

By a Louisville skating rink, a man was selling magazines to people called “Muhammad Speaks.” The magazine intrigued Muhammad when the man came up to him and stated, “my brother, do you want to buy a Muhammad Speaks newspaper, so that you can read about your own kind, read the real truth of your history, your true religion, your true name before you were [given] the White Man’s name in slavery?”(Muhammad Ali letter). Muhammad writes in his letter that he didn’t really have any intentions on joining the group but he did find it interesting. He says that a cartoon in the magazine is what catches his eye. Muhammad then explains how the cartoon illustrates an accurate picture of segregation and white dominance. It shows how black people have been diminished and how their true origins are being erased by the white population. This magazine was in touch with his previous views on segregation and discrimination.

Although not everyone approved of this, it was what Muhammad was going to do and nobody could change that. In 1967, he was called for drafting into the U.S. Army, but he refused. The Vietnam War was very controversial at the time.?

A lot of Muhammad Ali’s fame came from his religious, political and moral views.

Muhammad Ali had multiple strong views regarding the races and religions.

Muhammad thinks that most white people would object to mixing with the blacks.

He thinks that when white and black people mix they are “throwing away there identity” as that particular race.

Muhammad thinks everyone should take pride in their race and culture and not want to mix races so they can salvage their race and culture.

Muhammad believes that each race is different and are meant to be and stay different. (“society made us this way, no god made us this way”)

Muhammad thinks each race should stay and want to be with their own race.

Muhammad compares birds with humans by stating how basically, we are all humans, but we each live with and surround our self with our own kind because we have different cultures.

Muhammad says that there aren’t any black and white couples proudly stating their position.

Muhammad thinks it’s a waste of time to have to teach people about integration; he would rather just “be with his own kind.” He also says that he wants to have children that look like him.

According to Muhammad, “any intelligent person” should want their children to look like them and people all around the world should and do take pride in the culture and appearance of their race and they should not want to integrate (“mix”) so they don’t lose the certain qualities that are important to them.

Muhammad truly believes one would be doing “your race” an injustice by mixing because one is, in a way, “losing one’s identity.”

Muhammad strongly thinks that people can’t be happy if they are with people of another race because they will have different cultures and philosophies and therefore won’t be able to relate on a certain level.

In addition, Muhammad Ali inspired countless others to stand up to people and the government for what you believe is right, Muhammad Ali inspired all. He himself also stood up to many people and things, such as the government when he said he wasn’t going to fight in the army.

Since Muhammad Ali was treated very harshly by most white people growing up, he couldn’t help but feel animosity towards most white people he met; he even referred to many white people as “the devil” in a book he wrote. However, many would still attend his matches despite his political and religious views because of how intriguing he was to watch.

Muhammad Ali has earned various important titles because of his heroic stature, boxing wins and because of his positive influence to the civil rights movement (which includes segregation.) Some of these titles include, “World Sportsman of the Century” (The World Sports Awards) and “Athlete of the Century” (Sports Illustrated.)

Muhammad Ali changed what the common perception of a world champion or successful athlete could be/ is. Some of Muhammad Ali’s boxing victories include triumphs against Sonny Liston and Joe Frazier as well as taking the heavyweight title away from Leon Spinks who had held the title currently.

When Muhammad Ali changed his name to Muhammad Ali and converted to Islam, the concept of “black pride” was heavily impacted.

Since Muhammad, a world-wide famous boxer, denied being admitted into the army, others felt that they could do the same and voice their feelings about the war.

Muhammad Ali was so willing to put his beliefs out there that soon the white population seemed to start to have less power and were less preeminent to African Americans.

Muhammad Ali traveled to many different countries such as Cuba, Iraq, Korea and Africa to help people in unfortunate positions and circumstances.

He has also traveled to many other locations across the globe to specifically assist and fulfill the needs of children in insufficient situations.

Muhammad has also helped out local soup kitchens, hospitals, children’s camps and many organizations. Muhammad campaigned for children’s rights and mandates that help maintain them at the State Capitol of Michigan.

Muhammad is the author of the book “HEALING” that helped educate children of certain values that Muhammad Ali deemed vital to society.Because of Muhammad’s heroic humanitarian efforts, he has been recognized by many organizations, foundations, etc. “United Nations Messenger of Peace” (the Secretary of the United Nations) and “International Ambassador of Jubilee 2000” are some of the awards that honored Muhammad Ali.

In Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali’s former home, a museum is being built in order to honor Muhammad Ali, what he stood for and his accomplishments. This museum will reflect the importance of respect, individual worth and virtue because Muhammad Ali strongly believed these things to be important in having good character and worth to the world.

Muhammad wasn’t just a famous boxer and media star, he was also a caring, charitable American who dedicated his time to helping others who needed it all over the world in many different ways and aspects. After Muhammad Ali retired from boxing, he decided he wasn’t quite done yet impacting the world. Later, Muhammad Ali became a statesman. He was part of many political campaigns involving “poverty and the needs of children.”

“Muhammad attended goodwill missions in Afghanistan and North Korea …traveled to Iraq and secured the release of 15 United States hostages.”-Matthew Harwood

Because of these things he did, people began to see him in a new light and for the person he really was. At the 1996 Olympics Opening Ceremonies, the Americans showed their appreciation of Muhammad Ali by electing him to light the torch. The nation certainly implied that they were giving approval of Muhammad Ali as he was presented on a cereal box advertisement in in 1999, and was the first boxer to do so. Muhammad also helped the nation in terms of peace. After 9/11, Muhammad Ali filmed videos with the government in order to assure the country or countries that felt threatened by the U.S. that they supported Muslims.

When Muhammad Ali died in 2016 everyone mourned his death. He had hundreds of memorials and one of the largest ones was the memorial in his hometown, Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands of people of all races showed up to pay their respects especially for the chaotic life that Muhammad Ali lived, there was finally peace. It was just a shame that he couldn’t see it . Muhammad Ali faced multiple triumphs and tragedies in his lifetime. Muhammad Ali will go down in history one of the most beloved sports stars in sport’s history and his legacy will continue to reign down through the public and sports industry. Muhammad Ali grew up in the segregated south in Kentucky where discrimination played a key role in Muhammad Ali’s childhood. As a late teen to early adult Muhammad started a triumphant career, he became very well-known in the ring; at just 18, he won the Rome Olympics. But, just as his career was peaking in success, Muhammad Ali was called for induction into the U.S. Army in the late 60’s, he declined the request, but induction wasn’t something one could easily say no to. Muhammad Ali was convicted and was banned from boxing and wouldn’t return until 4 years later. Amongst the chaos, a triumphant decision was made; the court decided to overturn Muhammad’s case and Muhammad Ali returned to the ring. Unfortunately, as years went by, Muhammad Ali clearly was getting weaker and weaker; he had developed a condition similar to Parkinson’s disease, which tragically took his life in 2016. Muhammad Ali represented much more than just a talented boxer, he was a symbol for black pride, and an advocate for conscientious objectors and others with their own religious and political views; he showed America that if one truly believes in something they must stick up for themselves and not back down.

 
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