Biography of Muhammad Ali

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Muhammad Ali was a professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. He is nicknamed “ the greatest “. He is one of the greatest boxers of all time. He won the the world heavyweight championship, won 56 fights, lost 5 and had 37 knockouts. Ali was important to history because of what he stood for and believed in.

Ali grew up in the 1950-60’s. In this time blacks and whites were not allowed to be in the same places for example school, restaurants, and etc. There were many things going on during this time.

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Segregation, jim crow laws, and much more racial things. Ali didn’t want to go to the military because he didn’t believe fighting in the war. When ali was just a kid he faced color problems. Ali’s mother recalled one occasion when he was denied a drink of water at a store. They said “ they wouldn’t give him one because he was black”. That really affected him.

Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali had 1 sister and 4 brothers. Ali mother and father were Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. and Odessa Grady Clay. His father was a sign and billboard painter and his mother was a domestic helper. He began training at the age of 12. When he was just a kid his bike got stolen by a man and he wanted to go after him and beat him up. Ali went to officer Joe Martin and told him what happened. Ali told him what he wanted to do to him. Martin said you have to know how to fight first in order to beat him up. At this time Martin had a boxing team and told Ali he should join. At that time ali didn’t take officer Martin up on his offer. It wasn’t until ali seen officer martin boxing team on television and wanted to going. And every since that day he was training for becoming a boxer. Martin had seen potential in Ali just as a kid. He could duck very quickly when a hit was coming towards him and as he was ducking he would already be on his 3rd or 4th hit on a person. Martin put Ali in a ring with kids and discovered that he was very good at boxing at the age of 12 and 13.

Ali attend a all boy school as a child. When he was in high school he attend Central High School in Louisville. Ali had dyslexic which made it hard for him to read and write. Many years he would let that hold him back because he couldn’t read or write. He started taking classes for it although he did not attend college because he wanted to go pro right after high school. Ali was affected by 1955 because the death of Emmett Till. the death of Till made young Clay and a friend of his very frustration. They took their frustration out by vandalizing a local rail yard. After all this he graduated from Central high school. 376th out of a class of 391 in 1960, the same year he won the light-heavyweight boxing gold medal at the Athens Olympic Games.

When ali was just 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics, and turned professional later that year. He converted to Islam after 1961, and eventually took the name Muhammad Ali. In 1966, Ali refused to be drafted into the military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War.He was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion, and stripped of his boxing titles. His actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation, and he was a high profile figure of racial pride for African Americans during the civil rights movement. Ali was one of the leading heavyweight boxers of the 20th century. When ali was not in the ring he was a musician. He received two grammy nominations. He also was a actor and writer, releasing two autobiographies. Ali won several amateur competitions. He went to the olympics during the jim crow laws. Ali spent his formative years boxing and standing up in what he believed in.
Ali faced many challenges during his childhood and teen years. That didn’t stop him from boxing, going to school, and or standing up for what he believed in. Martin influenced Ali to fight to get his boxing titles back. So at the age of 18 ali was going to court to fight for his titles back. He influenced many people back then because they were scared to speak up. So when they seen ali say something everyone respected him.

When ali was an adult the culture got even worser. Lots and lots of segregation was going on. At the age of 22 He won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a major upset 1964. Ali was trying to change the way people looked at each other. Ali would speak out against injustice and racial inequalities. He also spoke out against the terrorist attack. Later on in his adult life he got married 4 times and had 10 kids. Ali was the husband of Lonnie Ali, Veronica Porché Ali, Khalilah Ali, and Sonji Roi. Father of Laila Ali, Asaad Amin, Maryum Ali, Rasheda Ali, Hana Ali, Jamillah Ali, Miya Ali, Muhammad Ali Jr, and Khaliah Ali. Ali became very known in black communities for speak out in how people were getting treated.

Later on in life ali kept boxing and took the three time champion. The legacy that ali left behind was amazing. One legacy he left behind was boxing and all of his championships. Another legacy he left behind was more blacks standing up for themselves not getting mistreated. The last and final legacy he left behind was a role model. Ali is currently not working on nothing because he deceased. One thing many people think about when they here ali is the first black boxer to win many of fights & speak up against racism.

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Biography of Muhammad Ali. (2021, May 29). Retrieved from