Muhammad Ali passed away yesterday at age 74.
A poet boxer, Ali publicly announced his conversion to the nation of Islam the day after he won the title of heavyweight boxing champion of the world. The following text is from Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas.
“In 1966, Muhammad Ali was drafted by the U.S. Army. Although it was clear that the celebrity Ali would not see active combat, he steadfastly refused any military service. Giving up his heavyweight title and millions of dollars, and risking his freedom and career, Ali was banned from boxing for almost four years for following his conscience. Ali’s actions resonated around the globe. He was a forceful voice in opposition to the war in Vietnam, a black man with courage and conviction and a fearless dissenter in a world where “jocks” were not supposed to be radically minded.”