People Power People: Muhammad Ali 1942 – 2016 June 07 2016
Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali died last week at the age of 74. In addition to being a boxer, Ali will be remembered as someone who proudly and unapologetically represented both his race, faith, and community. Ali took a huge risk in the 1960s when refusing to be conscripted into the US Army during the Vietnam war cost him his title and three years of his fighting career.
Explaining his refusal, Ali said:
“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America,” he said at the time. “And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father… Shoot them for what? …How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”
After his boxing career Ali continued to engage in philanthropic and humanitarian work, becoming the UN Ambassador for Peace in 1985.