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10 Reasons Muhammad Ali Was Much More Than A Boxer

On June 3rd 2016, we lost a legend. Muhammad Ali was not only a 3-time world heavyweight champion. He was an icon for black people during a time of oppression, struggle, and extreme racialized violence. Below we explore some of the most explosive and influential moments of his legacy.

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1. His views on fighting in the Vietnam War...

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“I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die.

You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my rights here at home.”

2. His belief about the word "Impossible" ...

Juan / Via

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given, than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

4. About his name, Muhammad Ali...

Richest Celebrities / Via

"Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don't belong anymore to anyone, that I'm not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one."

7. On investing in black communities...

ILM Feed / Via

“The Nation of Islam’s main focus was teaching black pride and self-awareness. Why should we keep trying to force ourselves into white restaurants and schools when white people didn’t want us? Why not clean up our own neighborhoods and schools instead of trying to move out of them and into white people’s neighborhoods?”

9. On the hypocrisy of white supremacy driven by white Christianity...

IMDB / Via

"How could they say that my religion--Islam--was a 'race hate' religion after all the plunder and enslavement and domination of my people by white Christians in the name of white supremacy?"

10. On being a man of his own design...

William Plus James / Via

“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky. My name, not yours. My religion, not yours. My goals, my own. Get used to me.”

"I am the greatest... I said that even before I knew I was..."

Rest in Peace. Your legacy will never be forgotten. May your impact live on forever.

Artist. Writer and Social Critic at Black Woman. Proud New Mommy to a Young Black King. Raising him will be my greatest assignment yet.

For more of my musings, follow my blog at

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