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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...

“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.”
Relativity Online / Via i2.wp.com

“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" ...

“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.”
Juan Osborne.com / Via juanosborne.com

“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.”

3. His thoughts on the true meaning of freedom...

"I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."
Sport Magazine / Via sport-magazine.co.uk

"I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."

4. About his name, Muhammad Ali...

"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."
Richest Celebrities / Via richestcelebrities.org

"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."

5. His views on growing older...

"A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."
MuhammadAli.us / Via muhammadali.us

"A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."

6. On enlightenment...

"A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he'll never crow. I have seen the light and I'm crowing."
Comic Vine / Via static.comicvine.com

"A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he'll never crow. I have seen the light and I'm crowing."

7. On investing in black communities...

“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?”
ILM Feed / Via ilmfeed.com

“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?”

8. His views concerning his own privilege...

“I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin’ hell, but as long as they ain’t free, I ain’t free.”
Sunday Guardian Live / Via sundayguardianlive.com

“I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin’ hell, but as long as they ain’t free, I ain’t free.”

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

"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?"
IMDB / Via ia.media-imdb.com

"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...

“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.”
William Plus James / Via williamplusjames.com

“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 www.cocoamoore.com. 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 www.cocoamoore.com.

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