Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Farewell to the Greatest Fighter of All Time

Muhammad Ali, three time world heavyweight champion and arguably one of the most revered athletes of his time, passed away last Friday on June 3, 2016. Ali shaped history for African Americans during the Civil Rights era in America. He also impacted the boxing world significantly with unmatched charisma and an unwillingness to be defined by anyone but himself in, and out, of the ring. He was 74 years old.

Ali was both admired and vilified by the public in the 1960s and 1970s for his different political, religious, and social views. He refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War as a conscientious objector. He converted to Islam from Christianity and joined the Lost-Found Nation of Islam. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali because he claimed Cassius Clay, his birth name, was a "slave name." He inspired the world after defeating the undefeated heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman by knockout in the 8th round of their "Rumble in the Jungle" fight in Zaire. This fight has been called the greatest sporting event of the 20th Century.

Aside from his multiple achievements, victories, and comical antics in front of opponents and during news interviews, Ali was also a father. He was a husband. He was a man who believed in his ability, and the ability of the people. As one of the most recognizable faces in all of history, he will be remembered by all who had the opportunity to experience his personality and know his story.

Ali being taped before a fight
Ali with his family
Ali's world renowned knockout victory over Sonny Liston

Here in the Schwob Memorial Library there are a number of books that detail the life and accomplishments of Muhammad Ali! In addition to Ali's autobiography The Greatest, My Own Story, the McNauhton Collection in the library also has an incredibly gripping non-fiction piece on Ali and his friendship with Malcom X entitled Blood Brothers: the Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcom X. Both books cover the political ties, boxing achievements, and history of the champ. There's no greater way to remember his life and legacy than learning about him through literature! Stop by the library to check out our resources on his life soon!
With Hope,
Branden Printup

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