I really am trying to think of words to describe what I felt today. This passing of a giant, but courageous man who’s heart was for his people which grew internationally for all. He was more than just a man, a person who was an amazing athlete. That I can tell you. I know you know who I’m talking about. His name was Muhammad Ali.
He was a former 3-time, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, in an era of great boxers; most of whom, he competed against. Boxers such as; Sonny Liston, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Joe Frazier, and Leon Spinks. He lost a few but won many. One thing thing that could never be denied is his conviction. He stood up for what he believed in, regardless of what it would cost him. He stood up for his people; the African American community as they were fighting for equal rights. He stood up against The War Machine which cost him his title, reputation, and a change to earn a living for quite some time. He did not falter from any of it, nor did he back down from pressures for society. Society of the oppressors. He stood right in their face and defiance as any man with a conscience should or would had done. Here is an example of such defiance–
“The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years…”
He continued such a statement of power–Black Power–Power to the People as he was unapologetic towards the evil of an oppressive society–
“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…”
He stood tall with other of his same complementary like a Bill Russel, Jim Brown, Arthur Ashe, and others who refused to allow time to continue as it did for the past 300+ years. It could be said he championed that cause. He had the wisdom that at first you would disavow if you were a fool. He understood life, family even from the mistakes he made he still grasped the definition of complex terms.
“Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change..”
Or how about this,
“Old age is just a record of one’s whole life..”
He could have walked away from the struggle of the Black man. He could have shun the black woman and child. He could have escaped to the glamour of Hollywood and fame while donating change here and there to causes that benefits whites than blacks. He could have done a lot of things, and not change his name. Not befriended Malcolm X. Not speak out on the plight of his people and other people of color. I guess it wasn’t him, eh?
“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…”
My G-d it is so much more I could say. I could, again talk about his battles against Sonny Liston. His war against Joe Frazier. The amazing bouts against Ken Norton and George Foreman. I could but we know all of those. That is how we first knew of this warrior, this King, this souljah. We loved him for it and he loved us. I think so strongly on this as I remember as my Dad march for Civil Rights down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana so long ago as he joined the Army and was almost sent to Vietnam. My friends fathers were sent there and they returned. Ones they know regrettably did not. Ali stood against such aggression because aggression from our oppressors did not halt at that time and ones could say even now. Ali realized that. We understood that if we were listening and talking less.
Farewell Muhammad Ali, rest and do your thing in the next form of existence. Oh, while you’re there say hi to my Pops, grandads, Mr. Hawkins, and Grandpa Taylor II and numerous loved ones will you please. I miss them as well.