Black News and News Makers in History: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali)

Black news from Pasadena - Black News and News Makers in History recognizes Mohammad Ali (Cassius Clay) this week in Black history.Cassius M. Clay changed his name in 1964 to Muhammad Ali when he became a member of the Muslim religion. He may be one of the most famous athletes, recognized worldwide. He earned several boxing championship titles including 1956 Novice Title, Louisville, Kentucky, 1959 & 1960 APR National Amateur Athletic Union Light-Heavyweight Champion, Golden Gloves, and 1960 Rome Olympics Light-Heavyweight Gold Medalist at the amateur level and 1964-67, 1974-78, and 1978-79 World Boxing Association heavyweight at the professional level. His first professional fight was at age 18.

His political and racial discrimination awareness led him to become more conscientious about world affairs, one of the reasons for his religious conversion. On religious grounds, in 1967, he refused to be inducted into the armed forces. Threatened with the penalties of incarceration and fines, he chose to stand by his personal values. His refusal caused him to be stripped of his world title in 1967 and he was barred from boxing while the case was in litigation. He continued to recognized as the world heavyweight titleholder in other parts of the world. In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Ali's favor.

With hard work since age 12, Ali was able to essentially resurrect the popularity of boxing through his confidence, talent, skill, boxing intelligence, and showmanship. By the end of his professional career, after twenty-one years in the ring, his record stands at 61 bouts with 56 wins—37 knock outs (usually in the round of his prediction), and 5 losses. Among other reasons, his Parkinson's disease influenced his decision to retire.

Though there were times controversy surrounded Ali, he continues to be a respected worldwide figure. In 1998, he was chosen to be a United Nations Messenger of Peace because of his work in developing countries. In 2005, Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Whether you find Ali controversial or not, one thing that shouldn't be controversial is his courage to stand on his moral principles.

Compiled from various resources including Wikipedia.


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Black News and News Makers in History

4/10/1894: George Washington Murray, farmer, teacher & politician, patents two farming machines. Read More.

4/11/1888: Edward Park Duplex elected Wheatland CA mayor. Believed to be first African American mayor of predominantly white U.S. town.

4/11/1948: Jackie Robinson signs professional baseball contract becoming first major leagues black player.

4/12/1913: Lionel Hampton, musician (recorded with Louis Armstrong, worked with Benny Goodman, & responsible for introducing vibraphone to jazz) & bandleader, born.

4/12/1966: Emmett Ashford becomes first Black Major League Baseball umpire.

4/12/1981: Joe Louis, world heavyweight boxing champion for nearly 12 years prior to 1949 retirement, dies.

4/12/1989: Sugar Ray Robinson, five-time world middleweight boxing championship winner & unbeaten welterweight champion, dies.

4/13/1669: Emmanuel, baptized by New York Lutheran congregation.

4/13/1891: Nella Larsen, short story writer under pseudonym Allen Simi (her married name backwards) & novelist, born.

4/13/1964: Sidney Poitier wins Best Actor Academy Award for Lilies of the Field role.

4/14/1775: First U.S. abolitionist society organized in Philadelphia.

4/15/1896: Booker T. Washington gains honorary degree from Harvard University. Read More.

4/15/1919: Elizabeth Catlett, lithographer, painter & sculptor, born. Read More.

4/16/1862: President Abraham Lincoln signs bill ending slavery in District of Columbia—nine months before he issues Emancipation Proclamation.

4/16/1994: Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man" author, dies.


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