Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
So many of us thrilled to these words from Cassius Clay who cast off his “slave” name, and named himself Muhammad Ali. He proclaimed himself the greatest, long before we were able to face the possibility that we might not have to “feel bad about ourselves” all of the time.
Black people were longing for champions and heroes, and Mohammed Ali gave himself to us. He made himself, claimed himself, named himself and gave himself to the world. He is a sports champion, a civil rights champion, a human rights champion, a liberation worker, and a lifter up of people.
Ali understood the usefulness of taking charge of the shaping of your own life. He said, “The man [and woman] who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life”.
Farewell dear brother. Thank you for the gift of you!
Notes On The Life of Ali
1960 Won Gold Medal at Rome Olympics
1964 Won the world heavyweight championship
Changed his name to Muhammad Ali
Was a conscientious objector to Vietnam war, refusing to join U.S. army.
1971 Won his appeal to overturn conviction for refusal of conscription.
1975 Converted to Sunni Islam
1974 Won the world heavyweight championship
1978 Won the world heavyweight championship
1981 Retired from boxing
1998 United Nations named Ali a “messenger of peace”
Ali campaigns against apartheid and racial injustice.
Supported children’s initiatives and racial and political reconciliation on behalf of United Nations.
Famous fights included:
1971 Fight of the Century
1974 Super Fight II
1975 Thrilla in Manila
I was the Concorde of boxing.
I was at a higher altitude than the rest,
moving faster than the rest…