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Muhammad Ali

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Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was much more than a boxer. He was a very influential fighter in the war against racism. Ali's popularity fluctuated through the course of his life. His fighting made him popular, but his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War made people abhor him. Certain events in Muhammad's life made him into a respectable and generous person. Muhammad Ali was know to most people as just a boxer, but in his mind, his career was not nearly as important to him as his religious beliefs, the Nation of Islam.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., Ali was brought up in a moderately ordinary household. He was born on January 17, 1942. Ali was raised in a middle-class household in Louisville, Kentucky. His father painted billboards and signs, and his mother worked as a maid. Muhammad began boxing at the age of twelve in the Louisville Colombia Gym. Early in his boxing career, his talent was recognized and Fred Stone, a black trainer, became his coach.

Muhammad Ali's fight against racism started when he met Malcolm X and espoused his comparable views. The religion was the Nation of Islam and its views included pacifist ideas united with a spiritual embrace of all people. Ali insisted on setting a good example for the black youth of America. Even after winning the Olympic gold medal for the United States, he was still discriminated against. Muhammad contributed a lot to charities including the Our Children's Foundation in Manhattan. His new acceptance of this religion changed his entire outlook on life.

Ali refused to serve in the military and fight in the Vietnam War. This decision decreased his popularity significantly. People called him unpatriotic and were disgusted. Not surprisingly, this adversity only made Ali stronger, prouder, and more determined than ever to live his life with dignity and by his own conviction. Muhammad was even willing to serve time in jail for violating the Selective Service Act. He lost his boxing title because of this decision. One of his few supporters was Howard Cosell, a World War II veteran and a former lawyer. The time during his repudiation to fight was the lowest point of his popularity and of his entire career.

Certain events in Ali's life made him develop into the person he was. One of these events was when Muhammad met Malcolm X. This altered his outlook on life and made him a better person by accepting



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