Muhammad Ali

In honor of Black History Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Black American, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Long Phuong, Staff Writer

On January 17, 1942 in Louisville Kentucky, one of the world greatest boxers was born, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, or better known as Muhammad Ali.

Ali started as an amatuar boxer at age of 12. Soon at age of 18, his first success in his career was an Olympic gold medal in the lightweight division in the 1960 summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. He won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964, at age 22. He became a Muslim in 1961 and in 1966 he was drafted into the military which he refused because his religion was opposing the Vietnam War.

He also became an actor and got a grammy award nomination from : I Am the Greatest! (1963) and The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay (1976).  He had many historical battles throughout his career and became one of the world famous boxers ever. In 1998, Ali began working with actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, to raise awareness and fund research for a cure. They made a joint appearance before Congress to push the case in 2002. In 2000, Ali worked with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease to raise awareness and encourage donations for research.

Ali was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine in 1990.  Ali’s bout with Parkinson’s Syndrome led to a gradual decline in his health, though he was still active into the early years of the millennium, promoting his own biopic, Ali, in 2001. That year he also contributed an on-camera segment to the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit concert.

In June 3, 2016 at Scottsdale, Arizona Muhammad Ali one of the world’s best boxers died of septic schock due to unspecified natural causes. He died at age of 74 and was buried in Cave Hill cemetery in his birth town.