A nod to the great Muhammad Ali, a black man who "just wanted to be free," who never knew his place and refused to be afraid when others tried to put him in it, who refused to join a racist unjust war by proclaiming, "The real enemy of my people is here." The final irony on Ali's political heroism: He was truly embraced as an icon in this country only after he lost his powerful, defiant, fearless voice.
As one of the few high profile Viet Nam era draft resisters Ali inspired young Americans of all ethnicities to make sure that they did not get snagged by the military industrial complex. Ali and those of us whose resistance strategy did not include jumping through the government’s hoops were at risk of being arrested and becoming convicted felons clear up until Jimmy Carter declared amnesty during his first week in the White House in January 1977.
In case it hasn’t been noticed on this site where progressives, anti war activists, people of good will, people of conscience, civil rights advocates, lefties and activists gather …
Ali was our champion. He was one of us - a progressive. A protester. An activist. A man of honor and principle and missed by all.
I burned my draft card…but nobody noticed.
“It was unbelievable, the courage he had. He wasn’t just a championship athlete. He was a champion who fought for his people…. The man used his athletic ability as a platform to project himself right up there with world leaders … going after things that very few people have the courage to go after. From the standpoint of his ability to perform and his ability to be involved with the world, Ali was the most important sports figure in history.”
Jim Brown speaking to Dave Zirin.
Ali made us ALL Stand a little Taller