Ali knew his job - to inspire people
Publisher: The Guardian
Date Written: 05/06/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Describing Muhammad Ali's role as a symbol of resistance to power and the inspiration provided by his acheivements.
Herein stood the sheer audacity of Ali's stand at the prime of his career and why his memory - even for those who were not alive when he competed - resonates so widely and so deeply. His stand carried not risk but the certainty of exile from the one way he knew how to make a living - boxing. He could have had anything that America offered a black man by way of riches and fame at the time, and he turned his back on all of it to make a connection between his own freedom and that of the oppressed globally. He was stripped of his title the same day and his licence was suspended.
Throughout, the most powerful message Ali sent was one of self-definition a freedom beyond the legal rights and formal equality that had been won as he rose to prominence. The ability to rise above the strictures of race, nation, class and the myriad constraints that regulate our behaviour and take the consequences for living your life as you see fit. "I am America," he once said. "I am the part you wont recognise. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky, my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me."
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