On June 20, 1967, the great Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston for refusing induction in the U.S. armed forces.
Ali saw the war in Vietnam as an exercise in genocide. He also used his platform as boxing champion to connect the war abroad with the war at home, saying, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?”
For these statements, as much as the act itself, Judge Joe Ingraham handed down the maximum sentence to Cassius Clay (as they insisted upon calling him in court): five-years in a federal penitentiary and a $10,000 fine.
Ali’s refusal to be drafted was an inspiring moment for many of us.
– Dougal MacDonald