Tag Archives: Legacies: Lives lived / past progressive
On June 4, 2016, Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century passed away in a Phoenix, Arizona hospital. He had been admitted earlier in the week with respiratory problems and after almost three decades of struggle against Parkinson’s disease. He stopped breathing just after midnight on June 4.
Born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky in 1942, he came to prominence at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 when he won the gold medal in the 175 lb. (light heavyweight) category.
His brilliant skill and boxing style was immediately recognized internationally and his successes inside the ring were matched throughout his life with his uncompromising stands against racism and his defence of the right to conscience and against unjust wars of aggression. This won him great acclaim from the world’s peoples outside the ring long after he retired from boxing.
He then won the world heavyweight championship three times. In 1964, shortly after winning the title fight against Sonny Liston, he announced that he had joined the Nation of Islam, adopted the Muslim faith and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
At the height of his boxing career he took a brave stand against the U.S. war of aggression in Vietnam by refusing induction into the US army. Refusing induction orders was a felony in the U.S. and he was criminally charged and stripped of all his boxing titles. His boxing license was suspended and in 1967 he was put on trial and found guilty.
Ali’s courageous stand came right in the midst of the rising anti-war movement in the U.S. and worldwide, and his active opposition to U.S. military aggression in Vietnam and elsewhere was a great contribution to the movement of the people in defence of their rights.
Ali actively fought against the violation of his right to conscience. At one of the public rallies organized in his defence he said, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home to drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam, while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”
After a four-year battle the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, reversed the conviction. Muhammad Ali not only returned to boxing but continued to speak out against racial oppression in the U.S. and many other human rights and social issues.
When he retired from boxing Ali had an incredible record of 56 wins in 61 bouts. Even though many of his fights will be remembered as the most skillful and exciting boxing exhibitions ever seen, his greatest successes came outside the ring. His uncompromising stands in defence of rights made him one of the most popular and beloved personalities all over the world.
Muhammad Ali earned the deep respect of oppressed people around the world, who saw him as a man of principle who was not afraid of turning his words into deeds and fighting on the side of the people.
– In His Own Words, April 1967 –
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 and denied simple human rights?
No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.
This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars.
But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here.
I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.
If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow.
I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.
Remembering Doctor Sócrates, who made the game beautiful
By TONY SEED
BRASILIA (December 8, 2011) — A MOMENT of silence was observed in all of Brazil’s soccer stadiums, accompanied by much applause, during the last day of the National Football Championship in memory of the former player and doctor Sócrates, who died during the early hours on December 4 at 57 years of age, as a result of an intestinal infection. Players on the Corinthians team from São Paulo dedicated their fifth title to him with their right fists raised, just as he celebrated his goals as the celebrated captain of the national team during the World Cups of Spain ‘82 and Mexico ‘86. Continue reading
We remember Sócrates, the midfield legend, one of Brazil’s most resplendent footballers, who has died aged 57.
Australian athlete stood for rights at home and in the US
By MARGARET REES
Thirty eight years ago, on October 16, 1968, the medals ceremony at the Mexico Olympics was converted into a symbolic demonstration of the struggle against oppression.
US black sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos, respectively first and third in the men’s 200 metres, defiantly raised clenched fist salutes as the American national anthem played. Their stand in support of civil rights and against racism reverberated internationally. The photograph of their protest has become one of the most recognised images in the world, after that of the first moon landing.
The unexpected silver medalist, 26-year-old Australian Peter Norman, wore a button of the “Olympic Project for Human Rights” – a civil rights protest movement set up by black athlete Harry Edwards before the Games – in support of his two fellow athletes. Continue reading
(Feb. 2) – CURT FLOOD, the all-star centerfielder who was the first major league baseball player to challenge the owners’ control of the game and paved the way for free agency, died January 20 in Los Angeles at the age of 59. He died of pneumonia related to the throat cancer which struck him last year.
Flood spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he was considered the finest-fielding outfielder in an era which included Willie Mays. Continue reading