In addition to the video below of Muhammad Ali’s greatest moments in the ring, we want to share this loving memory of Ali by our friend and colleague, the poet/writer Luanne Castle. Here is an excerpt:
When I was a little kid, there were two big celebrities whose names swirled around me on a weekly, if not daily, basis: Marilyn Monroe and Cassius Clay … For me, the name Cassius Clay itself was memorable, as was his personality and his reputation. He was a bit of a P.T. Barnum, bellowing and insisting upon attention and admiration. He was talented, and he knew it. He was handsome, and he knew it. He had the “IT” factor, and he knew it. He was also willing to stand up for himself and didn’t hold himself back, furthering civil rights by engendering in my generation the notion that OF COURSE all people should be equal. He did that with his expectations.
Then he converted, changed his name, and avoided the draft–and stirred up even more attention for himself. At that point, he tested the sympathies of middled-aged middle America. But for my generation, he showed that you don’t have to accept things just because the government says it is so. You can fight against what you feel is wrong. He showed that some things are worth fighting for. Whether you agreed or not with his political stance, it was impossible not to recognize that he was a FORCE and a TEACHER. We were young. We were blank slates. We learned so much from him.