Finding out Muhammad Ali died this morning at 74 years young has shocked me. I thought he would recover. It is because of Ali that I changed my name from my slave name to an African name. He was born Cassius Clay, and rid himself of his slave name saying,
Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don’t belong anymore to anyone, that I’m not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one.
He is one of our greatest Black heroes for all of the obstacles he overcame and for standing up to White supremacy, the military and racism. He is a great leader, one our young Black children can look up and aspire to become and try to surpass. He was a champion fighter, a lyrical poet and a civil rights hero because he inspired us and gave us courage.
Now as I homeschool my Black son on great Marcus Garvey and du Bois, I can be sure to include the great Ali. There is so much we can learn and admire from his life, and we can make him smile up there as he looks down on Black people and sees us unite and overcome.
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.