Muhammad Ali

Clay, aka Ali v. United States 1966-1971

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Source: Muhammad Ali  The Measure of a Man. (Spring 1967). Freedomways, 7(2), 101-102.
"Muhammad Ali The Measure of a Man." (Spring 1967). Freedomways, 7(2), 101-102.

"In recent months, with increasing frequency, it has been necessary to use the Editorial pages of Freedomways to call attention to attacks upon particular individuals by the Government as well as other agencies of power."
So begins the Spring 1967 Freedomways editorial. What necessitated this particular editorial was the latest attack against Muhammad Ali — the stripping his heavyweight boxing title because of his refusal to be inducted into the military. The editors called the decision an "arrogant, presumptious act." Their argument was not centered around the immorality of the war itself or Muhammad Ali's constitutionally guaranteed rights to object on religious grounds. Instead:
"While we are not claiming any special privelege for Negro Americans, what we are challenging is the moral right of this nation, based upon its record, to insist that any black man must put on the military uniform, at any time, and go thousands of miles away from these shores to risk his life for a society which has historically been his oppressor."
Though his stand against the war resulted in Ali "giving up a small fortune, ...he has undoubtedly gained the respect and admiration of a very large part of humanity. That, after all, is the measure of a Man."

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