Muhammad Ali

aliCassius Clay was born on this day in 1942.  After winning a Gold Medal in the Olympics for the United States, he would turn professional and go on to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali as part of his conversion to Islam.  Ali would win the Heavyweight Title an unprecedented three times, most famously regaining the title in 1974, seven years after having his title stripped from him in 1967.  When Ali was drafted for military service by the US government, likely for duty in Vietnam, Ali refused induction as a conscientious objector, citing his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War.  Ali famously told the world that “No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill, and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end”

Ali was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion. Boxing authorities stripped him of his title and banned him from the sport for nearly 4 years.  Although the Supreme Court eventually overturned his criminal conviction, he had lost his title and many years of his athletic prime.  Remarkably, he fought his way back to the top, defeating George Forman in the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974. After losing the title again in 1978 to Leon Spinks, Ali won the rematch to regain the Belt for an unprecedented third Heavyweight Boxing Title.

ali1 ali2 ali3Ali is arguably the greatest athlete in history. In his prime, he was certainly the most famous and recognizable athlete in the entire world. Ali was a polarizing figure, as many hated him for his brash, self-aggrandizing demeanor and his outspoken religious and political statements. However, even more people loved him. To a generation of people all over the globe, Ali was a counter-cultural hero who represented the struggle against racism, against war and against the conservative authorities of the day.

Find out more about Muhammad Ali:

www.ali.com

Muhammad Ali Center

The Greatest by Joyce Carol Oates

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Martin Luther King Jr.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on this day in 1929.

Dr. King was the leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement, as African-Americans struggled for freedom and equality in the United States. Dr. King was a brilliant orator and an inspirational leader. Dr. King was committed to the principals to non-violence, in part based on the example of Gandhi in India.  He believed that the only path towards a peaceful resolution of the plight of black people in the United States was through non-violence, civil disobedience, and peaceful protest.

source: wikimedia commons / Library of Congress

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated as a national holiday in the United States on the 3rd Monday of January.

For more on the life of Dr. King:

Bono

Bono was born Paul Hewson on this day in 1960 in Dublin, Ireland.  He took the stage name of Bono Vox as the lead singer of U2, which rose to fame as one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Beyond rock’n’roll, Bono is an outspoken activist and supporter of many humanitarian causes.

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MLK Assassinated

Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life on this day in 1968.  He was shot and killed while he was on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was only 39 years old.

The Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was assassinated, is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum. The wreath marks the approximate place Dr. King was standing at the time. source: wikimedia commons

Learn more about the life and death of Dr. King:

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was born on this day in 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington. He would become the lead singer of Nirvana and one of the leading figures of the Seattle music scene of the 90’s.  Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden became global superstars at the centre of what some called the “Grunge” movement. Despite his wealth and fame, Cobain was a troubled young man who succumbed to depression and drug addiction. He took his own life in 1994.

Learn more about Kurt Cobain. Check out some of the books we have and some of these links:

Bob Marley

BobMarleyReggae legend Bob Marley was born on this day in 1945 in Nine Miles, Jamaica. Sadly, he died far too young, at only 36 in 1981.  For more on the life of this amazing artist, take a look at some of the many books we have here in the school library. Online you can also check out: