Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali (məhăm´əd älē´), 1942–2016, American boxer, b. Louisville, Ky. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, he was a 1960 Olympic gold medalist. Shortly after upsetting Sonny Liston in 1964 to become world heavyweight champion, he formalized his association with the Nation of Islam (see Black Muslims) and adopted the Muslim name Muhammad Ali.

Ali's flamboyant boxing style and outspoken stances on social issues made him a controversial figure during the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s. After beating Liston, he defended his title nine times, brashly proclaiming himself the "greatest of all time." In 1967 he refused induction into the armed services and became a symbol of resistance to the Vietnam War. The boxing establishment stripped Ali of his title and prevented him from fighting until the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971 upheld his draft appeal on religious grounds. Before retiring in 1981 Ali compiled a 56–5 record and became the only man to ever win the heavyweight crown three times. His fights with Joe Frazier and George Foreman were among boxing's biggest events.

In retirement, Ali was one of the most recognized world figures. The 1984 revelation that he suffered from Parkinson's disease renewed debate over the negative effects of boxing. His appearance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, to light the Olympic flame, moved an international audience.

See his Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life's Journey (with H. Y. Ali, 2013) and The Greatest: My Own Story (with R. Durham, 2015); memoir by T. Shanahan (with C. Crisafulli, 2016); T. Hauser, Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times (1991) and Muhammad Ali: A Tribute to the Greatest (2016); biography by J. Eig (2016); G. Early, ed., The Muhammad Ali Reader (1998); D. Remnick, King of the World (1998); R. Roberts and J. Smith, Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X (2016); Sports Illustrated, Muhammad Ali: The Tribute (2016).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Muhammad Ali: Selected full-text books and articles

Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon By Michael Ezra Temple University Press, 2009
The Kentucky Anthology: Two Hundred Years of Writing in the Bluegrass State By Wade Hall University Press of Kentucky, 2005
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
The Resurrection: Atlanta, Racial Politics, and the Return of Muhammad Ali By Smith, John Matthew Southern Cultures, Vol. 21, No. 2, Summer 2015
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Muhammad Ali: An Intimate New Look at a Legend By Massaquoi, Hans J Ebony, Vol. 45, No. 1, November 1989
The Muhammad Ali Impact and Muslim Americans By Bailey-Ndiaye, Stacy Islamic Horizons, Vol. 44, No. 3, May 1, 2015
How Cassius Clay Became Muhammad Ali By Zirin, Dave The Progressive, Vol. 79, No. 4, April 2015
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