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Our favorite time of the year is finally here!

It is time to celebrate and dedicate the entire month of February to black history. Follow Sheen Magazine along the way as we’ll share black history facts throughout the entire month. Every day, we will share little-known facts, celebrate those who played made their mark in history, and the historic moments and events.

Muhammad Ali

Early Life

Muhammad Ali was born on January 17th, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Growing up in the south, we were not surprised to learn that he faced racial prejudice and discrimination. At just 12-years-old, Ali discovered his love and talent for boxing. One in event, in particular, caught our attention. Muhammad’s bike was stolen and upon reporting it to a police officer named, Joe Martin that he wanted to beat up the person that stole his bike, Martin replied, “Well, you better learn how to fight before you start challenging people.”

Martin was also a trainer for young boxers at the local gym on top of being a police officer.

Early career

Ali began training with Martin and began his boxing career. He won his first match in 1954 by split decision. In 1956, Ali won the Golden Gloves tournament in the light heavyweight class. Only three short years later, Ali won the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions AND the Amateur Athletic Union’s national title for the light heavyweight division.

Olympic career

In 1960, Ali earned his way onto the U.S. Olympic boxing team. He competed in Rome, Italy and won his first three bouts and defeating Zbigniew Pietrzkowski from Poland. He won the light heavyweight Olympic gold medal.

Vietnam and the Supreme Court Case

Muhammad Ali was stripped of his world title and boxing license in April of 1967 when he was drafted into the military and refused to serve on the grounds. He believed his religious beliefs prevented him from fighting. The United States Department of Justice found Ali guilty of violating Selective Service laws and sentenced to five years in prison but remained free while appealing his conviction.

Return to the ring

It was in 1970 when Ali finally made his return to the ring. His first win was over Jerry Quarry. The United States Supreme Court later overturned the conviction in June of 1971. The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease In 1984, Muhammad Ali announced to the world that he had Parkinson’s disease. Ali was still very active during this time, he raised funds for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center in Phoenix, Arizona and was able to celebrate the first African American president in 2009 at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Philanthropy

Upon retiring, Ali was very much dedicated to philanthropy work. He supported the Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation to name a few. In 1996, Ali lit the Olympic cauldron at the summer Olympic Games when it was held in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to all those exciting events, Ali traveled to different countries to help those in need. In 1998, he was chosen to become a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Awards and recognition Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. At Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Ali was honored with the Presidential Award from the NAACP for his public service efforts.

The passing of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali passed away on June 3, 2016, in Phoenix, Arizona after being hospitalized.

The Muhammad Ali Center

In his hometown, Ali opened up the Muhammad Ali Center. It was created in order to inspire everyday people.

Ali

Actor Will Smith portrayed Muhammad Ali in the film, Ali. It was released in 2001.

 

All information obtained from Biography

Featured Image: Shutterstock