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Black History and Blacks in U.S. History
Muhammad Ali



Muhammad Ali
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.4

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    evasion, objectors, unpatriotic, controversy, heavyweight, agenda, conscientious, further, religion, fighter, refused, medal, refuses, status, division, fans
     content words:    Muhammad Ali, Rome Olympics, Cassius Clay, Now I'm, Vietnam War, When Muhammad, US Army, Sonny Liston, Supreme Court, Joe Frazier


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Muhammad Ali
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     In 1960, Muhammad Ali won a gold medal for boxing at the Rome Olympics. He was 18 years old at the time, and his medal was in the light heavyweight division. At that time, he was known as Cassius Clay, not Muhammad Ali.
 
2     He went on to win many other boxing matches, but boxing was not the only thing on Cassius Clay's agenda. According to him, boxing was what made him famous, but fighting for freedom was his real mission. He said, "The fighting was a vehicle to make me popular. Now I'm fighting for freedom, for people's rights, . . ."
 
3     His career mixed boxing, showmanship, his campaign for freedom and respect, and controversy over his religion.
 
4     After the Olympics in 1960, Cassius Clay began his pro fighting career. Before one of his matches, he predicted that he would win by a knockout in the second round. His prediction came true. After that, Clay kept making predictions, often in rhyme. These predictions made the boxing matches more interesting for his fans.
 
5     In 1963, Cassius Clay joined the Muslim faith. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali. This was during the time of the Vietnam War, and Muhammad's Muslim faith opposed the war. When Muhammad was drafted into the US Army, he refused to go, claiming the status of a conscientious objector. A conscientious objector is someone who refuses to fight because his beliefs are opposed to war. People who opposed the Vietnam War were often looked down on at that time. People who had been in the war, or who had had a family member in the war, called the conscientious objectors unpatriotic. They called them traitors. Muhammad Ali and his refusal to fight in the war became big news.

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