The Cost of Choosing to Resist: How Muhammad Ali’s Draft Refusal Changed the Course of History
Mark Marqusee’s book “Redemption Song: Muhammed Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties” is a detailed account of the life and career of one of the most influential and controversial figures of the 20th century – Muhammad Ali. The book not only tells the story of Ali’s rise to become the world heavyweight boxing champion, but also paints a picture of the social and political times in which he lived. In particular, it focuses on the choices that Ali had to make during the Vietnam War, when he was faced with the decision of whether or not to join the army.
2. Life and career of Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He started boxing at the age of 12, and by the time he was 18, he had won six Kentucky Golden Glove titles, two national Golden Glove titles, and an Olympic gold medal. In 1964, he turned professional and quickly rose to become the world heavyweight champion.
However, it was not just his boxing prowess that made Ali famous. He was also known for his outspokenness and his refusal to conform to societal norms. He changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam, and he publicly spoke out against racism and injustice. His refusal to be drafted into the army during the Vietnam War led to him being stripped of his title and banned from boxing for three years.
3. Muhammad Ali’s decision to refuse the draft
In 1967, at the age of 25, Muhammad Ali was drafted into the army. However, he refused to serve, citing his religious beliefs as a conscientious objector. He was stripped of his title and banned from boxing for three years as a result of his decision.
During this time, Ali became a vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam. He spoke out against racism and injustice, and he became a symbol of resistance for many people who were opposed to the war.
4. The cost of Ali’s choices
While Muhammad Ali’s decision to refuse the draft made him a hero to many people, it also came at a great cost. He was banned from boxing for three years, during which time he lost valuable income and opportunities. In addition, his refusal to serve in the army led to him being vilified by many Americans who supported the war effort.
Despite these costs, however, Ali never wavered in his convictions. He continued to speak out against injustice and racism, even when it meant sacrificing his own personal interests. In doing so, he inspired others to stand up for what they believe in, even when it is not popular or convenient.
Mark Marqusee’s book “Redemption Song: Muhammed Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties” is a detailed account of Muhammad Ali’s life and career during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. The book not only tells an inspiring story about one man’s journey to becoming a world-renowned boxer, but it also provides valuable insights into the social and political climate of the times. In particular, it highlights the choices that Ali had to make during the Vietnam War, when he was faced with the decision