When Cassius Clay took up boxing as a four foot eighty-seven pound Kentucky Kid, he was determined to change his fate. He wanted to stop bigger boys from taking his bicycle. Now, on February 26, 1964 his first day as The Heavy Weight Boxing Champion of The World, no one doubted his ability to fight. but he would soon face opponents he could never have anticipated. On that day, he announced, “I believe in the religion of Islam. I believe in Allah and peace… I’m not a Christian anymore.” With that, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and quickly faced new bouts in the courts of law and public opinion; from the sports establishment to his draft board and the Supreme Court.
Yet he fought on. With skill, talent, a lot of pain and amazing humor, he won each battle. He fought for his beliefs, earning the respect and admiration of millions the world round. Living the spirit of his name, he was truly Muhammad Ali: “one who is worthy of praise.”
– Inspiring Moments in Black History by Janus Adams