2. Ali’s Greatest Fight – Completed

ali greatest fightBingham, Howard L., Wallace, Max and Ali, Muhammad, 2012

Number 2 on my book list to read in 2014. (may or may not be read as numbered)

 If you want to know why Muhammad Ali is a global icon and much more than a sports legend; read this book. Then watch two recent documentaries about his fight with the U.S. government to recognize his religious right not to fight in Vietnam. Muhammad’s refusal to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces brought him ridicule and millions lost in revenue. He was stripped of his title, denied the freedom to work at his profession and faced the possibility of years in prison.  Well researched, the writer does a great job of narrating the rise of the 18 year old boy, Cassius Clay, who won a boxing Gold Medal in the 1960 Olympics, to the man Muhammad Ali, who stood up for his principles in the face of racists opposition from Whites and shunning from many Blacks. Providing a close look at the legal case in its historical context, the book exports you back to a place where the struggle for Black Liberation and resistance to the Vietnam War intersected.

To get a full picture of what Ali had to endure and the character of the man who had to endure it, to understand the importance of his resistance to the Vietnam War to igniting the fledgling anti-war movement, you should read this book and see two documentaries.  Watch Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight. This film is based on the book Ali’s Greatest Fight. I suggest watching the film first and then reading the book.

The second film is The Trials of Muhammad Ali. You may want to see this one last or have read some of the book before seeing it. This film documents not only the legal Ali’s case, but also the role race and religion played in shaping his thinking about the Vietnam War and how his faith gave him the guidance and strength to persevere through what he saw as a test of faith.

Both films are available on Itunes and Amazon.

1. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1968

2. Ali’s Greatest Fight – Finished last week of February
Bingham, Howard L., Wallace, Max and Ali, Muhammad, 2012

3. The Sixth Extinction
Elizabeth Kolbert, 2014

4. My Ishmael: A Sequel
Daniel Quinn, 1998

5. Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston, 1937

6. Blues People: Negro Music in White America
Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones), 1963

7. 12 Years a Slave
Solomon Northup

8. The Art of Waging Peace: A Strategic Approach to Improving Our Lives and the World
Paul K. Chappell, 2014

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About Michael T. McPhearson

Currently Michael is executive director of Veterans For Peace and co-chair of the Don't Shoot Coalition, A Saint Louis based coalition that formed in the aftermath of Michael Brown's police killing death in Ferguson, MO. From August 2010 to September 2013, Michael worked as the National Coordinator with United For Peace and Justice. He is a former board member of Veterans For Peace and as well as Executive Director from 2005 to 2010. He works closely with the Newark based People’s Organization for Progress and the Saint Louis centered Organization for Black Struggle. Michel also publishes the Mcphearsonreport.org expressing his views on war and peace, politics, human rights, race and other things. Michael also launched Reclaimthedream.org website as an effort to change the discourse and ignite a new conversation about Dr. Martin Luther King’s message and what it means to live in just and peaceful communities.