Ali the Conscientious Objector

On this date in 1967, Muhammed Ali was arrested for refusing his conscription into the US military for the Vietnam War. Ali was the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, and arguably the most famous athlete in the world, perhaps of all time. Yet later that day he was stripped of his titles and effectively banned from boxing for more than 3 years, at the height of his athletic prowess.

Ali was already a powerful symbol for African-American Civil Rights. His decision to be a conscientious objector, refusing to be drafted for the Vietnam War, elevated his status in the US and around the world as a counter-cultural icon. He stated, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?” (source) Ali would eventually box again, regaining his championship belts, but it is his status as a champion of peace and of human rights that make him a true hero.

Find out more:


Muhammad Ali and Vietnam- The Atlantic

Why Ali Refused to Fight in the War- Washington Post

Muhammad Ali refuses Army induction- History.com

Muhammad Ali… – The Undefeated

The Ali Center

Hank Aaron

The world lost a true hero last week, as Henry “Hank” Aaron passed away at the age of 86. Hank Aaron was one of the greats of the sport of baseball, one of the best players ever to put on a major league uniform. More than that, he was a great human being. The legendary Muhammad Ali, in his day considered by many to be the world’s most famous, if not greatest, athlete, said of Aaron, that he was the “only man I idolize more than myself.” (Baseball Hall of Fame). In 1973 Aaron hit his 715th home run to pass the iconic Babe Ruth with the most ever. Aaron was under intense scrutiny as he approached the record, all the more because he was a black man who was about to break the record of a white hero, something that was unacceptable to the white supremacist ethos. Aaron faced intense racism, including death threats against him and his family. Remarkably, even in the face of such despicable conditions, he continued to perform on the field, crushing the all-time record, holding it for more than 30 years. For all who knew him personally, it was not surprising that off the field he continued to live a life of humility, dignity and integrity. Hank Aaron was an outspoken supporter of the Civil Rights movement, and spent his post-playing days working for many humanitarian and philanthropic causes.

Find out more about Hank Aaron:

Baseball Hall of Fame

Hank Aaron’s Legacy…

Civil Rights Walk of Fame

Hank Aaron’s Lasting Impact

Hank Aaron: Home Run Hero

Rosa Parks

source: wikimedia commons

One of the icons of the US Civil Rights movement looked an unlikely hero but proved to be someone whose strength of character belied her appearance. Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1934.  In the face of the overt racism of 1950’s America, Rosa famously refused to give up her seat on the bus, as black people were expected to do for white people. She was arrested, and the resulting Montgomery Bus Boycott proved to be one of foundational events of the Civil Rights Movement.

 

 

For more on Rosa Parks:

 

Come down to the School Library to check out our titles on Rosa Parks and other books for Black History Month:

 

 

Rosa Parks

source: wikimedia commons

One of the icons of the US Civil Rights movement looked an unlikely hero but proved to be someone whose strength of character belied her appearance. Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1934.  In the face of the overt racism of 1950’s America, Rosa famously refused to give up her seat on the bus, as black people were expected to do for white people. She was arrested, and the resulting Montgomery Bus Boycott proved to be one of foundational events of the Civil Rights Movement. For more on Rosa Parks:

Rosa Parks Legacy

International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

NAACP

 

 

Rosa Parks

source: wikimedia commons

One of the icons of the US Civil Rights movement looked an unlikely hero but proved to be someone whose strength of character belied her appearance. Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1934.  In the face of the overt racism of 1950’s America, Rosa famously refused to give up her seat on the bus, as black people were expected to do for white people. She was arrested, and the resulting Montgomery Bus Boycott proved to be one of foundational events of the Civil Rights Movement. For more on Rosa Parks:

Rosa Parks Legacy

International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

NAACP

 

 

Rosa Parks

source: wikimedia commons

One of the icons of the US Civil Rights movement looked an unlikely hero but proved to be someone whose strength of character belied her appearance. Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1934.  In the face of the overt racism of 1950’s America, Rosa famously refused to give up her seat on the bus, as black people were expected to do for white people. She was arrested, and the resulting Montgomery Bus Boycott proved to be one of foundational events of the Civil Rights Movement. For more on Rosa Parks:

Rosa Parks Legacy

International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

NAACP

 

 

I Have a Dream

Today in the School Library students and staff will have the opportunity to view the famous “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King Jr. We will discuss the life of Dr. King, the Civil Rights Movement, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality and justice in our society.  As Americans observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a state holiday, we in Canada can also celebrate the work of Dr. King, who stood for non-violent protest, peace, forgiveness and love.

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