By Editor-in-Chief Kathy Wray Coleman, a-23-year journalist who trained at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio for 17 years, and who interviewed now President Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview,
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This is a two-part series on the life and legacy of boxing great and Civil Rights activist Muhammad Ali by reporter and greater Cleveland activist Kathy Wray Coleman, a native of Louisville, Ky like Ali. Coleman knew Ali and wife Lonnie and she grew up and went to school with Lonnie's siblings. And Coleman played cards with others at the neighborhood home of Lonnie's parents. Part 1 addresses Ali's death and legacy with comments from international boxing promoter Don King, also the owner and publisher of the Cleveland-based Call and Post Newspaper where Coleman trained as a reporter for 17 years. Part 2 will chronicle Ali from the standpoint of Louisvillians and Coleman, the product of an activist and Civil Rights family who was groomed from birth to fight for equal opportunity and equal justice for Black people.
CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM-LOUISVILLE, Kentucky- Boxing legend and Civil Rights activist Muhammad Ali is dead at 74 following a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease.
The three-time heavyweight champion of the world and a native of Louisville, KY Ali, born in 1942 as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., died Friday night at a hospital in Phoenix, AZ with his wife Yolanda "Lonnie" Ali and other family members by his side.
The "sting like a bee" fighter's funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville with arrangements pending.
Famed international boxing promoter Don King, also the owner and publisher of the Cleveland-based Call and Post Newspaper, a weekly and the most prominent Black print newspaper in the state of Ohio, spoke at length to reporters on Ali's legacy and his relationship with "the greatest."
King said Friday night that that he loved Ali and that Ali was a close friend whose legacy "will never die."
King mentored Ali and promoted him relative to "The Rumble in the Jungle", the 1974 bout that he won against George Foreman.
The "Thrilla in Manila ," a 1975 contested championship fight, was also promoted by King, a bout that Ali won in 1975 via a technical knockout against Joe Frazier, also a former heavyweight champion who beat Ali in 1971 in a celebrated fight deemed the "Fight of the Century" .
Frazier died in 2011.
Ali was a conscious objector of the Vietnam war. He was arrested and subsequently convicted on draft evasion charges following his refusal in 1967 to be scripted for the U.S. Military, a conviction that stripped him of his title and was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"At no time do we participate in wars that take the lives of humans," Ali said relative to his opposition to the Vietnam War, adding that Black men were require to register for the draft when America would not "take care of us at home."
King said that Ali stoop up for what he believed in, including his participation in the Black liberation movement and his stance against an unjust war on religious beliefs.
"He stood up for what he believed in and he fought for the will of the people," said King of Ali, who started boxing at the age of 12 and won the heavy weight championship tile at 22 against Sonny Liston, of whom he put away in a rematch the following year.
A1960 Olympic gold medalist and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ali ultimately retired in 1981 with 56 victories and only five defeats.
Ali's charitable causes include UNICEF, Special Olympics, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Ali was married four times and in addition to wife, Yolanda "Lonnie" Ali, also a native of Louisville, he is survived by nine children, including daughter Laila, also a well-known former American boxer like her famed father.