The city that once voted to remove Muhammad Ali as US citizen has named its airport after him
The city of Louisville on Friday voted to change their airport’s name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, decades after the same city voted to remove Ali as US citizen for campaigning against the Vietnam war.
At a time when racism and hatred against the African-American community was peaking, Ali not only refused to serve the US Army in Vietnam, he campaigned against the war too, knowing the backlash it would bring.
Ali reasoned his refusal in these words:
“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America”
He had to face arrest, fine, his boxing license was cancelled and he was stripped of his championship. That did not stop him from staying true to what he believed in.
He was the people’s champion, after all. Gold belts meant nothing to him.
During that time, he was the most hated man in the United States. So much so that his hometown voted to remove him as a US citizen.
Muhammad Ali explains his reasons to not join the army during the Vietnam war
But as they say, time is the best judge.
The once most hated man in the US has an airport named after him after people voted for it. The announcement was made on the legend’s birth anniversary on January 18.
“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.
He added that it was important that Louisville furthered the legacy of the great boxer and humanitarian.
Thanks to the different, not remotely ideal, but better times we are living in. He might have faced hatred in his days, but today, the legacy of Muhammad, and what he stood for, stands as tall as his sporting talents.
He is not only, and arguably, the greatest sportsman to have ever lived, but one of the most influential people in human history.
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