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The Greatest: Muhammed Ali Booktalk

  • Grades: 6–8

He was the greatest boxer in the world, and in the 1960s, he single-handedly changed the face of boxing forever.

Cassius Clay was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1942. Segregation was real, and the whites and blacks lived in separate, parallel worlds. When he was twelve, Clay discovered boxing, which was to become one of the two most important forces in his life. Even then he was a bragging loudmouthed kid. And even then he was totally devoted to boxing. He practiced long hours, learning not only the techniques of the sport, but also his own personal style, which obeyed some of the rules of boxing, and broke others. It made him unique in the boxing world. His boxing possessed a grace, a style, a beauty that was new to the sport.

But things other than boxing also caught his attention. The unnecessary and deadly war in Vietnam, the rise of integration in the South, and the emergence of the Black Muslim group, the Nation of Islam and its charismatic leaders Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X.

Who was this man of iron determination, who believed in himself and his beliefs so completely? Let award-winning author Walter Dean Myers tell you about Ali the boxer, the Muslim, the role model, the legend, The Greatest.

  • Subjects:
    Sports Heroes
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