I Am Muhammad Ali
- By Brad Meltzer
- Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
- 5-9 years
- 40 pages
Muhammad Ali was the leading heavyweight boxer of the 20th century and a charismatic, beloved public figure. His objection to the military draft during the Vietnam War made him an icon for a generation, and his impact in sports and the Civil Rights movement is still felt today.
This friendly, fun biography series inspired the PBS Kids TV show Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. One great role model at a time, these books encourage kids to dream big. Included in each book are:
• A timeline of key events in the hero’s history
• Photos that bring the story more fully to life
• Comic-book-style illustrations that are irresistibly adorable
• Childhood moments that influenced the hero
• Facts that make great conversation-starters
• A virtue this person embodies: Muhammad Ali’s confidence shines in this biography.
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. the celebrated boxer began boxing at the age of 12, after threatening to “whip” the person who stole his bicycle. He won six Kentucky Golden Glove titles, two national Golden Glove titles, and a gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. At the age of 22, Clay won his first heavyweight title by defeating the reigning champion Sonny Liston.
In 1962, Cassius Clay met Malcolm X, who became his friend and spiritual advisor. Joining the Nation of Islam in 1964, Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In 1967, Ali refused to serve in the armed forces during the Vietnam War due to his religious beliefs. He was charged with draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000, and banned from boxing for three years. The conviction was overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1971. The National Archives holds records relating to his arrest and successful appeal in the series Case Files and Enclosures Relating to Cassius Clay, Jr. (Muhammad Ali), 1967-1969 (NAID 22930205).