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Statement from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest.  Period.  If you just asked him, he’d tell you.  He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.”

But what made The Champ the greatest – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing.  But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him – the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston.  I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was – still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.

“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age – not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right.  A man who fought for us.  He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t.  His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing.  It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail.  But Ali stood his ground.  And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.

He wasn’t perfect, of course.  For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved.  But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes – maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves.  Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world.  We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest.  We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.

Muhammad Ali shook up the world.  And the world is better for it.  We are all better for it.  Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.

National Urban League Statement:

Farewell to “The Greatest” – Inside the Ring and Outside

“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me—black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.” — Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

NEW YORK (June 4, 2016) — The National Urban League and the Urban League Movement join the family of Muhammad Ali and the rest of the nation in mourning the loss of the nation’s most iconic athlete and civil rights activist, President and CEO Marc H. Morial said today.

“I believe Muhammad Ali was the greatest athlete of the 20th century,” Morial said. “Whether he was the greatest boxer in history may be debated for generations. But none has had a greater impact on American culture and social justice.”

Morial noted that when Ali was barred from boxing after he refused to serve in the Vietnam War, he toured college campuses to speak on behalf of the civil rights movement.

“Few would choose to face imprisonment rather than violate their principles, and even fewer would meet the loss of livelihood by devoting themselves to social justice.

“We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family,” Morial said.

 

NAACP Statement on the Death of Boxing Legend, Social Activist Muhammad Ali

 

 

BALTIMORE, MD – “The death of Muhammad Ali leaves us mourning his loss but also reflecting on how his life serves as an inspiration to all of us to pursue greatness.

 

“A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 and the NAACP President’s Award in 2009, Ali’s accomplishments in the boxing ring are matched only by his record of humanitarian efforts and social activism. His fighting spirit went beyond the ring to encourage people to raise their aspirations.

 

“Ali opened The Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville to serve as a forum to promote respect, tolerance and understanding. At a time when anti-Islamic rhetoric has become all too common in our society and even in the campaign for president, Muhammad Ali represented a Muslim American who was beloved and respected by millions around the world.

 

“We will continue to use his life as an example for all of us to not be passive participants in our society. As we continue to fight for the right to vote, to fight against racial profiling and to fight against an unjust criminal justice system, Muhammad Ali’s legacy will continue to inspire generations to be bold, be fearless, and ‘be great.'”

 

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

 

Statement from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on the Death of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was much more than a great athlete. He was a person of conscience, a citizen of the world. His principled stance against the Vietnam War cost him the prime years of his boxing career, but his moral compass never wavered. He was a champion of civil and human rights, both here in the U.S. and around the world. Even as he fought a debilitating disease for more than a decade, his strength of personality and charisma were apparent at every public appearance. My sympathies go out to his family and his friends everywhere.

 

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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