He was bornCassius Marcellus Clay, Jr in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 14, 1942. He converted to Islam in 1964 dividing the country along race and religious lines. He was against the draft during the Vietnam War.On April 28, 1967 he refused his army induction. He famously said “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.”
He was a conscientious objector. He also kept fighting in the courts.
He was fined $10,000 and was stripped of his titles and prevented from boxing for 3 years. After he returned to the ring he fought Joe Frazier in the “fight of the century.” at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. Frazier won in an unanimous decision, after 15 rounds.
On November 14, 2005 President George W Bush gave him the highest civilian honor in a White House Ceremony, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.