Humanities Moments

Sacrifices and the Consequences of Dissent

Contributed by Melissa Barnhouse, 38, exceptional children's teacher
Front-page news on Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali was drafted into the Vietnam War in 1966. Ali did not believe in fighting in the war and he was willing to sacrifice everything based on those principles. “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 said. “And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? There are only two kinds of men,” Ali continued, “those who compromise and those who take a stand.” Ali told Pacifica Radio he was “proud to say that I am the first man in the history of all America, athlete and entertainer-wise, who gave up all the white man’s money, looked the white man in the eye, and told him the truth, and stayed with his people." Ali was sentenced to 5 years in jail, fined $10,000, stripped of his title and lost his boxing license for 3 years at the height of his career. In spite of detrimental and pervasive consequences, he sacrificed his way of life to stand strong in his beliefs. The theme of “sacrifice” permeates every aspect of the history of contested territories. All the people involved, no matter what their nationality or culture, made sacrifices related to the contested territory.

Title

Sacrifices and the Consequences of Dissent

Description

Muhammad Ali was drafted into the Vietnam War in 1966. Ali did not believe in fighting in the war and he was willing to sacrifice everything based on those principles. “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 said. “And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? There are only two kinds of men,” Ali continued, “those who compromise and those who take a stand.” Ali told Pacifica Radio he was “proud to say that I am the first man in the history of all America, athlete and entertainer-wise, who gave up all the white man’s money, looked the white man in the eye, and told him the truth, and stayed with his people." Ali was sentenced to 5 years in jail, fined $10,000, stripped of his title and lost his boxing license for 3 years at the height of his career. In spite of detrimental and pervasive consequences, he sacrificed his way of life to stand strong in his beliefs. The theme of “sacrifice” permeates every aspect of the history of contested territories. All the people involved, no matter what their nationality or culture, made sacrifices related to the contested territory.

Date

June 21, 1967

Contributor

Melissa Barnhouse, 38, exceptional children's teacher

Identifier

sacrifice-consequences-of-dissent

Referrer

NEH: Contested Territories

Location