The most famous and successful boxer of the late 20th century, Muhammad Ali, was both a symbol and a product of the turbulent times he lived through.
This video clip offers a visual summary of Al's tumultous career:
Michael Ezra (right) Chair of the American Multicultural Studies Department at Sonoma State University, is the author of Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon. He says the fighter’s decision to change his name form Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali was a dramatic moment in his public history, but it was even more significant in the behind-the-scenes internal politics within the Nation of Islam.
The soon-to-be Muhammad Ali stands triumphantly over Sonny Liston as he claims the world heavyweight boxing title in 1964. Watch the rematch here:
From today's perspective, Ali's heyday is sometimes seen as a "golden age" of boxing in America, in no small part because of the quality of the competition that Ali was able to dominate.