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Muhammed Ali, named initially Cassius Marcellus Clay. Jr was the first fighter to win the world heavyweight championship three times and successfully defended his title on 19 occasions. Not only a professional American boxer, but Ali was also a social activist and philanthropist; he passionately led several relentless campaigns to create societal change and fix some of the issues prominent in the United States at the time.

I chose to talk about Muhammed Ali because he is not the typical type of leader that may originally spring to mind. He was not a military commander who led his forces heroically into battle. He didn’t lead a football team to victory in a worldwide tournament. He didn’t necessarily have a specific group to which he used successfully to complete a task. Instead, he led people’s minds, their beliefs, attitudes, and their ideas. He wanted to encourage his social message of black pride and black resistance to white domination. It was a powerful attempt to unite colored folk and lead the overall society in a better way which is leadership, just perhaps more abstract.

Muhammed Ali spoke out numerously about racism. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Islamophobia was on a devastating rise; he campaigned and fought his hardest to combat this unjust prejudice. He stood against the Vietnam War passionately and refused induction into the US Army at the very height of the war. To quote Ali, “I’m not going ten thousand miles from home to continue the domination of white people over the darker people of this world”. Exemptions to fighting were available to those qualified, who were opposed to fighting in any form. However, Ali was not suitable; he acknowledged he would be willing to participate in an Islamic Holy War.

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His toughness and courage meant Ali stood by his moral code. He was willing to take punishment from US authorities for refusing military service. It consisted of a ban from boxing by every state athletic commission in the US for three and a half years. He was also stripped of his championship. On top of this, he was criminally charged and faced a five-year prison sentence. His response was astonishing.

“so what?”

This was Ali’s reply to the criminal sentence. At this point, Ali was having a huge impact on American society. His message of black pride and resistance to white domination was on the cutting edge of the civil rights movement.

We can learn much from Muhammed Ali: Perseverance, confidence, and sacrifice are just three things. However, to conclude, here are the four greatest leadership lessons from The Greatest, Muhammed Ali.

  • Be courageous and in character: be fearless in the face of fear
  • Rope-A-Dope innovation: Fiercely go beyond no matter how big and strong a competition may be
  • Be on-purpose through service: Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth
  • Love All: Very self-explanatory

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Muhammad Ali’s Impact on Society: Critical Essay.
(2023, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 13, 2023, from

“Muhammad Ali’s Impact on Society: Critical Essay.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2023,

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