Thank you, Muhammad Ali

In harsh places around the formerly colonial Third World, where poverty born of foreign exploitation left many millions living wretched lives in unrelenting misery, a reason to believe in better tomorrows inspiringly arose during the first decades of the second half of the 20th Century.

Word spread of a champion from across the sea who, like them, didn’t possess a European skin shade.  That champion took on and defeated all comers, doing so while extending solidarity to this planet’s hewers of wood, drawers of water, and the sweatshop workers who toiled for the smallest imaginable remuneration each tiring day.

He defied the rules of the masters of war and empire, transferring his personal greatness into an enveloping sense of worth and positive possibility that fell invisibly but powerfully upon stooped shoulders in Asia, Africa, Latin America…as well as within the ghettos, barrios and reservations of the USA.

As a result, multitudes who’d been conditioned for centuries to feel inferior and incapable of great things started standing up straight.  They set their sights on a brighter future, and began marching ahead, together in unity.

Thank you, Muhammad Ali, for knocking out racist obstacles along the road to justice.

Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the '60s. Read other articles by Dennis.