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"I don't deny him his rights. By the same token, I have mine": Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier and the Black Press Challenge the Muhammad Ali Mystique

Daniel Lawrence Sanders Taradash



When Muhammad Ali died on June 3, 2016, an already legendary status was subjected to a massive infusion of memories, some authentic, some embellished, and others most likely out and out fantasy.  In the midst of a funeral, the town of Louisville, Kentucky was overcome with a cherished memory of man who was easily and readily described as a rebel, legend, mentor and friend.  Granted the status of American hero, the Ali legend was further emblazoned in our collective consciences with a permanence that is never granted to those heroes still living. Yet what has been lost in this collective grieving and lionizing were the those voices and personalities who with a courage all their own, challenged the notion of Ali as infallible. And in so doing, ensured that their places in history would be marginalized at best, forgotten at least.

This research will seek to examine the voices of Muhammad Ali contemporaries Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier, and journalist A.S. "Doc" Young throughout the Civil Rights movement.  Their opinions, political leanings, faith, and identity as presented in their own words offers a multitude of different perspectives and identities than those offered by Muhammad Ali, his allies, and apologists.  While the recollections of these other men and their contemporaries are less than complimentary, they help to craft a new identity of the Civil Rights athlete and activist, and prove that Black activism, identity, and agitation where not always indicative of Black unity. 

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