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The death of Muhammad Ali has left many of us with a void in our hearts.

The 74-year-old passed away Friday at a Phoenix area hospital, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications.

During Monday’s special edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and a select panel of guests reflected on the life and legacy of Ali, “The Greatest of All Time.” 

Rock Newman: Ali Had The Courage & Intestinal Fortitude To Stand Up In A Time Of Jim Crow

Rock Newman, radio talk show host, boxing manager, and political consultant, discussed Muhammad Ali as a revolutionary.

Newman explained during Monday’s special edition of NewsOne Now, “There will be an effort to sanitize him and whitewash him.”

“Let’s not forget what made him great,” Newman said. He continued, Ali was a “Black man that had the courage to, the intestinal fortitude, to stand up in a time of Jim Crow and say to White America, ‘Look, I can love everybody. I love my people, I want to elevate them.’”

Former Louisville Courier Journal Columnist Betty Bayé Reflects On The Life Of Muhammad Ali

Former columnist for the Louisville Courier Journal Betty Bayé joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to share her reflections on Muhammad Ali and discuss Ali’s love for Blacks. 

Bayé told Martin that Ali was there for us and many of us were there for him when he needed us, but a lot of us weren’t because “we just didn’t understand that war protest.”

She continued, “We were still the World War II generation and they had fought in WW II, so they didn’t quite get that dodging the draft, because for them it was a privilege to serve — they wanted to show that we were OK.”

Bayé added people finally began to understand what Ali stood for when he said, “No Vietcong called me the n*gger.” 

Chief Editor Of Essence Magazine Reflects On The Life Of Muhammad Ali, An Iconic Cultural Figure

Essence Magazine’s former chief editor, Susan Taylor, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to share her memories of Muhammad Ali.

Taylor explained Ali’s “powerful stand for justice” was a part of his soul. She said Ali’s strength was never more evident than when he “refused to be drafted into the armed forces.”

During a rally in St. Louis, Ali proclaimed “so boldly and clearly that he wasn’t going to put on a uniform and travel ten thousand miles from home to drop bombs on brown people, while Black people in Louisville were treated like dogs.”

Roland Martin: Muhammad Ali’s Heart, Soul, And Spirit Resides Inside Of Us

Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now, closed today’s tribute to Muhammad Ali with a poignant quote in which the late great Ali said:

“I am America, I am the part you won’t recognize, but get used to me — Black, confident, cocky — my name, not yours. My religion, not yours. My goals, my own — get used to me.”

Martin said, “That was Muhammad Ali, that is what he said to America, but he also had a tremendous heart, a tremendous love for children, a tremendous love for people, but especially for Black people.”

He wrapped his commentary: “The heart and the soul of Muhammad Ali is inside all of us. It will always be with us. If you are a boxer, if you’re an activist, if you are a Muslim, if you are a Christian, if you are Black, White, it doesn’t matter.”

“The heart and the spirit of Muhammad Ali will always be with us.”

Watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


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NewsOne Now Celebrates The Life & Legacy Of Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest Of All Time”  was originally published on