Reflection on Mr. Muhammad Ali: The Greatest
Anthony "Amali" Williams has lived in the South Side his entire life and learned to play the drums at the Community Folk Art Center when it was located on South Salina Street. | File Photo

Reflection on Mr. Muhammad Ali: The Greatest

I shook his hand, he shook my heart

As a young man, I loved sports: football, basketball, track, wrestling …

I learned to respect athletic accomplishment, stature, intellect, social consciousness. I witnessed the amazing growth in fame of Muhammed Ali who became the most recognizable man on the planet, who also grew in his personal/spiritual beliefs and who stood steadfast in his convictions, who decided it was his right to stand against induction into the armed forces as a conscientious objector.

I attended Oswego State University (’70-’71) when Ali came to speak. I was honored to meet this icon, this great man, this strong brother, and he shook my hand and spoke very softly; made me feel so small in stature as he was a large man, yet his message still rings loud … be courageous, conscious and create a path for your life built upon what guides your heart.

In honor of Black History Month, I want to share how I marvel at his life, his accomplishments. Since his passing, I shed a tear that fell like a libation on the ground and I envisioned his smile and his demeanor.

Remembrance of Ali now brings a smile, and I’ll never forget — somehow he is still shaking my hand and my heart.

— Reflection submitted by Anthony “Amali” Williams