Essa y .................... The Resurrection Atlanta, Racial Politics, and the Return of Muhammad Ali by John Matthew Smith “Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.” —William Cullen Bryant, “The Battle Field” (1839) Muhammad Ali’s return to boxing marked a turning point in Atlanta history, symbolizing the culmination of civil rights activism, the destruction of old barriers, and the triumph of black political power. Looking back, Julian Bond observed, “It was more than a fight, and it was an important moment for Atlanta, because that night, Atlanta came into its own as the black political capital of America.” Boxing champion Muhammad Ali posing in front of the Alvin Theater, October 1968, by Bob Gomel, The LIFE Picture Collection, Getty Images. 5 he wait was over. On October 25, 1970, on the eve of Muhammad Ali’s first pro- fessional boxing match in for thre ty- e months, African Ameri- cans o fl oded the streets of Atlanta, anxiously anticipating what T Ali called his “day of judgment.” They came from all ove -r: Bir mingham, Chicago, Detroit, Harlem, Miami, and Philadelphia. Peachtree Street had never been more colorful. Rows of chrome covered cars, gold limos, and purple Cadillacs lined the road.
Southern Cultures – University of North Carolina Press
Published: May 30, 2015
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