Muhammad Ali (Jan. 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016)
Champion boxer Muhammad Ali, known as “The Greatest of All Time,” died at age 74 of respiratory complications. Ali achieved success as a heavyweight fighter and Olympic gold medalist, but he continues to be a role model for athletes who protest against Black oppression. The activist boxer refused to fight in the Vietnam War on religious grounds but also declared the Viet Cong were not the true enemies of Black people.
Monte Irvin (Feb. 25, 1919 – Jan. 11, 2016)
Known as one of the Negro League’s best players, New York Giants outfielder Monte Irvin, who was on tap to integrate Major League Baseball in the 1940s, died of natural causes at age 96.