Dan Rodricks: Vanished faces of a West Virginia boom town

Joe Frazier

For me, Muhammad Ali represented childhood's end

For me, Muhammad Ali represented childhood's end

We were children then, Southern California kids who didn’t really know anything about civil rights or the uncivil world that existed for African-Americans in our country. Cassius Clay, who would become Muhammad Ali, would educate us as we rooted for him to lose fight after fight.

Who could possibly root against the greatest of all time? Well, the answer would eventually be nobody, but not then. That was before it was cool to talk trash during a sporting event. That was before we realized that the Vietnam War was an American tragedy and not the inevitable triumph that would prove again our exceptionalism at a time when our treatment of millions of our fellow citizens was disproving...