Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life: A Celebration in Virtual and Onsite Exhibits, Opens January 25

On January 25, 2021, UofL’s Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice and the University Libraries will commemorate Muhammad Ali’s social justice legacy with a series of virtual and onsite exhibits titled Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life

Image of Muhammad Ali. Charles Harrity, AP
Charles Harrity/AP

The exhibits honor Muhammad Ali’s connections to Louisville, his unique contributions to civil rights and social justice movements, and his inspiring global legacy. Transcendent Life will engage the UofL campus and community and show how Ali’s legacy as a global humanitarian and champion for social justice impacts peace and justice advocacy today. 

The multimedia exhibits will begin a phased opening on January 25, the week after his 79th birthday on January 17. The first exhibit showcases Ali as a Humanitarian and Peace Advocate. In February, a virtual exhibit will honor his civil rights record. Subsequent exhibits emphasize his boxing and athletic background and his involvement with Islam.

Multimedia exhibits launching January 25 include a display in Ekstrom Library of a rare book of Ali photos , while a virtual exhibit features a story map of public art and monuments titled “Muhammad Ali: An Extraordinary Life in Louisville and Beyond.”   

Photo of Muhammad Ali addressing a gathering at a Black Muslim convention in Chicago on Feb. 25, 1968. (AP)
Muhammad Ali addresses a gathering at a Black Muslim convention in Chicago on Feb. 25, 1968. (AP)

To include all voices in the celebration, exhibit organizers invite University and Louisville community members to record and upload video/audio memories or thoughts for a tribute titled “Standing Up For Peace.”  Contributors may share uploads to this video tribute and archive through June 2021 via: louisville.libwizard.com/f/ali-stand-up-for-peace.

Color photo of Muhammad Ali, by Eric Feferberg/AFP via Getty Images
Eric Feferberg/AFP via Getty Images

A symposium titled “Standing Up For Peace – Celebrating Muhammad Ali’s Social Justice Legacy” is planned for Spring 2022, Ali’s 80th birth year. The symposium’s focus will be national and global racial justice and human rights issues, featuring nationally recognized speakers, UofL student contributions, and excerpts from the video archive. A series of break-out sessions will bring together community organizers and justice advocates to design action agendas to stand up for peace in their communities.  

The Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life commemoration will include:

  • An exhibit in Ekstrom Library of rare archival resources on Muhammad Ali including the massive volume Greatest of All Time: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali with additional photographs by Howard L. Bingham and Lin Caufield. The Archives and Special Collections exhibit will be held in the first floor cases of the west wing of Ekstrom Library, across from the circulation desk through February 26.  
  • A Digital Storymap titled “Muhammad Ali: An Extraordinary Life in Louisville and Beyond”  featuring public art and monuments to Muhammad Ali in Louisville:  storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/a28b07b8238847de994dd6165877a1b6. This is a collaboration between University of Louisville, the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice, the Bridwell Art Library, and the Center for Geographic Information Sciences.  
  • UofL’s Music Library display will feature original music and other recordings by and about Muhammad Ali.  He was an eclectic artist who acted on Broadway and released several recordings.
    • Did you know that the song “The Greatest Love of All” sung by Whitney Houston is about Muhammad Ali? The 1977 version was performed by George Benson as the theme song of the The Greatest, a film about Muhammad Ali.
  • The Bridwell Art Library will display books highlighting artists who photographed or depicted Muhammad Ali in their work.
  • The Kornhauser Health Sciences Library will feature innovations in Parkinson’s Disease treatments as well as Muhammad Ali’s contributions to advance this research.
  • A Research Guide will feature several Digital Timelines of Muhammad Ali’s life focused on: his Boxing Excellence; his Spirituality and Islamic Faith; his work as a Humanitarian and Peace Advocate; and his actions as a Social Justice and Civil Rights Icon. The timelines connect Muhammad Ali’s life with key moments in global and U.S. history. The Research Guide will feature additional resources from University Libraries and the Muhammad Ali Institute. https://library.louisville.edu/ali  
  • The Standing Up For Peace Community Engagement Video Series will ask our community to share their thoughts about this question: “What can we learn from Muhammad Ali about standing up for peace today?” This audio/video collection of community contributions will be available to the public. Upload here: louisville.libwizard.com/f/ali-stand-up-for-peace
  • Spring 2022 – SYMPOSIUM – “Celebrating Muhammad Ali’s Social Justice Legacy – Standing Up For Peace.” This symposium/conference will focus on how Muhammad Ali can inspire the world to stand up for peace today on national and international racial justice and human rights issues.  We are seeking funding and will collaborate with other UofL offices and academic units, student groups, and community groups.
  • Related Scholarship: Fannie Cox and Enid Trucios-Haynes will submit a proposal to present this collaboration and its outcomes at a national library conference.

One Comment on “Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life: A Celebration in Virtual and Onsite Exhibits, Opens January 25”

  1. […] Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life: A Celebration in Virtual and Onsite Exhibits, Opens January 25 (University of Louisville Libraries) […]


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