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.

Louisville Businesswoman and Community Activist named UofL Alumni Fellow

The University Libraries is pleased to celebrate long-time community activist and social justice advocate Jessica Loving as an Alumni Fellow for this year’s University of Louisville Alumni Awards.

Loving was named an Alumni Fellow from UofL’s schools and colleges as well as Libraries and Student Affairs along with 13 other graduates. This year is a virtual celebration featuring video interviews with the honorees as they discuss their time at UofL and the impact of their careers.

“I’m so happy that Jessica Loving is the 2020 recipient of the UofL Alumni Award on behalf of the University Libraries,” said Libraries Dean Bob Fox. “She has done so much for Louisville and for Kentucky through her work with community organizations and as a tireless advocate for social justice.”

“We are especially fortunate in the libraries that Jessica shares a vision of transforming one of our spaces in Ekstrom Library into a Jewish Studies Reading Room that would bring our Jewish studies collection into a space shared by scholars in quiet reflective study, as well as providing facilities to host noted lectures and speakers,” Fox added.

Loving is currently a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and the Jewish Community Relations Council. She previously served on the boards of the Louisville Ballet, the National ACLU, and the Center for Women & Families.  She is also a founding member of the Jewish Family & Career Service’s MOSAIC Award Committee.

Jessica Loving received her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the University of Louisville in 1968 and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi and Woodcock honor societies. She has been president of Jessica Loving & Associates, a public relations and marketing consulting business in Louisville, for a number of years.

Loving formerly was vice president of corporate communications at PNC Bank, executive director of the KY Commission on Women, and executive director of the ACLU of KY. Loving’s public relations and marketing clients have included banks, law firms, nonprofit groups, real estate developers, bourbon distillers, unions and a meatpacking plant. She has also provided pro bono campaign planning and management for several local judges.

Loving was a member of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees from 1996 through 2008 and was Board chair from 2001 to 2003. She has also served on the University’s Board of Overseers, College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Committee, and Athletic Advisory Commission.

“I would urge my fellow graduates of the UofL to be mindful of how we can help the university be the sort of place that can nurture young 17- and 18-year olds freshman and give them the kind of education that most of us got and help them make this world a better place,” said Loving. “We have a lot of work to do and the University is the place that nurtures the people that can make a difference.”

Jessica and her husband, Sheryl G. Snyder, a Louisville attorney, have a blended family of five children and seven grandchildren.

“We are so grateful to Jessica for her support of the Libraries, for her support and commitment to UofL, and her passion for social justice,” said Dean Fox.