American Civic Life

The Interfaith Legacy of Muhammad Ali: “The Wise Man Changes”

October 28, 2021

In a public conversation hosted by IFYC, filmmaker David McMahon shared a story that didn’t make it into his recent PBS documentary about Muhammad Ali.

It was the mid-1960s, McMahon said, and a law student at the University of Chicago stood helplessly with a group of housing activists, watching police evict a man from his 2nd floor apartment. As the officers piled his furniture at the curb, she sensed someone approaching.

“And there was Muhammad Ali. He took off his jacket and handed it to her,” picked up a table and walked it past the police officers and back inside, McMahon said. “Immediately everybody jumped in and did the same. Within a few minutes, they had restored the apartment. Then he came back to her, as she described it, in a kind of cinematic way and took the jacket from her and disappeared.”

We invite you to watch or listen to this dynamic conversation and use this new Muhammad Ali Reflection Resource to integrate Ali’s story into your courses, programs and conversations.

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