Muhammad Ali is returning to his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, for the presentation of the first-ever Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards.
The awards will recognize those who have made significant contributions to peace, social justice, and other humanitarian efforts. Six awards will be presented to honorees under the age of 35 who have exemplified the principles of confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. The winners have not been announced, but will come from different places around the world.
There will also be presentations for a Humanitarian of the Year Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Kentucky Humanitarian of the Year Award. The awards will be presented on October 3 at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville. The awards ceremony is part of a three-day celebration at the Muhammad Ali Center.
On October 2, the Center will host the US premiere of HBO Films’ Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, which details his Supreme Court battle. On October 4, the Center will host the premiere of Bill Siegel’s The Trials of Muhammad Ali.
“Of course he is proud of his accomplishments in the ring, but Muhammad’s proudest moments are those where he is able to touch the lives of others in positive and sometimes profound ways,” Ali’s wife, Lonnie, said in a statement. “Muhammad is a living example of how one person can inspire and improve the lives of others.”
In 1966, two years after joining the Nation of Islam, Ali — who was still going by his birth name, Cassius Clay — refused to be drafted into the United States Army to fight in the Vietnam War.
“War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. I’m not trying to dodge the draft,” Ali said. “We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.” He also said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Congs” and said that he would not go “10,000 miles to help murder, kill, and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over.”
A year later, Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title and his boxing license was suspended. On June 20, 1967, Ali was found guilty of refusing induction. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction by unanimous decision four years later on June 28, 1971. Ali regained his heavyweight title in 1974 after defeating George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle.”