Muhammad Ali Day Being Celebrated in Illinois for First Time

Today the world celebrates two Black American Icons, Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Day falls on what would have been Muhammad Ali’s 80th Birthday. In June, Illinois Senators passed Muhammad Ali Day, honoring the boxer and activist every year on January 17th in accordance with MLK Day.

Ali lived on the South Side of Chicago from mid-1960 through the late 1970s where he married and became involved in the Civil Rights movement and the Nation of Islam.

According to ABC Chicago, “a virtual and in-person conversation will be held discussing Muhammad Ali and Dr. King’s models of hope, courage and conviction through extreme challenges. Reverend Jesse Jackson will deliver the opening remarks and Ali’s daughter Maryum is a special guest.”

“When I think about what’s going on in the country right now, what comes to mind the most are conversations that we would have about why he took the stands that he took, why he demanded his human and constitutional rights to choose the religion of his choice. Why he confronted various forms of discrimination, oppression and violence against African Americans and other non-ruling people of color, and why he so publicly and proudly had self-love, showed self-love and pride as an African American and a Muslim,” said Maryum Ali.

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