The Kentucky Historical Marker Program has announced plans to recognize the boyhood home of boxing great Muhammad Ali.

The house at 3302 Grand Avenue was a part of the then-segregated West End in Louisville, Ky. which was home to many Black middle-class families.

“This is a day I never thought I’d see,” said Muhammad Ali’s brother, Rahaman Ali, to local news WHAS 11.

“So many memories. Happy memories. No sad memories. Muhammad would sit on the steps and talk about the future,” he said.

What generally happens is a group or even an individual will have an interest in preserving the memory of a person or a particular place or time in history,” said Lisa Summers Cleveland, a spokeswoman for the Historical Marker Program, a division of the Kentucky Historical Society.

“We don’t actually decide ‘We’re going to put a marker here.’ It’s more of a local grassroots effort that grows and then they apply to get a marker. It’s a great way for a community to recognize something or someone significant in their history.”

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in Louisville General Hospital to Clay to Odessa and Cassius Clay Sr. in 1942, he adopted a Muslim name in 1964. He was heavyweight boxing champion three times.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in Louisville General Hospital Jan. 17, 1942 to Odessa and Cassius Clay Sr., he redefined boxing and how the world regarded Black athletes. An Olympic champion in 1960, he went on to develop a stellar pro boxing career that was cut short when he refused induction in the U.S. Army, citing his beliefs as a Muslim and as a conscientous objector to the U.S. war in Vietnam.

His court challenge of the suspension of his boxing license was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. After the court ruled in his favor, he resumed a boxing career that wound up with him becoming the first man to achieve the heavyweight boxing championship three times by beating the title holders.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer