The seven days between the passing of Muhammad Ali and his funeral were a week as unforgettable as The Champ himself. “Our job was to set a tone of dignity, respect and honor from the beginning,” Mayor Fischer said, “and give this native son of our city the send-off he deserved.”
From the June 4 memorial ceremony in front of Metro Hall to the celebration of Ali’s life at the KFC Yum! Cen- ter on June 10, Louisville welcomed the world and honored Ali’s legacy as a boxing champion, civil rights icon, interfaith pioneer and global humanitarian.
“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown," Mayor Fischer said.
Learn more about Muhammad Ali's life in Louisville and the 2016 celebration of his life at alislouisville.com
Memorial Ceremony: The LMPD Color Guard lowered flags to half-staff, as Mayor Fischer thanked Ali “for everything you’ve given to your hometown, your country, and the world,” in a speech broadcast by networks around the globe.
I Am Ali Festival: More than 15,000 attended this mid-week family- friendly festival celebrating The Champ’s love for kids with butterflies, magicians, food, music and art.
The Greatest Ride: Bicyclists rode by local Ali landmarks, including his boyhood home on Grand Avenue, the Ali Center downtown and the gym on Fourth Street where 12-year-old Cassius Clay’s red bike was stolen, leading him to meet Louisville police officer and boxing trainer, Joe Martin.
Public Prayer: More than 14,000 people gathered to honor Ali, who converted to Islam in 1964, for a 30-minute Jenazah, an Islamic prayer service held in Freedom Hall.
“Ali” Screening: Ali fans came to Iroquois Amphitheater for a free showing of the 2001 biopic“Ali,” starring Will Smith, who also served as one of The Champ’s pallbearers.
Memorial Procession: More than 100,000 people lined Louisville’s streets, tossing flowers as a hearse led the procession on a 23-mile route through the city.
Memorial: This interfaith event, broadcast globally, featured speakers from near and far, including The Champ’s widow, Lonnie Ali, the Rev. Kevin Cosby of St. Stephen Church, and longtime family friends John Ramsey, Billy Crystal and former President Bill Clinton.