Muhammad Ali, being a legend and a universal figure loved by everyone, is still being showered with honors three years after his death
Philadelphia has just renamed Philly’s 52nd Street after the late boxer, according to The Philadelphia Tribune.
“I just think he was more than a sports icon,” said Faruq Abdul Ghaffar, executive director of 400 Years Coalition, which is planning programs in the Philadelphia area to recognize the arrival and influence of Africans in America since 1619.
“He was universal to the people. He was loved by everyone. He represented his people in a way that was a positive thing around the world,” Abdul Ghaffar said.
“He represented Philadelphia. He lived here. He was a part of the culture. He represented that well. He had the camp up at Deer Lake [Pennsylvania]. So he was in Philadelphia a number of times. He would come down and be on 52nd Street. He used to ride down and talk to the people.”
Muhammad Ali was a legend as a boxer, philanthropist and social activist.
The City of Philadelphia and the 400 Years Coalition will posthumously recognize the late heavyweight boxing champion Saturday with a ceremony to rename 52nd Street as Muhammad Ali Way.
The event will take place at Malcolm X Park, 52nd and Pine Street, at 3 p.m. on Saturday as part of the Juneteenth Celebration.
“I have to thank City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell for getting the resolution done,” Abdul Ghaffar said.
“She was a big part of that. They’re going to have a float in the parade. His daughter, Khaliah Ali, will be there. They’re going to have several signs from Parkside Avenue all the way down to Baltimore Avenue. The main thing [is that] he was more than just a boxer.”
Named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr after his father, the sporting champion, who died aged 74, reverted to Islam in 1964 and changed his name to Mohammad Ali, dubbing his former alias, Cassius Clay, “my slave name”.
Ali became an icon for not only his achievements in the ring but his political beliefs, particularly his stand against fighting for the United States in the Vietnam war.
The decision cost him his boxing license for almost four years, but seal his legacy as a man of the people, with the musical set to spread his story yet further.