Every time I return on a visit to States in the South I am reminded over and over about the historically unique role they have played in the development of our country.The impact of Slavery and its ideology of white supremacy on subsequent generational descendants of slave owners and slaves is beyond the scope of this blog.
Persons interested in a more extensive discussion of these issues can visit the University of San Francisco's website. There they will see a reference to the course I created and teach , "FROM SLAVERY TO OBAMA-Renewing The Promise of Reconstruction."
I am now in Louisville, KY to attend and participate in the funeral celebration of Muhammad Ali, it's hometown world hero. Prior to arriving here this morning I had been in Charlotte and Durham, NC. All of these cities and their residents are reflective of the "new South" and their collective efforts to build and develop their cultural, business, educational, political institutions to enable them to play a unique role in reshaping their future within our United States during the 21st Century.
Louisville's commemoration of Muhammad Ali is window into this new South.
This is not to say or suggest that the legacies of slavery and white supremacy no longer persist in Louisville. As my course referenced above indicates, these legacies continue within all States
But, this is not what most residents and visitors are most concerned about today. Louisville has summoned them and those from around the world and throughout the United States to join with it in saying "farewell" to its favorite son.
Last week following Ali's death I wrote a blog in this space captioned "MUHAMMAD ALI- A Transcendental Treasure, A Universal Hero".
Among other things I wrote:
"I am writing my autobiographical memoirs, A PENCIL AND A DOLLAR BILL. One chapter describes my work and experiences with the promoter John Daly and his Hemdale Corp in London, in 1974 in connection with financing the production, and satellite television distribution of Ali's heavyweight championship bout with George Foreman, October 30, 1974, from Kinshasa, Zaire (now The Democratic Republic of the Congo). This bout was a high point in Ali's boxing career after the US Supreme Court unanimously restored his license to fight again, after three years during which he was banned from boxing."
"Muhammad Ali was more than just a boxing champion. He was man for all seasons, poignantly remembered as he lit the flame on July 19th, 1996 for the Summer the Olympic Games showing the evident impact and progress of his Parkinson's disease".
The program tomorrow commemorating Muhammad Ali list several celebrities. Readers interested can go online and see who they are.
The person who best exemplifies, and who can speak with the most current authenticity about, "The Rumble in The Jungle", the heavyweight boxing championship in October 1974, is the legendary boxing promoter Don King. He is one of the few persons who can speak and describe first hand, as "a living witness", the trajectory of Muhammad Ali's role, not only as a world heavyweight boxer, but one of the overarching heroes of the 20th and 21st Centuries.
I was pleased to see several national and international news organizations interview Don King earlier today. Presumably, they will turn to him for his personal opinion about tomorrow's ceremonies and further recollections of his earlier years as Muhammad Ali boxing promoter
Don King speaks in the tradition of the African proverb which says that "If surviving Lions don't tell their stories, the hunters will get all of the credit."
We are blessed that this Lion is still with us to tell his stories.