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Muhammad Ali Center’s “Stories of Ali: Ali’s West End” Lecture Highlights Ali’s Louisville Roots

June 2nd program part of the “I Am Ali” Festival
Interviewees include three of Ali’s childhood peers

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (May 29, 2018) — The Muhammad Ali Center’s next “Stories of Ali” lecture program, “Ali’s West End,” will feature contemporaries of Ali, his neighbors and schoolmates, who will share their memories of Ali and will paint a picture of what it was like to grow up in the West End of Louisville, Kentucky during the mid-twentieth century. The free program will be on Saturday, June 2nd from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Ali Center.

“Stories of Ali,” a brand new lecture program of the Muhammad Ali Center will bring its Oral History Project to life through a series of live recorded programs.  Each event will focus on a specific topic of Muhammad’s life, featuring two or three persons knowledgeable about the Muhammad Ali-specific theme to participate in a public oral history forum facilitated by the Center’s Collections Department.

The three “Stories of Ali: Ali’s West End” interviewees are:

Mr. Rudolph Davidson grew up in Louisville’s West End and has remained building a prolific career and life. During his 37 year career he served Louisville Government in many leadership positions including, but not limited to, Executive Director of the City and County Community Action Agency, Director of the Louisville Sanitation Department, and Cabinet Secretary of Public Works and Services. He is currently a member of the Metro Government Waste Management District board and a member of the Shawnee Christian Health Center Board of Directors.

Mr. Robert (Bob) Coleman grew up a few streets away from Muhammad Ali and the Clays. For years, Bob owned and operated J-Town Paper Company, supplying office products to a variety of large and small companies. Bob served as a member of the Board of Directors for the following organizations: the Louisville and Jefferson County Human Rights Commission, O.I.C of America, and Stop Dope Now. He has also been a volunteer at the Muhammad Ali Center for several years. He is involved with several departments, acting as tour guide, a special events representative, and an assistant to our Muhammad Ali Oral History Project.

Dr. Henry Cobbs was born in Montgomery, Alabama, but was raised in Louisville from Kindergarten through twelfth grade, a few blocks from the Clays. Dr. Cobbs was a friend of Ali’s and remembers growing up with him and calling him GG. After high school, Dr. Cobbs briefly pursued a career in music entertainment, but ultimately joined the United States Air Force and earned several degrees from the likes of the University of Nebraska, University of Southern California, Troy University,  and Auburn University where he earned his terminal (doctorate) degree, and became a professor. He is now Dean of Academics at Air Force Special operations School.

“Stories of Ali: Ali’s West End” is part of the citywide, second annual “I Am Ali” Festival June 1-10, 2018. Currently, there are more than 50 events from 30+ different community organizations over the 10 day festival. Events will be added up to the online events calendar through June 10th. A complete list of events with more details and information is available at

The Muhammad Ali Center’s Oral History Project is an ongoing initiative created to utilize the practice of oral history to document the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali. More information about the Project is available here.