Muhammad Ali: The Chicago Years

Muhammad Ali: The Chicago Years

WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.

Mourners gather in Louisville Friday for the funeral of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. That city was his hometown, but he also had deep ties to Chicago.

After he refused to fight in the Vietnam War, he stepped out of the ring for some time and focused on his commitment to the Nation of Islam. This period brought him to Chicago, where he grew stronger in his faith and eased into life on the South Side. 

In These Times editor and WVON host Salim Muwakkil met Ali a few years after Ali lived here. He joins us to explain how Chicago shaped Ali. We also talk with filmmaker Bill Siegel about his award-winning documentary The Trials of Muhammad Ali. The film captures Ali’s life as he’s trying to make his name as more than a boxer, but as an important part of the Muslim faith and a fighter for civil rights. 

We also open the phones for listeners who remember Ali’s days in Chicago.