Anonymous artist, Untitled, 1975, Private Collection.

Anonymous artist, Untitled, 1975, Private Collection.


“I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.”

-Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali is one of the most recognizable people in the world, a famous athlete and humanitarian, a champion and a leader. Thousands of people have been influenced and inspired by Ali, and many people have stories and memories about how Ali transformed their lives.

One local Bucks County resident and member of the Michener Art Museum was touched by Ali back in the 1970s and has shared a very special photograph featuring the famous icon himself. This photograph is featured in the Ali and Elvis: American Icons exhibition on view until May 15, 2011.  This photograph shows two young boys, ages 9 and 11, interacting with Ali at his training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania back in 1975. Ali trained at this camp from 1972 to the end of his career in 1981.

When you are in the exhibition, take a look at this photograph. In the image, Ali is throwing a punch at the boy on the left as he looks up in admiration at the famous athlete. This photograph shows Ali relaxed and playful, clearly impressing this young man. In looking at the photo, ask yourself: What could Ali be talking about? How does this boy feel? What other details do you notice about this photograph?

Ali’s training camp in Deer Lake, PA is about an hour and a half outside of Philadelphia. Thousands of people came to this camp including famous celebrities, athletes, and even Elvis Presley. Many people, including children and families, visited the camp so that they could catch a glimpse of “The Greatest” practicing and training. Believing strongly in community, Ali generously made time for young people who visited him at this camp, a practice that he continues to this day. “Do what’s inside your heart,” he says to the people who love him, “and never give up on your dreams.”

Just as he has touched people in our community, Ali has influenced several generations of people around the globe. How has the life and career of Ali inspired you? Share your stories with us and other museum visitors by contributing your comments below.

More information on the exhibition, Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon, can be found here.