Muhammad Ali Oral History Project

Oral history refers both to a method of precisely recording and preserving oral testimony, and to the product of the process.  The Muhammad Ali Oral History Project is an ongoing initiative created to utilize the practice of oral history to document the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali.

The interviews will be divided into two sections, as mentioned above, his life and his legacy. The first section, Life, will include individuals who had a direct relationship with Ali. This includes, but is not limited to, family members, his boxing entourage, childhood friends, and so on. This section is also subdivided in order to better organize and keep track of the individuals and the nature of their relationship with Ali. Subcategories are Life A(Before Professional Boxing: 1942-1960), Life B(During Professional Boxing Career: 1960-1984), and Life C (After Professional Boxing: 1984-Present). Each subcategory is bookended by a significant amount of time in Ali’s life.

Legacy, the second portion of the Muhammad Ali Oral History Project, refers to those individuals who may have been affected or influenced by Ali, who have a story about meeting him, but who did not have a direct, personal, or long-standing relationship with him.

Now more than ever, the importance of capturing who Muhammad Ali was as a son, brother, father, friend, husband, humanitarian, and boxer, are increasingly vital. Documenting, by every means available, his history and his story is necessary to the continuation of his legacy. It is through documentation, and through preservation, that future generations will become acquainted with Muhammad Ali, and start to know him as more than just a father, or just a boxer, or just a humanitarian. Rather, they will learn to understand that he was a man to whom all of those roles were important, and to whom they each applied.

The project is overseen by the Muhammad Ali Center’s Manager of Collections, Casey Harden, with the Collections Associate, Bess McHone.

For questions or to suggest an interviewee, contact Bess McHone at bmchone@alicenter.org

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