Muhammad Ali will receive Philadelphia's prestigious Liberty Medal this year.
The honor was just announced by the National Constitution Center.
Ali has long served as an icon of constitutional ideals and the realization of the American dream – all the while challenging and expanding the very definition of “We the People.” The Olympic gold medalist and boxing legend has been an outspoken fighter for religious and civil rights; a conscientious objector who took his battle to the Supreme Court and won; an ambassador for peace and justice worldwide; and a tireless humanitarian and philanthropist. Even as he celebrated his 70th birthday this year, Ali has continued to break new ground as an advocate for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a disease he has battled since 1982.
"Muhammad Ali symbolizes all that makes America great, while pushing us as a people and as a nation to be better,’” said National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner. “Each big fight of his life has inspired a new chapter of civic action. We look forward to welcoming him back to the Center, particularly during this momentous 225th anniversary year."
In 1960, when Ali brought home the Gold Medal from the Rome Olympics, he was just out of high school and known as Cassius Clay.
He went on to become a three-time Heavyweight World Champion.
Ali will receive the medal in a public ceremony on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the NCC.
The Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the United States Constitution. It’s given out once a year to honor men and women who strive to secure global liberty.
Some past recipients includeSteven Spielberg, Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair, Bill Gates and Bono. An astonishing six recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.