Ali: Race & Religion


Join us for a local screening & panel conversation about the new film, Ali, by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, & David McMahon. Explore the interwoven nature of race and religion in Muhammad Ali’s own life, and its impact on sports, society and culture today.


Muhammad Ali brings to life one of the best-known and most indelible figures of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated millions of fans throughout the world with his mesmerizing combination of speed, grace, and power in the ring, and charm and playful boasting outside of it.


  • Michael Butler
    Kenan Distinguished Professor of History at Flagler College in St. Augustine

    Dr. J. Michael Butler is an Associate Professor of History at Flagler College in St. Augustine, where he has taught since August 2008. He received both his Masters and Doctorate in History from the University of Mississippi, where he specialized in 20th century Southern history with an emphasis on the civil rights movement. Dr. Butler has authored Victory After the Fall: The Memories of Civil Rights Activist H. K. Matthews, published essays in the Journal of Southern History, the Florida Historical Quarterly, Southern Cultures, Popular Music and Society, and the Journal of Mississippi History, and written over 40 book reviews and encyclopedia entries for various academic journals. His latest manuscript is titled Beyond Integration: The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-2000 and will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in Spring 2016.Dr. Butler was the faculty advisor for the “St. Augustine Civil Rights Library” online database and located the speech that Jackie Robinson delivered at St. Paul AME Church in the SCLC Archives at Emory University.


  • Parvez Ahmed
    Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Coggin College of Business

    Parvez Ahmed is Professor of Finance and Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida (UNF). In 2009 he was named a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. His research work has appeared in several major academic journals. In addition, he coauthored a book titled, “Mutual Funds – Fifty Years of Research Findings.” He also writes editorials about Islam and the American Muslim experience. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Museum of Science and History and on the board of the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville. From 2010 to 2016 he served on Jacksonville’s Human Rights Commission. In 2010, Folio Weekly named him “Person of the Year.” In 2014, he was awarded the Silver Medallion Humanitarian Award by OneJax. In 2015, he was named Arthur Vining Davis Fellow to the Aspen Ideas Festival. In 2016, he was awarded the Desmond Tutu Peace and Reconciliation Award from UNF. He is also the 2018 graduate of Leadership Jacksonville


  • Ishmael Reed
    Distinguished Professor, College of the Arts

    Ishmael Reed is the author of novels, plays, poetry, and non-fiction. He has been recognized for his work with a John D. MacArthur “Genuis” Award and the 2020 University of California at Berkeley’s Distinguished Emeritus Awardee. Reed is one of a handful of authors nominated for two National Book Awards in the same year, received the Otto and AUDELCO awards for theatre, and was featured in The Best American Poetry 2019. He is the author of The Complete Muhammed Ali, which includes material and photographs not seen in most of the 100 other books about the champion. Ishmael Reed’sThe Complete Muhammad Ali is more than just a biography—it is a fascinating portrait of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. An honest, balanced portrayal of Ali, the book includes voices that have been omitted from other books. His online literary magazine, Konch, can be found at; his author’s website at

Presented by:


Corporate funding for MUHAMMAD ALI was provided by Bank of America. Major funding was provided by David M. Rubenstein. Major funding was also provided by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by The Better Angels Society and by its members Alan and Marcia Docter; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Tudor Jones; The Fullerton Family Charitable Fund; Gilchrist and Amy Berg; The Brooke Brown Barzun Philanthropic Foundation, The Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation and The Augusta Brown Holland Philanthropic Foundation; Perry and Donna Golkin; John and Leslie McQuown; John and Catherine Debs; Fred and Donna Seigel; Susan and John Wieland; Stuart and Joanna Brown; Diane and Hal Brierley; Fiddlehead Fund; Rocco and Debby Landesman; McCloskey Family Charitable Trust; Mauree Jane and Mark Perry; and Donna and Richard Strong. And by viewers like you.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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