UALR Public Radio, The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN), and William F. Laman Library invite the public to a free advance screening of The Trials of Muhammad Ali as part of Community Cinema. The event will take place Tuesday, Mar. 18 at 6:30 p.m. The screening will be held in the Room 126 at the library.
ABOUT THE FILM
The Trials of Muhammad Ali explores the extraordinary and complex life of the legendary athlete outside the boxing ring. From joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, to his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in the name of protesting racial inequality, to his global humanitarian work, Ali remains an inspiring and controversial figure. Outspoken and passionate in his beliefs, Ali found himself in the crosshairs of conflicts concerning race, religion, and wartime dissent. Directed by Academy Award-nominated director Bill Siegel, “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” examines how one of the most celebrated sports champions of the 20th century risked fame and fortune to follow his faith and conscience.
Focusing on some of the most noteworthy, provocative and resonant aspects of the legendary athlete’s life, the film explores Ali’s lifelong journey of spiritual transformation. From his Louisville roots, through his years in exile, to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ali's path was that of poet to pariah to global ambassador for peace.
In 1964, when the 22-year-old Olympic gold medalist won his first heavyweight championship, he shouted, “I shook up the world!” But, his earthshaking had only just begun. Soon he announced he had become a Muslim and a member of the Nation of Islam. Drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, he made his defining expression of resistance: “No, I will not go 10,000 miles to continue the domination of white slave masters over the darker people of the earth.”
Archival scenes highlight the forces that supported and opposed him, including his spiritual mentors, Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, and critics of his stance, such as Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. Most of the interviewees have never been featured in any Ali film before, yet are central to his life story and the global impact he had. Interviews shot exclusively for the film include his brother, Rahman; his former wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali; New York Times writer Robert Lipsyte; and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. What emerges is the hidden history of Muhammad Ali.
ABOUT THE SCREENING
The screening will be held in Room 126 at William F. Laman Public Library, 2801 Orange Street, North Little Rock. A community discussion led by panelists, including Dr. Michael R. Twyman, director of the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity, and Ojima Omar Robinson of the Islamic Center for Human Excellence in Little Rock, will follow the screening. Additional information is available by calling AETN at 800-662-2386 or visiting aetn.org/communitycinema.