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LWC students take Louisville Intercultural Tour
By Professor Dan Koger
Thirty-six students at Lindsey Wilson College, more than half of them part of the school's International Student Program, got a crash course in American and Ethiopian culture on a recent visit to Louisville.
The students, members of LWC's Intercultural Communication and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, began their "multi-culture" tour with a visit to the Muhammad Ali Center, where they experienced interactive exhibits detailing the athletic and humanitarian achievements of heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, a Louisville native.
At the Center they learned, for example, that Ali's boxing career began at the age of 12 with the theft of his prized red Schwinn bicycle from the front of a Louisville auditorium, what the Center calls the "Red Bike Moment." Young Ali, then named Cassius Clay, tears in his eyes, told a policeman at the auditorium that he wanted to "whup" the bike thief. The officer, Sergeant Joe Martin, a boxing coach on his off-duty time, suggested the angry young man learn to fight before tracking down the law breaker. Sgt. Martin offered to teach young Cassius, and the rest is history.
Also at the Center, the Lindsey visitors learned that Cassius Clay was so admired by the Romans after he won the heavyweight boxing gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics that they invited him to make his home in their ancient city. Cassius declined, saying that Louisville was his home and he wanted to stay there.
His home town welcomed the returning gold-medalist with a parade and a barrage of speeches. Soon after, however, the fighter was denied service in many of Louisville's restaurants because of segregationist "Jim Crow" laws, a painful turn of events that was one of many contributing factors in Clay's decision become a Muslim, change his name to Muhammad Ali, and become an activist for international social justice.
From the Ali Center, the students traveled to Louisville's Queen of Sheba restaurant, where they used their fingers and strips of spongy flat bread to scoop up mouthfuls of exotic foods native to the ancient North African nation of Ethiopia,
A student from Germany declared Louisville culture tour "Mega," a student term for "super good."
"The Ali Center was lively," said Chiara Epifani. "The exhibits were lively and interactive, some with accompanying videos. It made you want more. The Ethiopian food was Mega too."
This story was posted on 2017-11-02 23:17:58
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