Constitution Daily

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Ali to join elite company with Liberty Medal

September 13, 2012 by NCC Staff


The legendary Muhammad Ali will join an elite list of humanitarians and leaders when he receives the Liberty Medal on Thursday in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center.

The Liberty Medal honors individuals and organizations who boldly carry forward the ideals and values upon which the United States was founded.

This year’s Liberty Medal Ceremony will serve as the centerpiece of the nationwide celebration of the U.S. Constitution’s 225th Anniversary. The public event will take place on Thursday, September 13, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the National Constitution Center in Historic Philadelphia. The event will be broadcast live locally on WPVI-TV/6abc and webcast live on

Ali is a champion of freedom who embodies everything the award was established to honor: individuals of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. He has long served as an icon of the American dream—while challenging and expanding the very definition of "We the People."

The 2012 Liberty Medal ceremony will mark Ali’s return to the National Constitution Center. At a special Flag Day ceremony on June 14, 2003--just before the Center’s official opening--he was the first to raise the American flag that hangs in the Grand Hall Overlook and had previously flown over every state and territory capitol.

Lech Walesa was awarded the first Liberty Medal in 1989. Its recipients have been a "who’s who" of leaders and humanitarians.

“Liberty is not only a right, but also our common responsibility and duty,” Walesa said in his acceptance speech.

See List of Past Recipients

Past recipients include three American presidents (Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton), world leaders (Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Kofi Annan), two Supreme Court justices (Sandra Day O’Connor and Thurgood Marshall) and icons like Nelson Mandela and Vaclav Havel.

Last year, Robert Gates was awarded the medal at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia.

Established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, the Liberty Medal is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. The medal was first administered by the National Constitution Center in 2006.

Six recipients of the medal have subsequently won the Nobel Peace Prize.

More Liberty Medal Coverage

Muhammad Ali conquered fears to win first big title Ali to join elite company with Liberty Medal How Ali inspired today’s athletes to become leaders

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