A collection of rare photographs of Muhammad Ali is coming to a Longview gallery this month, displaying some never before seen images of the former heavy weight champ.
Mention his name, and everyone knows who you're talking about. "My biggest memory of Muhammed Ali is, 'He floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee'," said Longview resident James Brown.
Photographer Sonia Katchian's collection is coming to Longview, and it shows the Muhammad Ali she says many haven't seen. "Well, I wanted to try to get the attention of East Texas with having some pictures of something they would relate to like Muhammed Ali. Everyone knows who he is. You definitely will see thing you never seen before," said the owner of the gallery where the photo's will be shown, Tammy Cromer-Campbell.
Katchian captured images from the 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle", pitting Ali against George Foreman, and the 1975 "Thrilla in Manilla," one of his three fights against Joe Frazier. Her images were even used in the recent motion picture about his life.
For those who saw Muhammed Ali fight in the 60s and 70s, his ring battles have become American sports legend, but it's what he did outside the ring that has inspired many more. He became a equal rights and peace activist, and the inspiration of a generation. "He encouraged me to go pro so I went pro, so I boxed for about three and a half years," said former boxer Lee Coffer.
He proclaimed himself "the greatest", and he went out and proved it. And for many he's one of the last American heroes.
Katchian hopes the showing will inspire a new generation of Ali fans. The "Ali Folio Exhibit" will take place at Cromer-Campbell Gallery. The address is 207 Center Street. It will be held daily from September 16th through October 31st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.