Lexington attorney Charles Grundy thinks Fayette County’s new high school should be named for the late Muhammad Ali, the Louisville native and iconic champion boxer and humanitarian.
Grundy told the Herald-Leader he wanted the public to weigh in on his idea.
A panel reviewing potential names will give their recommendation to the Fayette County Public Schools board at Thursday’s planning meeting at Central Office on East Main Street. School district officials won’t reveal who is on the panel until the recommendation is made, spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall has said, a practice that has been followed when other Fayette schools were named.
The school board is set to vote on the name at its regular meeting Nov. 21. The school on Winchester Road, the city’s sixth traditional public high school, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017.
“I wanted to make certain that this name is presented as an option for consideration,” Grundy said. “I think naming the school after Mr. Ali is a futuristic step that promotes progress and vision as well as acknowledging Kentucky’s rich history.”
The other proposals made public so far by various groups and individuals include the late basketball coach S.T. Roach, credited with integrating the high school game in Kentucky; the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, for whom a segregated high school in Fayette County had been named; Brenda Cowan, Lexington’s first black female firefighter, who was slain in the line of duty; and the late school board chairman John Price.
“The other names of people that I see proposed and under consideration, while all are good human beings and have played positive roles in our local history, none of them even remotely compare to the greatness of the life and legacy of Mr. Ali,” Grundy said.
A few weeks ago, district officials outlined a formal process for citizens to submit proposed names for the school. The deadline was Oct. 28.
Grundy said he had submitted the Muhammad Ali proposal through the proper channels. Ali died earlier this year.
“Whenever I mention it to anyone, they all say that it would be the perfect name for the new school,” Grundy said. He said Ali transcended race, religion and culture.
“We don’t have anything named for Muhammad Ali here in Lexington,” Grundy said.
Grundy said he doesn’t know of another high school in the United States named for Ali.
There is, however, a non-profit museum and cultural center in Louisville dedicated to the boxer called the Muhammad Ali Center.