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Throwback Thursday: Muhammad Ali visits East St. Louis

Fire up the Wayback machine, Sherman! It’s Throwback Thursday.

For this TBT we found “The Greatest,” the man who “floats like a butterfly” kissing babies like a politician. The BND archives yielded photos of Muhammad Ali on Oct. 10, 1983, visiting East St. Louis.

Ali was retired from boxing when he visited East St. Louis to promote a book, “Prayer and Al-Islam,” by American Muslim leader Iman Waritthuddin Muhammad. He was here two years after he lost his final fight in Nassau, a beating that was suspected to be a significant factor in the Parkinson’s disease diagnosis that came a year after his visit.

Ali drew a crowd along Collinsville Avenue in East St. Louis, signing autographs and kissing little Erin DeBoe, 2, of Belleville.

BND photographer Bill DeMestri captured the moment.