What impact did Muhammad Ali's contribution have to American society?

Muhammad Ali is best known and remembered for his successful boxing career during the racially charged 1960's-70's, even competing and winning a gold medal as an Olympic athlete for the USA. At a time when segregation was still practiced proudly in parts of America, Ali was representing the same country that might not even let him in one of their restaurants. His success gave people a reason to look past the color of his skin and be proud of such a talented athlete. Ultimately, his successful career aided in main stream tolerance of minorities in America.