Joe Louis

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World War II poster featuring Joe Louis

Joe Louis Barrow (May 13, 1914 – April 12, 1981) was a professional boxer who was nicknamed the "Brown Bomber". He is widely considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxing champions of all time, with 25 successful title defenses. In 1938, he fought his most famous fight, which was a rematch against the German Max Schmeling. The fight was hyped by the media falsely portraying Schmeling as a Nazi, pitted against Louis as the defender of the free world. Louis, although the loser of the first fight, won with a first-round knockout.[1]

Louis served in the United States Army during World War II, from 1942-45. He did not see combat, however, and primarily put on boxing exhibitions for the troops.[2] He served alongside Jackie Robinson, the man who would eventually break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Robinson has stated that Louis was extremely influential within the then-segregated army, including helping get Robinson and other blacks into officer training school.[3] He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

See also