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Joe Louis "the Brown Bomber"

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Essay title: Joe Louis "the Brown Bomber"

Joe Louis “The Brown Bomber”

Joe Louis was born and raised in Detroit Michigan. Although throughout his life he lived in many places including Las Vegas and Chicago, he still always considered Detroit home.

Officially Joe Louis Barrow, Joe was born in the foothills of Alabama to his mother Lillie and father Muroe Barrow on May 13, 1914. Munroe was a sharecropper, but was committed to an asylum when Joe was only two, and died when he was four. Following this his mother got a job doing washing to support her eight children, but eventually married Patrick Brooks when Joe was seven. Their large family, Lillie’s eight children and Patrick’s eight children, moved into an eight room house on Detroit’s Macomb street in 1926. Here Joe began to go to school at first Duffield and then Bronson, two vocational schools, until he was seventeen.

While he was going to school, Joe also held two jobs, one before class and one after. Before school he worked at Detroit’s Eastern Market, and after at Pickman and Dean an ice company. Joe credited much of his upper body strength and muscularity to this job saying that carrying the ice blocks (up to fifty pounds a piece) developed him.

When he was sixteen, his mother would give him money for violin lessons, which he would turn around and use to rent a locker at an amateur boxing club. Although not happy when she found out what he had been using the violin lesson money on, Lillie simply encouraged Joe to do his best. His abbreviated name of Joe Louis began when he filled out his first set of paperwork to fight and did not have enough room for Barrow. Thus, Joe Louis became a legend instead of Joe Louis Barrow.

After being defeated early on in his career, Joe got a job working at Ford, but soon quit when his amateur boxing career took off. After being trained for a while his coaches encouraged him to pair up with a more experienced, connected coach so Joe found George Slayton who was manager of the Detroit Athletic Club. Under his direction, Joe made it to Detroit’s Golden Gloves competition in 1933, but was defeated by Max Merak, a Notre Dam football star. Three months after winning his next decisive victory, the National AAU light-weight championship in St. Louis, Joe went pro. In his 54 amateur fights, Joe had won fourty-three by knock-out, seven by decision and lost four by decision. He had not yet been knocked out.

His two earliest managers, the Roxborough brothers, moved Louis to Chicago and hired a former fighter Jack “Chappy” Blackburn to oversee his training. Joe’s very first professional fight was against Jack Kracken and July 4, 1934. He earned an astounding $50, but that was short-lived. By the next year, Joe earned over $60,000 for knocking out Primo Carnera. Joe soon earned his nickname of “The Brown Bomber of Detroit.” Joe was a hit, and newspapers and columnists were referring to him as the “star that had risen across the fistic heavens.”

The Brown Bombers style was impeccable. Of his first twenty-seven fights, he had won twenty-three by knockouts. By twenty-one years old, Joe had knocked out many renowned fighters such as Primo Carnera, Kingfish Levinsky, Max Baer and Paolino Uzcudum in a total of 12 rounds. He was being regarded as a boxing god with Detroit News Sports Editor H.G. Salsinger writing: "Louis is generally regarded as the greatest fighter of all time." Joe was also being monetarily rewarded for his incredible skill earning over $300,000 in a year and a half when the average salary was under $2,000.

Joe’s generosity and fame began to work against him. His generosity caused him to spend the second half of his life trying to payback debt from the first half. He would continually buy for those in need, payback his families welfare check, and further the African- American community by supporting other African-American atheletes.

Joe was so dedicated to his sport that he even married his wife Marva, two hours later fought, and then began his wedding night. With his growing career though, came growing fame. The control of fame would prove to be an important lesson for Joe to learn. With his fame came a natural arrogance, leading to a certain lack of training, or refusal advice against doing things like playing golf before a large fight.

On June 19, 1936, Joe lost to German Schmeling due to his lack

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