Born on this day, Joseph Louis Barrow (Joe Louis), world heavyweight champion. Louis was known to the world as the ‘Brown Bomber.’ In 1938, he made world news becoming a national boxing hero for his knockout of Germany’s Max Schmeling. Louis retained his championship record for nearly 12 years.
Louis was born in Chambers, Alabama and was the seventh child out of eight. Both his parents, Munroe and Lillie Reese Barrow were slaves.
Louis gained popularity for his dominance in the ring. However, after each knockout, he was gracious with his win. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After serving, he frequently donated his prize money to help the military relief funds which were favorable with his supports.
Louis reigned as heavyweight champion for eleven years and eight months. On March 1, 1949, Louis hung up his boxing gloves and retired. Louis did from a heart attack on April 12, 1981. He was inducted into The Ring Magazine Boxing Hall of Fame and in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. Louis was also the very first boxer to appear on a commemorative postage stamp.