The Brown Bomber. Considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, Joe Louis is remembered most for his championship reign from 1937 to 1949. He is believed to be the first black athlete to reach the status of national hero as his time in the spotlight occurred leading up to and during the World War II, and his fights versus the German boxer Max Schmeling were considered legendary.
Louis had a cultural impact outside of the ring also. He was used as a recruiting tool for the US military for World War II, and himself served in the Army. After the war, he was also instrumental in integrating golf, as he broke the color barrier in 1952 when he played under a sponsor’s exemption during a PGA event.
In 2005, Joe Louis was ranked the #1 heavyweight boxer of all-time by the International Boxing Research Organization, and was also ranked #1 Greatest Puncher of All-Time by The Ring Magazine.