Joe Louis Barrow was born on May 13, 1914 in Lafayette, Alabama. His father, Monroe Barrow was a sharecropper who died when Joe was only four years old. When he was seven his mother, Lillie, married Patrick Brooks, which brought a family of 16 closer. In 1926 they moved to Detroit, Michigan because his father found work in the big city.
In the 1920's Detroit was highly segregated and the Blacks were forced to live in a small area know as Black Bottom. The Black population in Detroit had grown from about 5,000 at the turn of the century to about 90,000 in the 1920's. Most had come up from the South to work in the booming auto plants. And Joe's family was no exception.
Joe Louis attended vocational schools until he was about 17. Joe Louis was never really interested in school, despite his mothers urges, Joe decided to follow his passion. Joe was very interested in boxing which was the most popular sport at the time. When he left trade school, he went to work for the Ford Motor Company in the day time and took boxing lessons at Brewster's Recreational Center at night.
Joe learned the trick of the trade from a former black lightweight champion, Jack Blackburn. He saw potential in the young fighter. Joe Louis went on to become a finalist in the 1933 Golden Glove's in Boston and win the 1934 National AAU light heavyweight championship in St. Louis. He finished his amateur career 50 in 4 without ever being knocked out. Louis had a great professional career. He won 69 of 72 fights: 54 by knockout 13 by decision, and 1 disqualification. He earned the nickname "Brown Bomber" because of his quick devastating punches. [continues]
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