This insightful study offers a fresh perspective on the life and career of champion boxer Joe Louis. The remarkable success and global popularity of the "Brown Bomber" made him a lightning rod for debate over the role and rights of African Americans in the United States. Historian Marcy S. Sacks traces both Louis’s career and the criticism and commentary his fame elicited to reveal the power of sports and popular culture in shaping American social attitudes. Supported by key contemporary documents, Joe Louis: Sports and Race in Twentieth-Century America is both a succinct introduction to a larger-than-life figure and an essential case study of the intersection of popular culture and race in the mid-century United States.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – The Son of an Alabama Sharecropper
Chapter 2 – "Born with Two Strikes"
Chapter 3 – "The Man in the Mask"
Chapter 4 – "Heroes Aren’t Supposed to Lose"
Chapter 5 – "A Credit to His Race"
Chapter 6 – "It Makes Us a Pack of Liars"
Marcy S. Sacks is the John S. Ludington Endowed Professor of History at Albion College in Albion, Michigan.
"Sacks has made a very commendable and significant contribution to the academic literature on racial attitudes, Joe Louis, boxing, and American sports."
- George Sirgiovanni, College of Saint Elizabeth