Joe Louis 'The Brown Bomber'

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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.

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