Advertisement for boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling

About the Project

Economic despair and widespread unemployment during the Great Depression lead many Americans to seek inspiration and hope in the world of sports. When boxer Joe Louis burst onto the scene in the mid-1930s he became a symbol of pride for African Americans. During the 1930s Joe Louis and German heavyweight Max Schmeling fought two fights whose influence reached far beyond the ring. Louis lost the first fight in 1936, and Schmeling became a symbol of Nazi superiority. The second fight in 1938 was billed as a fight between democracy and fascism. When Louis won in a first-round knockout, the fight was viewed as a triumph for American democracy, though segregation was still widespread in the United States. Cheer on Joe Louis and help us transcribe a ticket from his memorable 1938 knockout against Max Schmeling.

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