The Monument to Joe Louis, known also as The Fist, is a memorial to the boxer at Detroit's Hart Plaza.
Dedicated on October 16, 1986, the sculpture, commissioned by Sports Illustrated Magazine from the Mexican-American sculptor Robert Graham, and poured by the legendary bronze artist, Rolf Kriken, is a 24-foot-long arm with a fisted hand suspended by a 24-foot-high pyramidal framework. It represents the power of his punch both inside and outside the ring. Because of Louis' efforts to fight Jim Crow laws, the fist was symbolically aimed toward racial injustice. Graham referred to the sculpture as a "battering ram". It is claimed to be an historical metaphor, even down to its placement pointing toward Canada.
Joe Louis (May 13, 1914 – April 12, 1981) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1934 to 1951. He reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949, and is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. Nicknamed the "Brown Bomber", Louis' championship reign lasted 140 consecutive months, during which he participated in 26 championship fights. He was victorious in 25 consecutive title defenses. In 2005, Louis was ranked as the best heavyweight of all time by the International Boxing Research Organization, and was ranked number one on The Ring magazine's list of the "100 greatest punchers of all time". Louis' cultural impact was felt well outside the ring. He is widely regarded as the first person of African-American descent to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States, and was also a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II. He was also instrumental in integrating the game of golf, breaking the sport's color barrier in America by appearing under a sponsor's exemption in a PGA event in 1952.
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