October 17, 2004

Joe Louis - 1918-1941
Posted by HelloThe Fight, companion to a PBS film that premieres October 18, looks at the 1938 fight between American Joe Louis and German Max Schmeling in the context of African-American history and the coming war with Germany. 70,000 fans crammed into Yankee Stadium, and millions turned on their radios to witness, on the eve of World War II, what has been called "the most important sporting event in history." Listen to the broadcast of this fight and their earlier bout in 1936. (National Endowment for the Humanities)

Interesting fact from today's resource: On Kristallnacht, Schmeling took an enormous risk and hid the two teenage sons of a Jewish friend in his Berlin hotel room. When the opportunity presented itself, Schmeling smuggled the two boys out of the country. Characteristically, the modest Schmeling made no mention of this episode in his own autobiography. Read more about Max Schmeling.

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