"The Birth of a Champion" teaches us how to move forward through Joe Louis's path to redemption.
On June 19, 1936, while Joe Louis was at the top of his game, he faced opponent and Nazi favorite, Max Schmeling. The match was filled with symbolism: black versus white, freedom versus fascism.
Louis referred to Schmeling as "old man" and was confident he would defeat him. However, Schmeling took the fight by knockout in round 12. He had carefully studied the way Louis fought before the match took place, noticing that Louis had a tendency to drop his left hand after a jab. Schmeling came to believe that, if he could stand close enough, taking the punishment from Louis's fists, he would occasionally have a chance to deliver his right, the best weapon in Schmeling's arsenal. "Louis's one weakness matched perfectly my greatest strength, the one with which I had made my career," the German would later write. "Louis and I were, so to say, 'made for each other.'"
In this painting, you see the ref over Louis, signaling that he is out.
It is vital that we take our experiences from the past-- even political ones-- and learn from them, so we know how to move forward as a nation.
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