Joe Louis held the heavyweight boxing championship longer than any other fighter and defended it a record 25 times. (In the 1930s and 1940s, the owner of the heavyweight title was the most prominent non-team sports competitor.) In addition, Louis helped bridge the gap of understanding between whites and blacks. During World War II he not only raised money for Army and Navy relief and entertained millions of troops as a morale officer, but became a symbol of American hope and strength. This biography of Louis outlines his rise from poverty in Alabama to become the best-known African American of his time and describes how an uneducated man, simple at his core, became so articulate and ended up on the side of right in the battles he fought, with fist or voice.