Joe Louis was a successful boxer and reigned a twelve year title defense between 1934 and 1951. He was the first black citizen to achieve the status of nationwide hero. In spite of Louis’ success in boxing, he was defined by many physical and financial hardships throughout most of his life. Joseph Louis Barrow was born on May 13, 1914 in a cottonfield county near Lafayette, Alabama (McGowen). When he moved to Detroit, Michigan as a teen, his schooling consisted of training as a cabinet maker at Bronson Trade School. To help support his family, he worked at Ford Company’s River Rouge plant (McGowen). In 1934, at the request of a schoolmate, he entered in an ameteur boxing competition. Soon after completing the rounds, he won the tournament and debuted as a light heavyweight boxer. Three years later, his amateur record totaled to fifty wins, forty-three knockouts and fifty-four matches (Biography). In 1937, he defeated James J. Braddock in a licensed qualified match and rose as a professional heavyweight fighter. He ended his boxing career in 1949 as a world champion combatting many different opponents. However, of all the games he fought in, only three games ever went the full fifteen rounds (McGowen). His professional career ended with sixty-eight wins, three losses and fifty-four matches (Biography). His first professional defeat happened on June 19, 1936 which ended with a knockout during the twelfth round. His opponent was a German Nazi boxer named Max Schmeling. Two years later, Joe Louis challenged the German boxer to a rematch on June 22, 1938. Louis won the diversion with a time of 2.04 minutes into the first round (McGowen). Schmeling had been named a national hero in his home country, Germany, so when he came back home, he was left with a bad impression, in which made him lose his high privilege (Biography). After his occupation as a boxer ended in 1949, he started becoming more physically ill as each day passed. While he did have quick reflexes and strong punches during his time as a boxer (Fulsom), heart problems, emotional disorders and strokes engulfed him (McGowen). Medics at the time understood body functionality better than ever and were able to diagnose Louis with long term brain damage from boxing (Beschloss). Soon after, he was analyzed by an Illinois medical advisor, Dr. J.M. Houston. He concluded that Louis’ reflex abilities and physique coordination had declined drastically. Louis was so physiologically impaired that his cardiovascular problems led him to speech disabilities and being handicapped. He was later operated on by a cardiac surgeon named Michael DeBakey and in 1977, was given an aortic aneurysm surgery which left Louis wheelchair restricted (McGowen). Although he was hospitalized for his heart complications, he continued to suffer from pneumonia from his cocaine dependency use and endured through delusions and paranoias (Beschloss). Despite the surgery which pertained to the passageways to the heart, Louis had an electronic pacemaker implanted within him in Houston, Texas on December 23, 1980 (McGowen). While the hospital bills racked up, Frank Sinatra, an American singer, mentioned to Louis’ wife, Martha, not to worry about the cost since he would be paying most of Louis’ medical charges(Beschloss). As a prosperous wealthy man, he was notably generous and donated most of his profit to many charity organizations. This however, created a constant issue with his unpaid taxes to the government (Biography). About a year after he debuted into the scenes as an ameteur light heavyweighter, he earned his first check of $370,000 in 1935. After only two years in the business, he has obtained a net pay of more than $371,000 (Fulsom). Being eager to use the considerably large amounts of cash, he had a sudden urge to help his family. For instance, he compensated his stepfather’s welfare fees from the Great Depression and he bought uniforms for black army officers who did not have the means to pay for themselves. At the time, Louis did not realize how important taxes were considering that only seven percent of the workers had income tax rates by the year he was born, in 1914. By 1931, merely two percent of American citizens were qualified to pay taxes. As President Roosevelt entered his first oval office term in 1933, a rapid change of tax bases enlarged. Not only those particular two percent of citizens were charged of taxes, twenty-four to seventy-nine percent obligated of tax rates. Already by 1940, Louis has summed up to over $500,000 in debt by the Internal Revenue Service IRS. The IRS also would not comply to deducting his back taxes from robust prize money from fights or his charitable $3,000 worth of tickets for soldiers to watch a few of his games. Later, his patriotism toward the country led him to enlist in the army as a private, earning him $21 per month. His inspiration that drove him to enroll was the Pearl Harbor attack that happened on December 7, 1941. While recruited, Louis also managed to contribute financially to military relief funds (Biography). He devoted one of his fight fees of $65,000 to the Naval Relief Fund and another one of his fight rewards of $45,882 to the Army Relief Fund (Fulsom). He also sent a check of $84,092 to the U.S. Navy Relief Society to support the World War II (Beschloss). In today’s market price, that values up to at least $1.5 million in total worth of investment. During the mid 1960’s, Louis had an accomodation with the government and was able to pay off his obligations at the time (McGowen). His wife, Martha, during Louis’ economic situation said, “He’s rich? rich with friends. If he said he needed a dollar, a million people would send him a dollar and he’d be a millionaire” (Beschloss). But ironically, he died in debt and owed more than $1.24 million to the IRS since the government used political force against his will (McGowen). Louis retired boxing at the age of thirty four. On March 1, 1949, he resigned as an undefeated champion to Jersey Joe Walcott (McGowen). In 1950, a year after his pronounced leave, he had declared that he would “come out of retirement and challenge Ezzard Charles for the championship. The reason? taxes” (Fulsom). His horrific defeat did not allow him to continue his desire in boxing due to recovery expenses. Luckily, the owner of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas offered to lend a house to him and his family only if Louis agreed to work as a “host in residence” with a salary of $50,000 a year (Beschloss). The job offer became increasingly boring as each day passed so he quit and instead, did small wrestling games, various other sports and also television commercial promotions (McGowen). Later, in 1969, he founded Food Franchise Corporation along with Billy Conn, a befriended boxing opponent. Their intentions in opening a cuisine chain were in hopes of operating an interracial chain of food shops. Months later, he had a physical breakdown on lower Manhattan Street and was emitted to Beekman Downtown Hospital. From a therapeutic analysis, the cause of the sudden injury was from cocaine use. Years after, Louis collapsed from cardiac arrest on his bathroom floor on April 12, 1981 at 9:30 a.m. (Beschloss). He passed away as he was being emitted into a hospital at sixty six years old. President Reagan ordered a proper burial to be placed with honor at the Arlington National Cemetery (Beschloss). Max Schmeling attended the funeral and even contributed to the funeral costs. Joe Louis was underprivileged during his childhood and when he became more wealthy, he still had difficulty maintaining his body figure. He was still a leading influence in the Civil Rights Movement as one of the first successful African American boxer. Although his misfortunes pertaining to his health and financial concerns were overwhelming, he was still able to befriend a community who were supportive enough to help him get through his dilemma.