Joe Louis was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949, and he is arguably considered the greatest heavyweight of all time.
Louis succeeded Jack Dempsey as the next-great heavyweight, and he helped elevate boxing by being a likeable, honest, hardworking champion. In addition to be internationally recognized as one greatest heavyweights of all time, Joe Louis is also ranked No. 1 on The Ring's list of 100 Greatest Punchers of All Time.
Despite never seeing combat, and facing issues with racial segregation, Joe Louis was an instrumental force in recruitment for World War II. His charity bouts, while financially devastating, were nevertheless needed as America prepared itself for the War.
Louis said it best of the war effort at a 1942 Relief Fund Dinner: "We'll win, 'cause we're on God's side." His popularity surged from the comment, and for a brief time racial segregation tensions were lax, and Louis was treated not as a negro, but instead as a hero.