Louis was 'what his own community needed him to be'

Joe Louis' success in the ring may not have ended racial segregation in America, but it did help pave the way for future generations of civil rights activists.

Originally Published: February 20, 2008
By Franklin McNeil | Special to ESPN.com

Throughout her history, America has experienced good times and bad times.

Today, she's going through a very different time: The economy is struggling and the war in Iraq shows no sign of abating.

During tough times, America has relied heavily on her people. African-Americans have played significant roles in helping the nation right its ship.

And few Americans, black or white, have contributed to the nation's social development quite like Joe Louis. His impact on American ...

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