Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Knuckle-touching the Joe Louis fist sculpture

The Joe Louis fist is even cooler up close.
In becoming one of the most famous images of Detroit, the 'Fist of a Champion' sculpture was controversial from the minute it was set in place at Woodward and Jefferson in 1987.

The 24-foot long, 8-ton fist, a tribute to boxer Joe Louis (whose family lived in Detroit), was interpreted by some as a symbol of black power. Otherwise, why no boxing glove?

Maybe they're right (at least in part) because our crack research team did dig up this little tidbit about the fist. Because of Joe Louis' well-documented efforts to fight Jim Crow Laws, the fist symbolically points to the South. If that's true, it's kind of a cool touch.

Thankfully, two decades have passed and there doesn't seem to be any lingering controversy surrounding the fist. We're glad for that, because no matter what, a Joe Louis tribute in Detroit is deserving, and the future of the city's other tribute to him (that arena down the street) isn't looking too bright.