Joe Louis recruiting poster

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Joe Louis was a great fighter, but also an important figure during World War II. Louis fought a charity bout for the Navy Relief Society against his former opponent Buddy Baer on January 9, 1942, which generated $47,000 for the fund. The next day, he volunteered to enlist as a private in the United States Army at Camp Upton, Long Island. Newsreel cameras recorded his induction, including a staged scene in which a soldier-clerk asked, “What’s your occupation?” and Louis replied in a nervous rush, “Fighting and let us at them Japs.”

This original recruiting poster issued in 1942 by the U.S. Government Printing Office pictures Joe Louis and his famous quotation.