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Chambers County, Alabama
Joe Louis - one of the world's great heavyweight boxers, Joseph Louis Barrow Sr. was born on a farm near Lafayette, Alabama on May 13, 1914 to the sharecroppers Munroe and Lillie Barrow. He was the seventh of eight children. Joe's father was committed to a mental hospital shortly after he was born and his mother married another sharecropper.
In 1924, Joe's stepfather moved the family to Detroit in search of work. Joe did poorly in the Detroit school system due to a lack of decent schooling while living in the south. He lost interest in school and sought other activities to occupy his time. Joe was fascinated with boxing and boxers and he began hanging around the local gyms. He quit school at the age of 17 and began training to become a boxer. Joe lost his first amateur bout in 1931, but over the next three years he accumulated an impressive string of victories.
He began his boxing career in Detroit in 1934 in the Golden Gloves. He had his first professional fight on July 4, 1934, and within a year knocked out heavyweight Primo Carnera. Primo was the first of six previous or subsequent heavyweight champions including Max Baer, Jack Sharkey, Braddock, Max Schmeling, and Jersey Joe Walcott whom he would defeat. Louis had his first professional loss in 1936 by Schmeling, but in 1938, after regaining the title, he defeated Schmeling with a vengeance in the first round of their rematch. From December 1940 through June 1941 he defended the championship seven times. In 1949 he retired as the undefeated champion and Ezzard Charles became his successor. Louis returned to challenge Charles for the championship but lost a 15-round decision to him on Sept. 27, 1950. In Louis' last fight of consequence on Oct. 26, 1951, he was knocked out in eight rounds by future champion Rocky Marciano. From 1934 to 1951, Louis had 71 bouts, winning 68 54 by knockouts. He defended his title an amazing 25 times!
Joe was one of the greatest boxers that ever lived, but had financial difficulties in his later years. He tried his hand unsuccessfully at several enterprises including a fast food chain and near the end of his life he worked as a greeter for Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas to help make ends meet.
Joe Louis died of a heart attack on April 12, 1981 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age of 66. He had been in ill health for a number of years before his death.
He did not technically qualify for burial in Arlington National Cemetery , but President Ronald Reagan waived the requirements and he was buried in Section 7-A, near the Tomb of the Unknowns, following his death.
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Lafayette has a Mayor-Council form of government.
Lafayette Historical Events 2001, March
WRMT-TV celebrated its 3rd anniversary in LaFayette in March 2001. The station is owned and operated by Dr. Ruso Minnifield. City Council Meetings, churchservices, parades, football games and the live call-in program "On TheSpot With Ruso" is televised weekly. LaFayette is a growing town withmuch room for growth.