WASHINGTON -- Joe Louis' boxing gloves, worn in his first
historic fight with German Max Schmeling in 1936, were donated
Wednesday to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History
by a family that has owned the gloves for 70 years.
Ken Milburn, of Windsor, Ontario, donated the gloves and
accompanying photographs to the museum. He had received the items
from his aunt and uncle, who was a business partner of Louis'
lifelong manager, John Roxborough.
The gloves join items already in the Smithsonian's collection
related to the June 1938 rematch between Louis and Schmeling,
including the towel thrown in to end the fight after only two
minutes. Louis was declared the decisive victor in that comeback
fight, two years after the Detroit-born black boxer was knocked out
by Schmeling, the Nazis' star athlete, in the 12th round of the
"Despite the museum being closed for renovation, the active
collection of artifacts is ongoing," said Brent D. Glass, director
of the museum. "These gloves represent a very special chapter in
American sports and social history."