Thursday, April 7, 2011

Crossing the Divide: 'Sugar' Ray Robinson

Another of the many stories in Bill Stern's Sports Book Vol.2 #2 (Ziff-Davis, Winter, 1952) features 'Sugar' Ray Robinson, whom many consider to have been the greatest pugilist of all time. Robinson was another boxer who fought in an age when successful African American sports personalities were seen as ambassadors of their race. Their success was seen as 'proof' of racial equality, in a society that was struggling to impose intelligence over the animal instinct that saw and feared difference. Robinson was friends with Joe Louis, and during WWII these two boxers played a significant morale-boosting role in the armed forces. Ironically, although in 1952 Robinson is praised highly, on the first page of this story, for sound management of his earnings, by the end of his life he was existing in poverty.


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