Election 1940: Joe Louis Assails Roosevelt Promise (11-2-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 2, 1940)


Cleveland, Nov. 2 (UP) –

World’s Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis charged last night that President Roosevelt had failed to fulfill a promise to halt lynching and race discrimination in the South, and called for the election of Wendell L. Willkie.

The champion brushed aside a challenge for a debate on presidential issues from Cleveland’s Jesse Owens, Negro Olympic star, saying:

He backtracked a lot he said when he campaigned last time for Landon. People will wonder about that.

Louis spoke in two churches in Negro wards which have given most of their 40,000 votes to Mr. Roosevelt in the past, telling audiences ablaze with “Joe and I want Willkie” buttons that the Republican nominee was “a poor boy, too, and knows what $15 a week can do.”

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