In the course of our daily reporting, we often uncover unusual projects, places, or connections that don't make the final cut. Instead of keeping it to ourselves, we're pleased to share our weekly Architrivia.
Known most commonly as "The Fist," the Monument to Joe Louis in Detroit has been a symbol of strength in the heart of Motor City for more than 30 years. Created by Mexican-American sculptor Robert Graham, the 24-foot bronze statue, consisting of the well-muscled right arm and clenched fist of legendary World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis, has been located at the base of Woodward Avenue since its unveiling on October 16, 1986. The famous fist is suspended like a pendulum, ready to strike down racial inequality and fight social injustice, just as the real Joe Louis did both inside and outside of the ring during his illustrious career.
Commissioned by Sports Illustrated to pay tribute to the late Joe Louis (1914-1981), who reigned as World Heavyweight Champion from 1937-1949, The Fist was donated as a gift to the City of Detroit and to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Suspended like a battering ram, The Fist faces away from the city centre, towards Hart Plaza and the waterfront beyond. Its arrangement appears to symbolize the city's ability to punch above its weight, to fight for what is right, and to take up the cause of those, like so many in Detroit, who have been left behind to fend for themselves.
Today a favourite photo-op location for tourists and locals alike, the Monument to Joe Louis has become ingrained in the heart and soul of the city. The most recent waves of revitalization that have been part of the city's slow rebirth and downtown renaissance are spreading outward from the waterfront through the core of the city as old buildings find new life, and the once familiar rumble of light rail returns to the city's main thoroughfares. A symbol of strength in a city that has suffered greatly at the hands of those who would sooner turn their backs and walk away from Detroit's well-documented turmoils, The Fist endures as a powerful reminder that Detroit cannot be silenced, its civic pride and determination too great a force to be kept down.
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