Marva Louis, a stenographer turned model and singer and the first wife of boxing legend Joe Louis (they married twice) stepping into a Duesenberg roadster in Harlem’s Sugar Hill on June 18, 1936. Hours later, her husband would lose to Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium in one of the most famous bouts in boxing history. Langston Hughes described the reaction he witnessed after Louis suffered the only knockout during the prime of his career:

I walked down Seventh Avenue and saw grown men weeping like children, and women sitting in the curbs with their head in their hands. All across the country that night when the news came that Joe was knocked out, people cried.

Louis would go on to defeat Schmeling in a rematch on June 22, 1938. Photo via Bettman/Corbis

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