During World War II (long before the civil rights movement), Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson toured Southern army bases to give boxing exhibitions. One day the black boxers were confronted by a military policeman in an Alabama bus station. "You soldiers belong in the rear of the station," he sneered. Louis and Robinson simply ignored him -- and were promptly arrested and lectured by an officer at the provost marshal's office. Joe Louis remained defiant. "I'm sorry, sir," he declared. "But I'm in this war like anybody else. I expect to be treated like anybody else."
[Following his death in 1981, Louis was buried in Arlington National Cemetery as a token of recognition for his wartime contributions. He is the only boxer ever to have been buried there.]