Spirit of Youth

16mm motion picture film of Spirit of Youth

Directed by
Fraser, Harry L., American, 1889 - 1974
Written by
Hoerl, Arthur, American, 1891 - 1968
Subject of
Louis, Joe, American, 1914 - 1981
Harris, Edna Mae, American, 1910 - 1997
Moreland, Mantan, American, 1902 - 1973
16mm Film (a): acetate film;
16mm Film (b): acetate film
Duration: 65 Minutes
Length (Film Reel 1): 1300 Feet
Length (Film Reel 2): 1100 Feet
motion pictures (information artifacts)
Place filmed
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States, North and Central America
Place depicted
Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, United States, North and Central America
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States, North and Central America
New York City, New York County, New York, United States, North and Central America
"Spirit of You" is a dramatic film based on the life of American heavyweight boxer Joe Louis. The lead character, Joe Thomas, is played by Joe Louis himself.
2015.167.19.1ab: 16mm black and white films.
Jefferson Thomas, a black foundry worker, is seriously injured when a heavy castor falls on his legs. No longer able to support his family, Jefferson's young son, Joe, decides to leave school and take a job. Many years later, Joe, now grown, gives his family all his savings and leaves Birmingham to make something of himself. Joe hitchhikes to Detroit, where he gets a job as a dishwasher and meets Creighton "Crickie" Fitzgibbons. When Crickie and Joe lose their jobs, they find work at a storage and shipping company, but are soon fired from the job when a foreman hits Crickie and Joe knocks him out with one punch. Impressed with his fighting abilities, Crickie encourages Joe to enter the Golden Gloves boxing tournament, and he is soon billed in the newspapers as the 'Dark Destroyer'. After winning the finals, manager Frankie Walburn offers to handle him as a professional. Joe accepts after consulting with his mother Nora, who now lives in the city, and who tells him to be honest and fair. As Joe wins bouts, Flora Bailey, a nightclub singer at the Bluebird Cafe´, who is in cahoots with gambler Duke Emblin, takes an interest in him. Their involvement worries Frankie, whose concern that he is ignoring his training antagonizes Joe. When Mary and Joe's sister Eleanor, visit Flora, they implore her to help get Joe back on track, but because Duke is now betting against Joe, Flora encourages his nightlife and drinking. Joe is knocked out in a match, and as he prepares for the heavyweight championship bout against Jack Stanley, he confesses to Flora that he loves Mary. When Flora sees that he does not have his heart in the fight, she brings Mary, now a schoolteacher, to the ring, and her presence spurs Joe to defeat Stanley in a knockout. Afterwards, he and Mary are guests of honor at a banquet at which Flora sings"
Source: AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Accessed on August 12, 2016 (http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=&Movie=2226)
Consists of: 16mm Flim (a).
African American
Race films
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Randall and Sam Nieman
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
Unknown - Restrictions Possible
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Collection title
Nieman Film Collection
Media Arts-Film and Video
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture

NOTE: Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu.