Jack Johnson was one of the greatest boxers of all time & he was an African-American. In fact, he became the first black heavyweight champion a century ago. Jack Johnson paved the way for the Mike Tysons of the world. He was a huge panther-like man who had a clever boxing style. Johnson beat the holy crap out of Tommy Burns in the fight that earned him that title. Before Jack Johnson demolished him, the camera was cut off because it just wouldn’t do for an even wider audience to witness a black man knock out a white man. I mean, racist views would not permit some caucasians to accept that Jack Johnson could be a better boxer than any white boxer. Here’s more from Wikipedia:
“After Johnson’s victory over Burns, racial animosity among whites ran so deep that even a socialist like Jack London called out for a “Great White Hope” to take the title away from Johnson — who was crudely caricatured as a subhuman “ape” — and return it to where it supposedly belonged, with the “superior” white race. As title holder, Johnson thus had to face a series of fighters billed by boxing promoters as “great white hopes”, often in exhibition matches. In 1909, he beat Victor McLaglen, Frank Moran, Tony Ross, Al Kaufman, and the middleweight champion Stanley Ketchel. The match with Ketchel was keenly fought by both men until the 12th and last round, when Ketchel threw a right to Johnson’s head, knocking him down. Slowly regaining his feet, Johnson threw a straight to Ketchel’s jaw, knocking him out, along with some of his teeth, several of which were embedded in Johnson’s glove. His fight with “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien was a disappointing one for Johnson: though scaling 205 pounds (93 kg) to O’Brien’s 161 pounds (73 kg) , he could only achieve a six-round draw with the great middleweight.
In 1910, former undefeated heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries came out of retirement and said “I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro”. Jeffries had not fought in six years and had to lose around 100 lb (45 kg) to try to get back to his championship fighting weight.
At the fight, which took place on July 4, 1910 in front of 22,000 people, at a ring built just for the occasion in downtown Reno, Nevada, the ringside band played “All coons look alike to me”. The fight had become a hotbed of racial tension, and the promoters incited the all-white crowd to chant “kill the nigger”. Johnson, however, proved stronger and more nimble than Jeffries. In the 15th round, after Jeffries had been knocked down twice for the first time in his career, his people called it quits to prevent Johnson from knocking him out.
The “Fight of the Century” earned Johnson $225,000 and silenced the critics, who had belittled Johnson’s previous victory over Tommy Burns as “empty,” claiming that Burns was a false champion since Jeffries had retired undefeated.
United States, from Texas and Colorado to New York and Washington, D.C. Johnson’s victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of finding a “great white hope” to defeat him. Many whites felt humiliated by the defeat of Jeffries and were incensed by Johnson’s comments.
Blacks, on the other hand, were jubilant, and celebrated Johnson’s great victory as a victory for the entire race. Black poet William Waring Cuney later highlighted the African-American reaction to the fight in his poem “My Lord, What a Morning”. Around the country, blacks held spontaneous parades, gathered in prayer meetings, and purchased goods with winnings from backing Johnson at the bookmakers. These celebrations often drew a violent response from white men.”(End of Excerpt) Read the entire entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Johnson_(boxer)
This is a part of America’s past that should never be forgotten. And thanks to an online comic-book about Jack Johnson’s life it will not be. Here’s more on that from the NY Times:
“The legend of Jack Johnson, who became the first black heavyweight champion 100 years ago Friday, keeps growing. His story was already inspiration for a stage play and a feature film. Now he has inspired an online comic-book biography, “The Original Johnson.”
The comic, which is being serialized in weekly installments at www.comicmix.com, is written and illustrated by Trevor Von Eeden, and is unflinching in its depiction of racism in America, the brutality of the boxing ring and the tragedies and triumphs of Johnson’s life, including his sexual conquests. New chapters are scheduled to be posted every Wednesday.
“Trevor has really put his heart and soul into this,” said Mike Gold, an editor at ComicMix who worked on the biography. “He’s been researching for years and years,” and he has filled his story with what he uncovered in news clippings and books. “(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/25/sports/othersports/25comic.html?_r=1&em