Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson



John Arthur Johnson (March 31, 1878 – June 10, 1946), better known as Jack Johnson and nicknamed the “Galveston Giant”, was an American boxer and arguably the best heavyweight of his generation. He was the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World, 1908-1915. In a documentary about his life, Ken Burns said: “For more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous, and the most notorious African-American on Earth” Read More

Johnson's fight against Jeffries, 1910.

Johnson’s fight against Jeffries, 1910.


The “Fight of the Century”

Riots and Aftermath

The outcome of the fight triggered race riots that evening — the Fourth of July — all across the United States, from Texas and Colorado to New York and Washington, D.C. Johnson’s victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of a finding a “great white hope” to defeat him. Many whites felt humiliated by the defeat of Jeffries and were incensed by Johnson’s comments.

Jack Johnson vs Tommy Burns


He eventually won the World Heavyweight Title on December 26, 1908, when he fought the Canadian world champion Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, after following him all over the world, taunting him in the press for a match. The fight lasted fourteen rounds before being stopped by the police. The title was awarded to Johnson on a referee’s decision as a T.K.O, but he had severely beaten the champion. During the fight, Johnson had mocked both Burns and his ringside crew. Every time Burns was about to go down, Johnson would hold him up again, punishing him more. The camera was stopped just as Johnson was finishing off Burns, so as not to show Burns’ defeat…

Read About Johnson’s

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