Jack Johnson entered the world ready to fight in the most non-conventional way. As the son of slaves, he worked many unskilled jobs, before transitioning into his career as a boxer. He would later transcend the sport and shake up society in a way people had never seen a black man do before.
When Jim Crow spreading through America in 1908, Jack Johnson took down white boxer Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title of the world. Riding the wave of his success, he then faced off against Jim Jeffries — whom was dubbed “The Great White Hope” — in an iconic and historical boxing match.
In this series of Black History in Two Minutes or So, host Henry Louis Gates Jr. and commentator Imani Perry take a deeper look into the world heavyweight champion and one of the most brash disruptors in African-American history.
Archival Materials Courtesy of:
Library of Congress
Queens Borough Public Library
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Robert F. Smith
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Be Woke presents is brought to you by Robert F. Smith and Deon Taylor.
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