Jack Johnson (First Black World Heavyweight Champion Boxer)

water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
edited February 2011 in The Biosphere
John Arthur Johnson (March 31, 1878 – June 10, 1946)

Better known as Jack Johnson and nicknamed the “Galveston Giant”, was an American boxer, the best heavyweight of his generation and the first black world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915). In a documentary about his life, Ken Burns notes, "For more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth.


Early life

Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas, the third child and first son of Henry and Tina "Tiny" Johnson, former slaves who worked at blue-collar jobs to raise six children and taught them how to read and write. Jack Johnson had just five years of formal education.


Professional boxing career

Johnson's boxing style was very distinctive. He developed a more patient approach than was customary in that day: playing defensively, waiting for a mistake, and then capitalizing on it. Johnson always began a bout cautiously, slowly building up over the rounds into a more aggressive fighter. He often fought to punish his opponents rather than knock them out, endlessly avoiding their blows and striking with swift counters. He always gave the impression of having much more to offer and, if pushed, he could punch powerfully.
Johnson's style was very effective, but it was criticized in the press as being cowardly and devious. By contrast, World Heavyweight Champion "Gentleman" Jim Corbett, who was white, had used many of the same techniques a decade earlier, and was praised by the press as "the most clever man in boxing".

By 1902, Johnson had won at least 50 fights against both white and black opponents. Johnson won his first title on February 3, 1903, beating "Denver" Ed Martin over 20 rounds for the World Colored Heavyweight Championship. His efforts to win the full title were thwarted, as world heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries refused to face him then. Black and white boxers could meet in other competitions, but the world heavyweight championship was off limits to them. However, Johnson did fight former champion Bob Fitzsimmons in July 1907, and knocked him out in two rounds.

Johnson finally won the world heavyweight title on December 26, 1908, when he fought the Canadian world champion Tommy Burns in Sydney, after stalking Burns around the world for two years and taunting him in the press for a match. The fight lasted fourteen rounds before being stopped by the police in front of over 20,000 spectators. The title was awarded to Johnson on a referee's decision as a T.K.O, but he had clearly beaten the champion. Johnson constantly mocked both Burns and his ringside crew, while receiving every kind of racial and other slur from them and members of the crowd. Every time Burns was about to go down, Johnson would hold him up, beating an already helpless man.
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.[citation needed] 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 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 "supposedly" were embedded in Johnson's glove. His fight with Philadelphia Jack O'Brien was a disappointing one for Johnson: though weighing 205 pounds (93 kg) to O'Brien's 161 pounds (73 kg), he could only achieve a six-round draw with the great middleweight.



The "Fight of the Century"

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 weight to get back to his championship fighting weight.

The fight took place on July 4, 1910 in front of 22,000 people, at a ring built just for the occasion in downtown Reno, Nevada. Johnson 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.



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 finding a "great white hope" to defeat him. Many whites felt humiliated by the defeat of Jeffries.
Blacks, on the other hand, were jubilant, and celebrated Johnson's great victory as a victory for their entire race. Black poet William Waring Cuney later highlighted the Black 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.
Some "riots" were simply Blacks celebrating in the streets. In certain cities, like Chicago, the police did not disturb the celebrations. But in other cities, the police and angry white citizens tried to subdue the celebrations. Police interrupted several attempted lynchings. In all, "riots" occurred in more than twenty-five states and fifty cities. About 23 blacks and two whites died in the riots, and hundreds more were injured.



Film of the bout

A number of leading American film companies joined forces to shoot footage of the Jeffries-Johnson fight and turn it into a feature-length documentary film, at the cost of $100,000. The film was distributed widely in the U.S. and was exhibited internationally as well. As a result, Congress banned prizefight films from 1912 until 1940. In 2005, the film of the Jeffries-Johnson "Fight of the Century" was entered into the United States National Film Registry as being worthy of preservation.



Loss of the title

On April 5, 1915, Johnson lost his title to Jess Willard, a working cowboy from Kansas who did not start boxing until he was almost thirty years old. With a crowd of 25,000 at the Vedado Racetrack in Havana, Cuba, Johnson was K.O.'d in the 26th round of the scheduled 45-round fight, which was co-promoted by Roderick James "Jess" McMahon and a partner. Johnson found that he could not knock out the giant Willard, who fought as a counterpuncher, making Johnson do all the leading. Johnson, aged 37, although having won almost every round, began to tire after the 20th round, and was visibly hurt by heavy body punches from Willard in rounds preceding the 26th round knockout. Johnson is said by many to have spread rumors that he took a dive, but Willard is widely regarded as having won the fight outright. Willard said, "If he was going to throw the fight, I wish he'd done it sooner. It was hotter than hell out there".
In a famous photo showing Johnson lying on the mat after being knocked down and during the ten count, he can be seen shielding his eyes from the glare of the tropical sun with his glove.



Prison sentence

On October 18, 1912, Johnson was arrested on the grounds that his relationship with Lucille Cameron violated the Mann Act against "transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes" due to her being a prostitute. Cameron, soon to become his second wife, refused to cooperate and the case fell apart. Less than a month later, Johnson was arrested again on similar charges. This time the woman, another prostitute named Belle Schreiber with whom he had been involved in 1909 and 1910, testified against him, and he was convicted by a jury in June 1913. The conviction was despite the fact that the incidents used to convict him took place prior to passage of the Mann Act[1]. He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

Johnson skipped bail, and left the country, joining Lucille in Montreal on June 25, before fleeing to France. For the next seven years, they lived in exile in Europe, South America and Mexico. Johnson returned to the U.S. on 20 July 1920. He surrendered to Federal agents at the Mexican border and was sent to the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth to serve his sentence. He was released on July 9, 1921.
There have been recurring proposals to grant Johnson a posthumous presidential pardon. A bill requesting President George W. Bush to pardon Johnson in 2008, passed the House, but failed to pass in the Senate. In April 2009, McCain, along with Representative Peter King, filmmaker Ken Burns and Johnson's great niece, Linda Haywood, requested a presidential pardon for Johnson from President Barack Obama.On July 29, 2009, Congress passed a resolution calling on President Obama to issue a pardon.

While incarcerated, Johnson found need for a tool that would help tighten loosened fastening devices, and modified a wrench for the task. He patented his improvements on April 18, 1922, as US Patent 1,413,121.




HERE IS GREAT BOOK I READ

JACK JOHNSON - UNFORGIVABLE BLACKNESS: THE RISE AND FALL
http://www.amazon.com/Unforgivable-Blackness-Rise-Fall-Johnson/dp/0375415327
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Replies

  • WallWall Posts: 4,937
    edited February 2010
    Good post. smh @ them denying this man his pardon. John McCain is still fighting for it though :tu
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited February 2010
    CONTINUED

    Personal Life

    Johnson was an early example of the celebrity athlete in the modern era, appearing regularly in the press and later on radio and in motion pictures. He earned considerable sums endorsing various products, including patent medicines, and indulged several expensive hobbies such as automobile racing and tailored clothing, as well as purchasing jewelry and furs for his wives. He even challenged champion racer Barney Oldfield to a match auto race at the Sheepshead Bay, New York one mile (1.6 km) dirt track. Oldfield, far more experienced, easily out-distanced Johnson, ending any thoughts the boxer might have had about becoming a professional driver. Once, when he was pulled over for a $50 speeding ticket (a large sum at the time), he gave the officer a $100 bill; the officer protested that he couldn't make change for that much, Johnson told him to keep the change, as he was going to make his return trip at the same speed. Johnson was also interested in opera (his favorite being Il Trovatore) and in history — he was an admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte, believing him to have risen from a similar origin to his own. In 1920, Johnson opened a night club in Harlem; he sold it three years later to a gangster, Owney Madden, who renamed it the Cotton Club.
    Johnson constantly flouted conventions regarding the social and economic "place" of Blacks in American society. As a Black man, he broke a powerful taboo in consorting with White women, and would constantly and arrogantly verbally taunt men (both white and black) inside and outside the ring. Johnson was pompous about his affection for white women, and imperious about his physical prowess, both in and out of the ring. Asked the secret of his staying power by a reporter who had watched a succession of women parade into, and out of, the champion's hotel room, Johnson supposedly said "Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts".
    Johnson was married three times. All of his wives were white, a fact that caused considerable controversy at the time. In January 1911, Johnson married Etta Terry Duryea. A Brooklyn socialite and former wife of businessman Charles Duryea, she met Johnson at a car race in 1909. Their romantic involvement was very turbulent. Beaten many times by Johnson and suffering from severe depression, she committed suicide in September 1912, shooting herself with a revolver.
    Less than three months later, on 4 December 1912, Johnson married Lucille Cameron. After Johnson married Cameron, two ministers in the South recommended that Johnson be lynched. Cameron divorced him in 1924 because of infidelity.
    The next year, Johnson married Irene Pineau. When asked by a reporter at Johnson's funeral what she had loved about him, she replied, "I loved him because of his courage. He faced the world unafraid. There wasn't anybody or anything he feared." Johnson had no children.


    Later life

    Johnson continued fighting, but age was catching up with him. He fought professionally until 1938, losing 7 of his last 9 bouts, losing his final fight to Walter Price, by a 7th-round TKO.

    Johnson died in a car crash in Franklinton, North Carolina, a small town near Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1946, after racing angrily from a diner that refused to serve him. He was 68. He was buried next to Etta Duryea Johnson at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. His grave was initially unmarked, but a stone that bears only the name "Johnson" now stands above the plots of Jack, Etta, and Irene Pineau.
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited February 2010
    WallH wrote: »
    Good post. smh @ them denying this man his pardon. John McCain is still fighting for it though :tu


    I forgot to copy and past that part, I was at work and ment to come back and do it


    Its fucked up 'transporting a white women across state lines' ??? Imagine locking up Mayweather just to stop Him running through white boxers!!!

    Im sure Obama will issue A pardon

    Jack was victimized his whole life by people, I think He was to flashy for the times, white people felt threatened by Him
  • WallWall Posts: 4,937
    edited February 2010
    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/12/22/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry6010751.shtml

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) championed a resolution earlier this year seeking a pardon of Johnson. It passed both houses of Congress but the Justice Department rejected the effort earlier this month, saying that the department does not traditionally pardon the deceased.


    It might not happen, the way the justice department looks at it. This article is from December of '09.
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited February 2010
    Daum thats fucked up, Barack needs to sort himself out and get A pardon

    I see Tyson as A modern day Johnson in some respects, both had millions where champions of the world, but fell victim to pussy and blow all theyre money, plus they both ended up in prison...

    Check out this video of Jack Johnson fighting at over 60 years old!!!!!!!!! I know Heavyweights typically fight at an older age then lighter weight fighters but daaaaaaum lol
  • WallWall Posts: 4,937
    edited February 2010
    Was that an exhibition or a real fight? The nigga was smiling and shit as his opponent was flicking jabs at his face lol
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited February 2010
    WallH wrote: »
    Was that an exhibition or a real fight? The nigga was smiling and shit as his opponent was flicking jabs at his face lol

    lmao im guess it was just an exhibition fight, its still g'd out tho lol a 60+ year old putting on the leather... im not sure weather or not it went down on his records, jack had loads of fights all over the place, some were archived some wernt, he fought a country fates and shipping yards to big arenas, i think in the end he was just fighting to pay bills like hollyfield and like tyson did...

    you may be interested in boxrec... it has a massive archive on every boxer from past and present, all the fights they have had... you may of come across it before
  • WallWall Posts: 4,937
    edited February 2010
    interesting...wow at his personal life and his wives. not judging him tho.


    knocked out in Round 26 of a 45 round fight??! gotdamn...
    That nigga was ruthless with the women lol One wife kills herself due to him beating her, he's like fuck it and a few months later is married again... This nigga fled the country, came back after 7 years and only got a year in prison lol That shit sounds unreal haha
  • perspective@100perspective@100 Posts: 1,225
    edited February 2010
    Yeah I been telling ni99az about jack... He used to call himself a new negro or something like that. He refuted those so called negro intelectuals ideals on how blacks were supposed to conduct themselves. I say he started the I don't give a fuck era...
    He was not a victim, he lived life to the fullest and thats all that matters.
  • WallWall Posts: 4,937
    edited February 2010
    Yeah I been telling ni99az about jack... He used to call himself a new negro or something like that. He refuted those so called negro intelectuals ideals on how blacks were supposed to conduct themselves. I say he started the I don't give a fuck era...
    He was not a victim, he lived life to the fullest and thats all that matters.
    This is true :tu
  • PapaJuicePapaJuice Posts: 447
    edited February 2010
    Should watch the movie Unforgivable Blackness... 4 hour movie bout him
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited February 2010
    Yeah I been telling ni99az about jack... He used to call himself a new negro or something like that. He refuted those so called negro intelectuals ideals on how blacks were supposed to conduct themselves. I say he started the I don't give a fuck era...
    He was not a victim, he lived life to the fullest and thats all that matters.

    True that, He did not abide by the so called 'rules' of the time concerning black men/women, He lived in white areas, ate at white restaurants, drank in white bars and fucked white women, not matter what people said or did, as far as He was concerned there where no colour lines, I got mad respect for what He done...
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited February 2010
    PapaJuice wrote: »
    Should watch the movie Unforgivable Blackness... 4 hour movie bout him

    I really need to check that DVD, Ive read the book with the same title, Im gonna pick up that documentary
  • babelbabel Posts: 435
    edited March 2010
    shaq.jpg
    practicing posting pics... that's all.
  • babelbabel Posts: 435
    edited March 2010
  • gman82gman82 Posts: 1,319
    edited May 2010
  • TheHarlemCrusaderTheHarlemCrusader Posts: 34
    edited June 2010
    I have nothing, but repect for Jack Johnson. Ali once stated that Jack and Sugar Ray Robinson are the best Heavyweights ever. I named one of the characters in Polo:The Harlem Crusader after Jack.
  • 1CK1S1CK1S Posts: 8,057
    edited June 2010
    White folks hated him with a passion. Just look at his old fights during his prime everytime he got knocked out by a white fight the crowd (mostly white people) went crazy.
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited June 2010
    icks86 wrote: »
    White folks hated him with a passion. Just look at his old fights during his prime everytime he got knocked out by a white fight the crowd (mostly white people) went crazy.

    Yeah fam, thats because the Heavyweight Champion back then literally made you king of the world... And for anyone who wasnt of the white race to have all that power scared the people... They even made James J Jefferies racist ass come out of retirement to 'restore the white race's pride', but He failed lol... Racism was (and still is) so disgustingly prominent back then is makes you sick, Im glad that Jack didnt take no shit and ate, drank, fucked and lived where ever He wanted... He broke the mould
  • TheHarlemCrusaderTheHarlemCrusader Posts: 34
    edited June 2010
    Yeah fam, thats because the Heavyweight Champion back then literally made you king of the world... And for anyone who wasnt of the white race to have all that power scared the people... They even made James J Jefferies racist ass come out of retirement to 'restore the white race's pride', but He failed lol... Racism was (and still is) so disgustingly prominent back then is makes you sick, Im glad that Jack didnt take no shit and ate, drank, fucked and lived where ever He wanted... He broke the mould

    He also invented, got a patent for something. He loved cars and it had something to do with fixing cars.
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited June 2010
    Yeh it was the wrench, He was A car nut, unfortunately He died in one to... I tell you A really good book you would enjoy, I read in A few weeks after I bought it, I was absolutely glued to it, its 'Jack Johnson - Unforgivable Blackness, The Rise And Fall'... It is Jack's autobiography... You would love it blud, thats if you aint already read it... Apparently theres A documentary by the same name, which I cant believe I still havent seen
  • TheHarlemCrusaderTheHarlemCrusader Posts: 34
    edited June 2010
    Yeh it was the wrench, He was A car nut, unfortunately He died in one to... I tell you A really good book you would enjoy, I read in A few weeks after I bought it, I was absolutely glued to it, its 'Jack Johnson - Unforgivable Blackness, The Rise And Fall'... It is Jack's autobiography... You would love it blud, thats if you aint already read it... Apparently theres A documentary by the same name, which I cant believe I still havent seen




    No, i've never read the book, but i'm gonna get it. I've seen the Doc though, on, i think, PBS a few years back.
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited June 2010
    No, i've never read the book, but i'm gonna get it. I've seen the Doc though, on, i think, PBS a few years back.

    yeah bro, i think you will really enjoy it... i gotta see the documentary, cant believe i aint seen it yet
  • TheHarlemCrusaderTheHarlemCrusader Posts: 34
    edited June 2010
    yeah bro, i think you will really enjoy it... i gotta see the documentary, cant believe i aint seen it yet


    Here you go brodda. Youtube got the whole thing. I'mma watch this jewel one mo timez too.

    Pt1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNIGZyFiLIU&feature=related

    Pt2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6KU5HMnoHk&feature=related
  • water ur seedswater ur seeds Posts: 8,319
    edited June 2010
    @ harlemcrusader

    safe blud, you just made my evening lol ima watch that 2moro with man dem, smoke joint and kick back and watch it
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