Sunday, July 4, 2010

100 Years Since the "Fight of the Century"

A hundred years ago today, Jack Johnson, one of the greatest boxers to step into the ring, defeated James Jeffries, the "Great White Hope", in the fight of the century. I wish I could have seen that fight.

From NPR...
MICHEL MARTIN, host: On this Independence Day we are looking back to July 4th, 1910. Thousands of white boxing fans from around the country gathered in the desert town of Reno, Nevada.

Mr. KEITH DAVID (Actor): They had come to see their hero - the white, ex-heavyweight champion Jim Jeffries - take back the title from the first African-American ever to hold it: Jack Johnson.

MARTIN: For many, it was a fight for racial pride.

Mr. DAVID: Somehow, in the minds of many white Americans, this boxing match would decide whose country America really was. Who was meant to be in charge?

An excellent interview of Ken Burns who produced a documentary about Jack Johnson, called Unforgiveable Blackness...

Click here to view a pretty lousy copy of Unforgiveable Blackness.

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