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Celebrating Jack Johnson on July 4th

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  • wintyreeve@aol.com
    Hello Friends, Happy 4th of July! I am celebrating Jack Johnson, Heavyweight Champion, on July 4th. Jack Johnson fought the Great White Hope James Jeffries
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2008
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      Hello Friends,
       
      Happy 4th of July!
       
      I am celebrating Jack Johnson, Heavyweight Champion, on July 4th. Jack
       
      Johnson fought the "Great White Hope" James Jeffries on July 4, 1910 while people were yelling racial slurs at Johnson, and waving white flags. Johnson, the son of two former slaves, had fought his way to the top of the free for all Black boxing rings, and sought fame, wealth and credibility by entering the White rings. At the time, Whites and Blacks were segregated and did not fight together. Johnson steadily pounded his way to the top, winning matches first against Blacks and then against Whites. In the racist society of that time, it was believed that a "Great White Hope" had to be found to save the White race, and its supremacy, from the "beast" and "the Ethiopian" aka Jack Johnson. Outside the ring, Johnson married and had relationships with White women. Conducting interracial relationships was highly taboo--and viewed as something only done in secret, in the worst part of the city among the social outcasts and criminals. Johnson remained an imposing figure who did not compromise his masculinity or try to hide his race. He flaunted his wealth, was immensely popular and defied limitations as often as he could. Jeffries, the Heavyweight Champion, came out of retirement after 6 years to face Johnson with the sole purpose of proving his racial superiority. During the match, Johnson smiled, joked and danced around Jeffires. In the 15th round, when it appeared Jeffries would be knocked out, he was dragged from the ring to avoid humiliation to the White race. Johnson was declared the winner. Riots broke out across the country in protest--hundreds of Blacks were killed or injured in the riots. Film footage of the fight was banned to prevent further rioting. During his boxing career, from 1897 to 1928, Johnson had 114 bouts, winning 80, 45 by knockouts.
       
      I wrote an article on Johnson, and how his life and legacy connect to my family at:
       
      I am also going to set off a few firecrackers in his honor.
       
      Happy 4th!
       
      Lynn




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