Jack Johnson

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Johnson, Jack

(John Arthur Johnson), 1878–1946, American boxer, b. Galveston, Tex., the son of two ex-slaves. Emerging from the battle royals (dehumanizing fights between blacks for the amusement of white patrons) of his youth, he defeated Tommy Burns in 1908 to become the world's first African-American heavyweight champion. After an interracial marriage and his defeat of several white hopefuls, Johnson was convicted in 1913 under contrived circumstances for violation of the Mann Act (see Mann, James RobertMann, James Robert,
1856–1922, American legislator, b. McLean co., Ill. A Chicago lawyer, he held many local offices before serving (1897–1922) as a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
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). He fled to Europe and remained a champion in exile until he lost in a 1915 bout in Cuba, knocked out in the 26th round by Jess Willard. Upon his return to the United States in 1920, he served a year in prison; he was posthumously pardoned in 2018.


See biographies by R. Roberts (1985) and G. C. Ward (2004).

Johnson, (John Arthur) Jack

(1878–1946) boxer; born in Galveston, Texas. The first black to win the world heavyweight title, he was one of boxing's greatest and most controversial champions. He worked as a janitor, dockhand, and stableboy before becoming a professional boxer in 1899. After winning the title in 1908 with a knockout of Tommy Burns, he defended the championship against a succession of "great white hopes," including former champion James J. Jeffries, who came out of a six-year retirement in 1910 only to be knocked out in the 15th round. Because of his flamboyance and self-confidence—and his marriage to a white woman—Johnson incurred the wrath of racist politicians and religious leaders who successfully secured a Mann Act conviction against him in 1913. He took sanctuary in Europe and lost the championship in 1915 to Jess Willard by a knockout in the 26th round. Johnson later returned to the U.S.A. to serve his sentence and to fight in boxing exhibitions. He spent his final years operating nightclubs and working in carnivals. He posted a career record of 78 wins, eight losses, and 12 no-decisions, with 45 knockouts. A play (1968) and motion picture (1970) based on his life, The Great White Hope, starred James Earl Jones.
References in periodicals archive ?
Jack Johnson was the exact opposite - a brawler who had begun his ring career fighting in barrooms and on back streets.
hadn't bet on Jack Johnson to win, then he wouldn't have had the extra money to buy his wife and two daughters new dresses from the most expensive dress shop in town, and the older of the two girls called Rlizbeth wouldn't have let her hair down and donned that brand-new yellow dress that made her look like an angel, so those white boys wouldn't have noticed her, wouldn't have called out to her from across the road, wouldn't have followed her and jumped her just as she reached the bend and dragged her into the brush, where they raped and beat her.
The resolution approved on Wednesday says that the boxer should receive a posthumous pardon "for the racially motivated conviction in 1913 that diminished the athletic, cultural, and historic significance of Jack Johnson and unduly tarnished his reputation.
Jack Johnson was never charged with rape, but unlike most Black men, he was certainly uppity and familiar with white women.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to welcome John to FXI," said Jack Johnson, outgoing FXI President & Chief Executive Officer.
Jack Johnson brings his laid back charm to Symphony Hall.
Rather than criticise Mrs Thatcher, Jack Johnson should thank God for sending her.
This is the fifth album from former pro-surfer, film-maker and singer-songwriter Jack Johnson.
HIS voice and mellow guitar skills may have shifted over 16 million albums worldwide, but Jack Johnson doesn't let his star status take over at home.
SINCE winning his Brit Award, Jack Johnson has been lapping up the limelight - and it's no wonder if his performance at Birmingham's NEC is anything to go by.
Ward presents a right-on historically accurate account of Jack Johnson as a fugitive.
The dynamic, freestanding boxer in Jack Johnson is an homage to a national African American hero.