TDISH: Jack Breaks the Color Barrier

On July 4, 1910, in Reno, Nevada, two men stood opposite of each other in a boxing ring – Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries.  This was no ordinary bout, however.  It was the for the heavyweight championship and it was the first time a Black boxer (Johnson) had stepped into the ring for such an important fight.  Jim Jeffries entered the fight undefeated under the nickname “The Great White Hope” – showing just how racially charged the fight was.  Johnson defeated Jeffries in 15 rounds – a result that triggered race riots.  Johnson broke through a color barrier that later athletes would often get credit for, largely because, after the fight, Johnson was prosecuted and convicted under the Mann Act – based on charges that he had crossed state lines for immoral purposes, i.e., to be with a white woman.  The defeater of the Great White Hope’s reputation was vanquished by the stroke of a judge’s pen.

Flatter, Ron. “Johnson boxed, lived on his own terms.” ESPN.
Featured Image: “Jack Johnson.” By Bain News Service – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3a30007, Public Domain.

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