Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Black, Jack Johnson

That post about Muhammad Ali last week make me nostalgic. This time out I want to talk about his predecessor. For those of you unfamiliar with your Black History, Jack Johnson was the world's first Black heavyweight boxing champion. He was the first in a great many things and I could easily write a series of post just about him as I am so inspired by his story.

Jack Johnson's greatness did not go unnoticed. He was a Black celebrity athlete during a time when much of the United States was ruled by racism. Stories of his life are immortalized in the play and movie The Great White Hope and the documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. Songs reference him in Folk music, Blues, Jazz, and Hip Hop. Artists such as Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, and even Mos Def created music inspired by the great boxer.

There's even an online comic book biography available online called "The Original Johnson" that you can view for free. It's more than worth a look. This is the guy that paved the way for Black Superheroes like Muhammad Ali.


Vee (Scratch) said...


Thanks for posting this and the link to the free comic book. Ken Burns' "UnForgivable Blackness" was really enlightening and entertaining. Eventually I think I'll read the book.

wallruss said...

My pleasure and thanks for the positive energy.

Darnel said...

Thank you for this post, I always appreciate those who spread this type of knowledge. I already liked Mos Def's song but I like it even more now.