Jack Johnson, First African American Boxer, Racial Oppression

Essay by babydice510High School, 11th gradeA, May 2006

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

During the reign of Jack Johnson over the heavyweight division of boxing, there was a definite prescribed role and persona into which African-Americans were supposed to fit themselves. This role and persona was to be inferior to the whites. African Americans were not suppose to be heroes or to be champions of any sports. Whites were supposed to be the greatest in everything. No African-American was supposed to take a title away from a white man. But Jack Johnson did and that role and persona changed in the year 1910 when he took the title of heavyweight champion and the first black and Texan to win the heavyweight boxing championship in the world.

Jack Johnson defied this role in many ways. He didn't stop boxing even when he was causing riots among blacks and whites after his defeat against Jim Jeffries. Jack Johnson stole the title of champion after this fight.

A Law called the Mann Act which makes it a federal crime to transport individuals under the age of 18 across state lines to engage in any sexual activity was disobeyed by Jack Johnson. He married 3 white women but never had children. He was arrested for transporting white women across state lines. Johnson kept strong and after prison he kept on boxing but only for exhibition fights.

Some consequences for Johnson's defiance were riots, prison and debates. Even newspaper editorials were warning Johnson and the black community not to get too proud. They then passed an act banning the interstate transport of fight films because they feared all of Johnson's victories and though that will start more disputes.

In this century I believe there are still prescribed roles that African-Americans and other groups such as women, are supposed to play today. I believe that a lot of...