Bloody conflict and violence Perhaps 20 people were killed, almost all were black, and hundreds were injured and arrested among blacks and whites across the country.
“Until 58 years later, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, there was no incident that caused such widespread racial violence,” Jeffrey C. Ward wrote in Johnson’s biography.Unforgivable blackness.. “
Johnson’s victory was the most masculine sport, inconsistent with the claims of racial dominance by whites, and showed that blacks were no longer willing to agree to white rule. Whites were willing to give up their power.The story has the familiar ring today, as America remains Countries largely divided by race..
I started my book.From Jack Johnson to LeBron James: Sports, Media, and Color LinesWith Johnson, as the outcome of the aftermath of the battle will affect sports and American racial relations for decades.
Background of racial hostility
Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas in 1878 and grew up at the beginning of the Jim Crow era in American history.Last year, Rutherford B. Hayes became president After promising three former South Army states – South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana – Withdrawing federal troops that were protecting the standards of racial equality that blacks were beginning to achieve.
When the federal forces left, whites deprived black voters of their rights and passed racist legislation. Police atrocities and lynching.. journalistEven sought to maintain social order by preserving the myth about white supremacy.
Johnson’s boxing career challenged those myths. He dispatched white fighters one after another, cursing both fighters and the crowd. He was cheeky and arrogant and did not try to show respect for whites. He drove through the town in a flashy car, dressed in expensive clothes, spent time with gamblers and prostitutes, and dated white women. WEB DuBois, a black sociologist and commentator, thinks:Acts of alienation unnecessarily.. “
Set up a racial battle
Johnson easily defeated defending champion Tommy Burns in 1908 to win the heavyweight title. The novelist Jack London, who wrote in the New York Herald, wrote about Johnson’s Burns’ “Desperate Massacre” and, like other journalists, called on former champion James Jefferys to come from retirement and “Wipe that smile off Johnson’s face.. “
Jeffreys tells the world that heRegain the Heavyweight Championship in White Race.. ” Hello”Great White Hope.. “
The Chicago Defender, a black newspaper, said Jeffreys and Johnson “solved the controversial issue of hegemony.”Daily News in Omaha, Nebraska reports Jeffreys’ victory will recover Superiority over Caucasians..
Prior to the fight, there were signs that whites were afraid of Jeffreys’ loss – and this loss would affect society as a whole, not just the boxing ring.
The New York Times warned:If the blacks winThousands of his ignorant brothers will misunderstand his victory. The message was clear. If Jeffreys wins, the whites dominate, but if he loses, the whites are still better.
Trying to maintain power
After Johnson easily defeated Jeffreys, the Los Angeles Times strengthened white supremacy and told Blacks:Don’t raise your nose too high.. Do not inflate your chest too much. Don’t brag too loudly. Do not inflate. … Your place in the world is exactly that. You’re not anywhere else, it’s not worth a new look, and you don’t get anything. Almost a century later newspaper I apologized for the 1910 editorial.
In response to violence Many cities ban movies Of the battle that will be screened in the theater. In 1912, Congress passed the Sims Act, citing the same movie. Ban the transport of battles A movie on the border of the state.
In doing so, it prevented blacks and whites from seeing Johnson beating whites. Historian Jeffrey Sammons said: Black should be stored in that location.‘”
Overflow of violence
White America couldn’t beat Johnson in the ring, so White America worked to beat Johnson outside the ring.Johnson Arrested in 1912 And charging Violating the Man LawThis made it illegal to transport women across state boundaries “for prostitution, prostitutes, or other immoral purposes.”He helped 10 months in federal prison..
But he was more than one man. “Johnson, with a dark hat in honor of him for Massa’s permission, was considered the prototype of an independent black man who was willing to act and did not accept anything that interfered with his actions.” Written by Randy Roberts.Papa jackHis biography of Johnson. “That’s why Johnson has transformed into a racial symbol that threatens American social order.”
In response to Johnson’s victory, White used violence to keep Black in his place by all means. Whites began shooting when black construction workers celebrated Johnson’s victory near the town of Uvalda, Georgia. When the blacks tried to escape into the woods, the whites hunted them down, killing three and injuring five. Roberts wrote..
Such a scene Repeated nationwide, According to local media reports.
When a black man in Houston expressed joy at the outcome of the fight, the white man “cut his throat from ear to ear.” As Johnson is known, another black man in Wheeling, West Virginia, who was driving an expensive car, was dragged out of his car and lynched by a mob.A white mob in New York City set fire to a black row house and blocked the doorway to it. Preventing residents from escaping..
The sports world reacts
Johnson’s punishment served as a warning story to blacks during the Jim Crow era.Black athletes, whether sprinters Jesse Owens or boxers, are talented Joe Louis, They were warned that they must be the “right type” of blacks. He knew where he was and did not challenge the current state of race.
In sports where blacks were not banned and instead reluctantly allowed to compete with whites, there were violent attacks on black athletes. Jack TrieA football player at Iowa State University, died in 1923 after being injured in an attack against the University of Minnesota.
The end of the 1946 professional baseball color line was possible only because Jackie Robinson promised. Does not respond to racist adjectives And physical abuse so that he is accepted by white America.
In the 1960s, White Americans taught Muhammad Ali, who many considered the “wrong type” of black athletes, a lesson he once taught Jack Johnson. An unfriendly Muslim ant who refuses to obey the demands of white supremacism, Convicted of draft evasion Because he refused to join the army. He was stripped of his heavyweight title and sentenced to imprisonment.
Other black athletes and baseball players like sprinter Tommie Smith and John Carlos Curt flood And soccer players Colin Kaepernick, All were punished and banished for challenging white supremacism.
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This article will be republished from conversation, A non-profit news site aimed at sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Chris Lamb, IUPUI..
Chris Lamb does not work, consult, own shares, or receive funding for companies or organizations that benefit from this article.