Books | Sports

July 31, 2012

Jack Johnson, World Heavyweight

How the first African-American world heavyweight champion challenged colonialism and set the template for today's athletes.

Max Lakin

Jack Johnson was making white people uncomfortable long before Jackie Robinson or Muhammad Ali. Here was a man equipped with enough flash and hypermasculine braggadocio to rival today's hardest stunting rapper, who whipped around in sports cars, clad in sable and sporting gold teeth; who drank champagne through those gold teeth; who kept leopards as pets; and who romanced or otherwise bedded a litany of notable white women of desire (Mae West and German spy Mata Hari included). This was a man who also happened to be the first African-American world heavyweight champion.

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Article by Max Lakin

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