Jack Johnson's defeated James Jeffries in a Mega-fight. He had already become the first Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the world two years before. Jeffries was the last "Great White Hope" to stand a chance at regaining the Title and restoring it to the white race. The fight even took place here in Nevada, but not in Las Vegas as you might think. I don't think Vegas was the capitol of the world for boxing venues at the time, although I could be wrong. The fight took place in Reno, instead. It was an NPR segment which brought the significance of the date to my attention.
"The Yellow Peril". London, I believe, coined the term "Great White Hope", in his pleads for a white man to step up and beat Johnson. He helped persuade James Jefferies to come out of retirement and return to the ring. Now in his defense, I don't know why Jefferies took this fight. He hadn't fought in 6 years and it was reported that he had to lose 80 pounds to get back to fighting weight. He was beaten badly and soundly. I believe I read one ESPN analyst state that he might have gone down as one of the best fighters ever had he NOT fought Johnson.
Mann Act (Anti-White Slavery Act), which forbade crossing state-lines with women for immoral purposes. Jack Johnson made a living criss-crossing the U.S. and frequently did so with white prostitutes. He was tried and convicted even before the bill became law. Johnson, once convicted, fled the US and lived abroad through much of his prime fighting career. He finally returned serve his year+1 day jail sentence. President Obama is being pressed right now to posthumously grant Johnson a pardon. A bill to pardon him in 2008, under Pres. Bush passed the House but SOMEHOW failed in the Senate. Why? Who knows... So, for this Independence Day, I think is appropriate to give props to Jack Johnson. I plan on watching the 2005 PBS documentary, "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson", tonight. Enjoy these shots of Melissa.