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Do You Know These African-American Pioneers?

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BlackHistory,JackJohnson

Jack Johnson (1878-1946)


Jack Johnson was the first black boxer to be world heavyweight boxing champion. A dominating fighter, Johnson held the title for seven years, even as he was the target of persistent, unrelenting racism, which often found its form in boxing promoters' search for a "great white hope" to dethrone him. Johnson has recently garnered renewed attention thanks to Ken Burns's 2005 documentary, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, based on the book by Geoffrey C. Ward.

Next: Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952)

More on: Black History Month

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