Galveston in Galveston County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Galveston native Arthur John "Jack" Johnson (1878-1946) was the first African American World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. He grew up in Galveston's East End and honed his fighting skills working on the wharves. During the 1900 storm, Johnson helped his family escape from their home on Broadway. In 1901, he refined his defensive skills with the help of Joe Choynski while in jail for illegal boxing. Johnson won the "Colored World Heavyweight Champion" title in 1903 but was determined to defeat white titleholder Tommy Burns. Though Burns initially refused the match, Johnson pursued him around the world until he finally agreed to fight in Australia in 1908. Johnson's technical knockout in the 14th round led to a search for a "Great White Hope" to retake the title. He defended his title in the 1910 "Fight of the Century" with a knockout of former champion James Jeffries. His victory spawned both riots and celebrations.
In 1912, the U.S. Government indicted Johnson under the Mann Act in an attempt to tarnish him and discourage his interracial relationships. He fled the U.S. and lived in exile for eight years. In 1915, Johnson fought
Erected 2014 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 16682.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights • Entertainment • Sports. A significant historical year for this entry is 1900.
Location. 29° 17.786′ N, 94° 47.676′ W. Marker is in Galveston, Texas, in Galveston County. Marker is at the intersection of Avenue M and 26th Street, on the right when traveling east on Avenue M. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2601 Avenue M, Galveston TX 77550, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Public Education for Blacks in Galveston (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Helen E. Ebert (about 300 feet away); Avenue L Missionary Baptist Church (about 400 feet away); Ursuline Convent in the Civil War (about 700 feet away); Site of Ursuline Convent and Academy (about 800 feet away); James N. Davis House (about 800 feet away); Sweeney-Royston House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Olga Samaroff (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Galveston.
Regarding Jack Johnson. Ken Burns has a two part documentary on this truly remarkable man. I urge you to watch it if you can. He may have been the best boxer of all time but his flamboyant life is the reason to watch. I'm fascinated by him.
Some fight observers thought Johnson, mistakenly believing that the charge against him would be dropped if he yielded the championship to a white man, that is he deliberately lost to Willard. Others who are more knowledgeable on the fight say he was winning for about 8 rounds but age, the 100+ broiling heat and his failure to prepare for the fight did him in by the 20th round.
Also see . . .
1. Houston Chronicle article about Jack Johnson Marker program.(Submitted on September 21, 2014, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas.)
2. Jack Johnson article in the Encyclopedia Britannica. (Submitted on April 26, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.)
3. Jack Johnson in The Handbook of Texas. (Submitted on April 26, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.)
4. Jack Johnson's Pardon by President Trump. (Submitted on August 1, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 21, 2014. This page has been viewed 619 times since then and 58 times this year. Last updated on August 4, 2020. Photos: 1. submitted on September 21, 2014, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas. 2. submitted on July 20, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. 3. submitted on April 26, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. 4. submitted on July 20, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. 5. submitted on August 4, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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