Jack Johnson Individualism

1158 Words5 Pages
Boxing heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson was seen as a threat to America's social, political and economic hierarchy. He broke this status quo, and America’s racism could not contain Johnson's individualism, his self-determination, and willingness to break the deeply held social constructs of that backward time. At the turn of the century, when white supremacy was grasping with the simple idea of free black individuals, they passed laws to incriminate only certain minorities known as Jim Crow laws. These laws targeted black people, to try and keep them under slavish conditions, and Johnson certainly did not play by those same rules or laws. Johnson’s rise to fame could be seen as a deterioration of the white system; especially as he was quickly…show more content…
However, he continued fighting and discovered from an early age, that acquired power and money can get around rules and laws or at least bend them; he lived in forbidden only white areas of the city, drove the fastest modern cars, and wore the finest material of clothing, with the cane and hat to match. In particular, Johnson was notorious for dating outside his race, at a time when a black man caught sleeping with a white women was a criminal offence known as miscegenation: racial interbreeding, these allegations could lead to death by lynching. Again, at this time in history the lynching of black human beings were at the highest numbers due to a barbaric cultish hatred, and Johnsons unfearful attitude did not care for society’s ignorant rules. He proudly displayed a discontent for authority and this does not sit well with public opinion, with the newspaper outlets as their vocal platform to throw tantrums and smear Johnsons fighting style, despite the contradictory stance of white fighters copying Johnson’s same techniques, and not a peep or negative remark from the same papers. Jack Johnson showed his self-restraint and was a great sport about their hateful language, as he…show more content…
The day was set for July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nevada, it was promoted as the “Fight of the Century”. According to Johnson’s account, it was a perfect day to fight. Jefferies was the crowds choice to win. Jefferies and Johnson boxed for 14 rounds and from the looks of Jefferies, it was obvious that he would lose, and he did. By the next day, July 5th, Johnson’s winning sparked nationwide race riots, countless Americans were killed. On the same day, newspapers warn black Americans not to celebrate Johnsons winning, or to not feel puffed up by his dominance in the ring, as they had nothing to do with his winning. This twisted idea of white race superiority was feeling it’s loosening grip of its societal system and they hated it. Jack Johnson had won the physical fight, but would lose to the white laws, as they were put into place to capture Johnson violating the Mann Act; transporting white women across state lines for immoral reasons (sex). If the white man can not have the title, they will defeat Johnson somehow. Johnson tries to avoid the jail time by escaping to Europe, but as his money runs out, becoming unhealthy overtime, and options do not pan out as he thought he would, he takes a fight against another white hope, in order to come back to the U.S. he must take the fight.
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