Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jack Johnson and the Cartoonists

TEXAS NATIVE Jack Johnson had traveled as far as he could fighting Negro boxers, and the reigning champion in 1903, Jim Jeffries, refused to fight a colored boxer. When Jeffries retired the championship went to Tommy Burns, a tough scrapper born near Hanover, Ontario. For two years Johnson chased Burns round the world by automobile, railroad, and tramp steamer, until the champion agreed to fight him in Sidney, Australia in 1908. 

After 14 grueling rounds, on 26 December, the police reluctantly ended the fight to avoid Burns being beaten to death. Jack Johnson was the first black heavyweight champion of the world. Johnson was no obsequious champion, he considered himself the equal of any white man in the world, and he rubbed their noses in it every time he opened his mouth. He dressed like a king, flaunted his white girlfriends, and drove all over the country in expensive automobiles. He was a godsend to the cartoonists from the day he began coveting the hitherto all-white championship of the world.
On 5 May 1929 cartoonist Tad Dorgan was escorted to his grave by about 40 people, mostly from the newspaper profession. Also accompanying him were Duck and Spensi, his two adopted Chinese boys, Jack Doyle, head of the National Billiard Association, Gene Buck, songwriter, Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, a boxer, and ex-champion Jack Johnson. This was so unusual for the time that Johnson’s presence topped Dorgan’s name in many of the headlines over accounts of the funeral.

26 Dec 1908 by unknown cartoonist
26 Dec 1908 by Bob Edgren
31 Jan 1909 Bow
13 Mar 1909 Fitzmaurice
March 1909 Leet
1 July 1910 Condo
12 Nov 1912 Cory

See also 
Jack Johnson Remembers HERE 
The Fight of the Century HERE.

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