The War on Jack Johnson: Boxing's First Black Heavyweight Champion Versus the World

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The “talented tenth”. That’s who W.E.B. Du Bois thought would make the difference for black people of the United States. The success of writers, poets and musicians in the Harlem Renaissance did much to support his theory. Booker T. Washington, meanwhile, was convinced that gradual betterment of circumstance could be achieved through self-improvement and co-operation, and consequently founded the Tuskegee Institute to teach practical skills to African Americans.

Boxer Jack Johnson couldn’t give a damn for the perception of the black community, he knew exactly what he was, how much he was worth, and how he could prove it. The American dream had been built on the bleeding backs of slave labor, but Johnson—The Galveston Giant—built his own American dream with his wits and with his fists.

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