Johnson in 1915


Nickname (s): Galveston Giant

Weight: Heavyweight

Height: 6ft 11.2 inches (1.84m)

Reach: 74in (188cm)

Born: Galveston, Texas, U.S

Died: June 10, 1946 (aged 68), Franklinton, North Carolina, U.S.

Stance: Orthodox

Boxing Record

Total Fights: 95

Wins: 72

Wins by K.O: 38

Losses: 11

Draws: 11

No contests: 3

Forty five miles south of Houston Texas lies Galveston, Texas. It is an island where a great deal of Texas history began. In 1528, an explorer named Cabeza De Vaca was ship recked on the island. His party found the Karankawa Indians whom had lived there for many years. The most horrific event took place when the tragic storm of 1900 devastated the island. However, On March 31, 1878 the town of Galveston was blessed with whom would become one of the greatest African American in the history of the United States. A Black man who defied JIM CROW during the 1800’s when lynching black people was common.

John Arthur Johnson nicknamed the “Galveston Giant” was an American boxer who became the first African American world heavyweight champion (1908-1915). He is widely regarded as one of the most influential boxers in history, and fight against James J. Jeffries was dubbed the “fight of the century”. According to film Ken Burns, “for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African American on Earth “. Transcending boxing, he became part of the culture and history of racism in the United States.

In 1912 Johnson opened a successful and luxurious “black and tan” (desegregated) restaurant and nightclub, which in part was run by his wife, a white woman. Major newspapers of the time that Johnson was attacked by the government only after he became famous as a black man married to a white women, and was linked to other white women. Johnson was arrested on charges of violating the MANN ACT • forbidding one to transport a women across state lines for “immoral purpose;’• a racially motivated charge that embroiled him in controversy for his relationships, including marriages with white women. Sentenced to a year in prison, Johnson fled the country and fought boxing matches abroad for seven years until 1920 when he served his sentence at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth.

Johnson continued taking paying fights for many years, and operated several other businesses, including lucrative endorsement deals. He died in a car crash on June 10, 1946 at the age of 68. He is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. ON MAY 24, 2018, Johnson was formally pardoned by U.S. President Donald Trump.