The Resource Unforgivable Blackness : The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

Unforgivable Blackness : The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

Label
Unforgivable Blackness : The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Title
Unforgivable Blackness
Title remainder
The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Contributor
Film director
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Jack Johnson ? the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World, whose dominance over his white opponents spurred furious debates and race riots in the early 20th century ? enters the ring once again in January 2005 when PBS airs Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, a provocative new PBS documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns. The two-part film airs on PBS Monday-Tuesday January 17-18, 2005, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). Burns, whose past films on PBS (The Civil War, Baseball, JAZZ, etc.) are among the most-watched documentaries ever made, shows the gritty details of Johnson's life through archival footage, still photographs, and the commentary of boxing experts such as Stanley Crouch, Bert Sugar, the late George Plimpton, Jack Newfield, Randy Roberts, Gerald Early and James Earl Jones, who portrayed Johnson in the Broadway play and film based on Johnson's life, "The Great White Hope." "Johnson in many ways is an embodiment of the African-American struggle to be truly free in this country ? economically, socially and politically," said Burns. "He absolutely refused to play by the rules set by the white establishment, or even those of the black community. In that sense, he fought for freedom not just as a black man, but as an individual." Johnson, who was born in 1878 in Galveston, Texas, began boxing as a young teenager in the Jim Crow-era South. Boxing was a relatively new sport in America, and was banned in many states. African-Americans were permitted to compete for most titles, but not for the title that whites considered their exclusive domain: Heavyweight Champion of the World. African-Americans were considered unworthy to compete for the title ? not for lack of talent, but simply by virtue of not being white. Despite this, Johnson was persistent in challenging James J. Jeffries ? the heavyweight champion at the time, who was considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight in history ? for a shot at the title. For 14 years, Johnson had made a name for himself as well as a considerable amount of money with his ability to beat black and white opponents with shocking ease. Jeffries, however, refused to fight a black boxer and instead decided to retire undefeated. Then in 1908, after defeating most other white opponents, the new champion Tommy Burns agreed to fight Johnson in Australia for the unheard of sum of $30,000. In the 14th round, after beating Burns relentlessly, the fight was stopped and Johnson became the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World. In Unforgivable Blackness, Johnson biographer Randy Roberts observes, "The press reacted [to Johnson's victory] as if Armageddon was here. That this may be the moment when it all starts to fall apart for white society." His victory spurred a search among whites for a "great white hope" who could beat Johnson and win back the title. They finally found him in Johnson's old nemesis, Jim Jeffries, who decided to return from retirement and give Johnson the fight he had always wanted. This fight was especially important to Johnson, because many whites had dismissed his claim to the title as invalid; Burns, it was argued, was never the true champion because he didn't win the title by beating Jeffries. No one had beaten Jeffries, and most thought he was certain to reclaim the title for whites. The Johnson-Jeffries fight, dubbed the "Battle of the Century," took place on July 4, 1910, in Reno, Nevada. Johnson knocked out Jeffries in the 15th round. Johnson's victory sparked a wave of nationwide race riots across in which numerous African-Americans died. Newspaper editorials warned Johnson and the black community not to be too proud. Congress eventually passed an act banning the interstate transport of fight films for fear that the images of Johnson beating his white opponents would provoke further unrest. Perhaps even more troubling for white America than Johnson's dominance over his white opponents in the boxi
Cataloging source
CaSfKAN
Characteristic
videorecording
Date time place
Originally produced by PBS in 2005
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorDate
1953-
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Burns, Ken
Runtime
213
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Johnson, Jack
  • African American boxers
  • Discrimination in sports
Target audience
adult
Technique
live action
Label
Unforgivable Blackness : The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Link
http://kanopy.com/node/136625
Instantiates
Publication
Note
Title from title frames
Antecedent source
unknown
Carrier category
online resource
Carrier category code
  • cr
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Configuration of playback channels
unknown
Content category
two-dimensional moving image
Content type code
  • tdi
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
unknown
Extent
1 online resource (2 video files, approximately 213 min.)
File format
unknown
Form of item
online
Governing access note
Available to cardholders of participating libraries only
Level of compression
unknown
Media category
  • video
  • computer
Media MARC source
  • rdamedia
  • rdamedia
Media type code
  • v
  • c
Medium for sound
other
Other physical details
digital, .flv file, sound
Publisher number
1136624
Quality assurance targets
not applicable
Reformatting quality
unknown
Sound
sound
Sound on medium or separate
sound on medium
Specific material designation
  • other
  • remote
System control number
  • (CaSfKAN)kan1136624
  • (OCoLC)908377685
  • 1129147
System details
Mode of access: World Wide Web
Video recording format
other
Label
Unforgivable Blackness : The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Link
http://kanopy.com/node/136625
Publication
Note
Title from title frames
Antecedent source
unknown
Carrier category
online resource
Carrier category code
  • cr
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Configuration of playback channels
unknown
Content category
two-dimensional moving image
Content type code
  • tdi
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
unknown
Extent
1 online resource (2 video files, approximately 213 min.)
File format
unknown
Form of item
online
Governing access note
Available to cardholders of participating libraries only
Level of compression
unknown
Media category
  • video
  • computer
Media MARC source
  • rdamedia
  • rdamedia
Media type code
  • v
  • c
Medium for sound
other
Other physical details
digital, .flv file, sound
Publisher number
1136624
Quality assurance targets
not applicable
Reformatting quality
unknown
Sound
sound
Sound on medium or separate
sound on medium
Specific material designation
  • other
  • remote
System control number
  • (CaSfKAN)kan1136624
  • (OCoLC)908377685
  • 1129147
System details
Mode of access: World Wide Web
Video recording format
other

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