Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line

Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line

Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line

Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line

Synopsis

In his day, Jack Johnson--born in Texas, the son of former slaves--was the most famous black man on the planet. As the first African American World Heavyweight Champion (1908-1915), he publicly challenged white supremacy at home and abroad, enjoying the same audacious lifestyle of conspicuous consumption, masculine bravado, and interracial love wherever he traveled. Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner provides the first in-depth exploration of Johnson's battles against the color line in places as far-flung as Sydney, London, Cape Town, Paris, Havana, and Mexico City. In relating this dramatic story, Theresa Runstedtler constructs a global history of race, gender, and empire in the early twentieth century.

Excerpt

SPARRING NATIONS, GLOBAL PROBLEM

Just six months after my return from a research trip in Paris, France experienced its worst stint of civil unrest since the uprising of May 1968. On 27 October 2005, French police had chased three African teenagers from the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois into a power substation, where two succumbed to electrocution. The deaths of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré produced an eleven-day shockwave of violence and car burning in disenfranchised banlieues (suburbs) all across France, from Lille to Rouen to Nice to Strasbourg. Reportedly, the young men had run away when they saw the officers, fearing that they would be subjected to the police interrogation and harassment customary in their largely immigrant and working-class neighborhood. By 8 November President Jacques Chirac had declared a state of emergency, invoking curfews to help restore order. With copycat violence breaking out in Brussels and Berlin, some European officials even worried that the racial unrest would spread to other countries on the continent.

When the smoke cleared, France was forced to reckon with the origins of this violent rage. While the right-wing minister of the interior (now president) Nicolas Sarkozy denounced the rioters as “scum,” Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was more measured in his assessment of the problem. Villepin blamed some of the unrest on “criminal net-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.