Jack Johnson: Victim or Villain

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Title: Jack Johnson: Victim or Villain
Author: Williams, Sundee Katherine
Advisors: Dr. Walter Jackson, Chair
Dr. Linda McMurry, Co-Chair
Dr. Pamela Tyler, Co-Chair
Abstract: Jack Johnson reigned as the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world from 1908 until 1915. Unfortunately, unlike future African-American athletes such as Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson, Jack Johnson infuriated Americans of all ages, classes, races, and sexes with his arrogant attitude; his expensive and usually imported automobiles, champagne, and cigars; his designer clothes and jewelry; his frequent trips to Europe, usually in the company of at least one beautiful white woman; his inclination to gamble and race sports cars; and his many well-publicized nights of dancing and playing jazz on his prized seven foot bass fiddle. However, his worst offenses, during his reign as heavyweight champion, were his two marriages to and numerous affairs with white women. The purpose of the research has been to place Jack Johnson within the context of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century culture, economics, law, politics, race, and sex. The influences of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century American commercialization, immigration, industrialization, and urbanization on perceptions of femininity, masculinity, sexuality, and violence are investigated; and the implications of Jack Johnson's defiance of racial and sexual constraints on the African-American community are interpreted.
Date: 2000-11-15
Degree: Master of
Discipline: History
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2147

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