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Jack Johnson (Boxer) Park & Statue
During his reign as champion, Jack Johnson became quite the trouble maker outside of the ring where he was constantly breaking laws that didn't appease him. He often went well over the speed limit in towns and paid the fines in cash. His biggest problem, in the eyes of the people of that time, was that he was fascinated with white women. This interracial mingling of white and black was not only unacceptable, but also illegal. As a result, Johnson found himself in trouble with the law over the matter and was actually sentenced to a year in prison for violating the Mann Act, which was the illegal act of transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes. He would flee the country to avoid this sentence, but eventually came back to serve his punishment.
Despite all of his success against incredible odds, Galveston couldn't accept Johnson because of his actions outside of the boxing ring. They often discredited him and didn't really want to be apart of his legacy of being the first black World Heavyweight Champion. In later years, around 1980, the town made some small attempts to recognize the life of Jack Johnson by naming a street and giving Johnson a statue in his honor. Unfortunately, the street was a rough one that even the most die hard fan wouldn't want to visit, and the statue was not taken care of and became the victim of vandalism. Fast forward to 2012, Galveston has finally decided to honor Johnson in an appropriate way by giving him a park and a new statue, one that sits directly behind the Old Central Cultural Center.
SourcesUnforgivable Blackness [Motion picture]. (2005). Hoinski, M. (2012, June 30). A Century Later, Galveston’s Nod to Jack Johnson. Retrieved April 23, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/us/galveston-pays-tribute-to-jack-johnson-100-years-later.html?_r=0 Flatter, R. (n.d.). Johnson boxed, lived on own terms. Retrieved April 23, 2015, from https://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00014275.html
Galveston, Texas 77550
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