The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
By Geoffrey C. Ward
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780375710049, 492pp.)
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
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In this vivid biography Geoffrey C. Ward brings back to life the most celebrated — and the most reviled — African American of his age.
Jack Johnson battled his way out of obscurity and poverty in the Jim Crow South to win the title of heavyweight champion of the world. At a time when whites ran everything in America, he took orders from no one and resolved to live as if color did not exist. While most blacks struggled simply to exist, he reveled in his riches and his fame, sleeping with whomever he pleased, to the consternation and anger of much of white America. Because he did so the federal government set out to destroy him, and he was forced to endure prison and seven years of exile. This definitive biography portrays Jack Johnson as he really was--a battler against the bigotry of his era and the embodiment of American individualism.