The first “Fight of the Century” ended when Jack Johnson defeats Jim Jeffries 113 years ago, on July 4, 1910. When the first ever Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion humiliated “Jim Jeffries the “Great White Hope” it caused social, political and psychological upheaval worldwide. As a result, local and state politicians passed laws to suppress publicly showing motion pictures of the battle. Attempting to conceal Jeffries’ loss was an act intending to censor the idea of Black Supremacy. We see a similar act, though covert, attempting to suppress the idea of melanin being worth more than gold.
It seems because Jack Johnson defeats Jim Jeffries, he had attacked the entire variety of the human species who refers to themselves as “white.” Take, for instance, this exchange between Jack Johnson and caricaturist Kate Carew from an interview conducted just before the bout:
Carew: What do you think of the popular theory that in beating Mr. Jeffries you were demolishing the supremacy of the white race?
Johnson: why I haven’t got much patience with that kind of talk ma’am. said Mr. Johnson with lazy good humor. “I kinder think the white race will get along with its finance and its architecture and it lterchoor and wireless telegraphy just as well as if Mr. Jeffries had beaten me instead of me beating Mr. Jeffries. The greatest fighting animal known is a gorilla. It’s so strong and savage that a grown up one was never captured alive. If a gorilla was shut in a room with me and Mr. Jeffries, ma’m, [sic] it would kill us both, but that wouldn’t prove that the gorilla race was better than the human race.”Johnson tells Kate Carew The Richmond palladium and sun-telegram. [volume] (Richmond, Ind.), 31 July 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86058226/1910-07-31/ed-1/seq-6/>