We present an excerpt from an outstanding, exclusive feature on the period jack Johnson spent in exile – in this week’s issue of Boxing News magazine, out on our app and in stores on Thursday (January 7).
FROM the moment he lost his title to a primitive “White Hope” in an equally primitive ring set up in Cuba, Jack Johnson, renegade, dandy, scourge of America, where, to his everlasting misfortune, interracial marriage was banned in several states, was a burnt-out case. Even before losing to Willard and relinquishing his status as “The Black Avenger”, Johnson had sent a telegram to his mother in Chicago that read in part: “I AM TIRED OF KNOCKING AROUND.”
Johnson had been wandering through fugitive days for years, ever since fleeing Chicago in 1913 after being convicted of violating the Mann Act, a federal law meant to curb prostitution but occasionally used to enforce Bible Belt virtue by prosecuting celebrities with libertine tastes. And Johnson was a staunch devotee of lowlife: Although he ran a lavish club in Chicago, his preferred milieu was brothels. And his preferred company? Prostitutes, usually more than one at a time and, to the dread of many Americans, white prostitutes.
TO READ THE FULL FEATURE, DOWNLOAD THE LATEST EDITION OF BOXING NEWS MAGAZINE HERE NOW OR BUY IT FROM STORES ON THURSDAY (January 7).