Jack Johnson

Sport: Boxing
Years: 1897-1938
Today's controversial black athletes have nothing on Jack Johnson. In an era where blacks were regularly lynched for beating up white men or being in relationships with white women, Johnson did both in the public eye. On July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nevada, Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, was challenged for his title by the white former undefeated heavyweight champion, James Jeffries. Prior to the fight, Jeffries said, "I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro." Johnson won by TKO in the 15th round. The champ added even more fuel to the racial tension fire outside of the ring by dating white women outside of it. Johnson was married three times and all of his wives were white. Jeezy said it best...