Sport (Years Played): Boxing (1897-1938)
After becoming the first black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson faced the undefeated white boxer James Jeffries in 1910. Before they met in the ring, Jeffries took a personal jab at Johnson saying that he was "going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro." But in the 15th round of their match, Jack knocked his opponent out and handed Jeffries the first loss of his career. The result triggered riots across the U.S. #talkischeap #getoffme
Johnson was one of the first celebrity athletes, with a lucrative side career endorsing various products; he was also famous for dating white women. In 1913, he was convicted on trumped up charges of transporting a woman across state lines for "immoral purposes," and after living in exile for 7 years, returned to the U.S. and served 10 months in prison. Efforts continue to obtain him a posthumous presidential pardon.