Jack Johnson Becomes First Black Heavyweight Champion of the World
Jack Johnson won the World Heavyweight Title on December 26, 1908, when he fought the Canadian world champion Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia.
Americans were so outraged by his victory and subsequent domination of the sport that they sought desperately for the "Great White Hope." In 1910 James Jeffries answered the call only to get knocked down by Johnson. The outcome triggered race riots in which at least 23 blacks and 2 whites died across the United States.