Ken Burns: American Lives

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

  • Season 1
  • , Episode 6  | 
  • Aired: 1/17/2005
    • Length: 14:07:47
    • Plays: ???
Synopsis >

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson tells the story of the first African-American boxer to win the most coveted title in all of sports and his struggle, in and out of the ring, to live his life as a free man.  This riveting two-part documentary follows Jack Johnson's remarkable journey from his humble beginnings in Texas, as the son of a former slave, to his entry into the brutal world of professional boxing, where, in turn of the century Jim Crow America, the heavyweight champion was an exclusively white title.  Despite the odds, Johnson was able to batter his way up through the professional ranks, and in 1908 he became the first African-American to earn the title Heavyweight Champion of the World.

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