Unforgivable Blackness: Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson was definitely no ordinary boxer, nor was he an ordinary individual. He was possibly the most feared African American of his generation, at a time when many whites still felt that African Americans were supposed to be inferior. Unforgivable Blackness is about a man who overcame the oppression of the Jim Crow South, in order to become not only a great boxing champion, but a legendary and motivational icon. Author Geoffrey C. Ward well documents the struggles, battles, and obstacles of Jack Johnson, both inside and outside of the boxing ring. He also documents ways that Johnson overcame those obstacles.
The way I see it, Ward’s main point of writing Unforgivable Blackness was to show that as people, we will face obscurity, but our legacy will be determined by we choose to overcome the obscurity that we face. He clearly makes his point throughout the entire book by using Jack Johnson as an example. Ward says that “nothing- no law or custom, no person white or black, male or female- could keep him for long from whatever he wanted” (4). That sentence from Ward accurately describes this entire book. In my opinion, that is the kind of attitude we should all have when facing life’s obstacles.
First, I will discuss the obstacles that Jack Johnson faced as a child. Johnson faced trials and tribulations at an extremely young age. In fact, we could say that his problems started with the obstacles that his parents faced. Both of his parents, Henry and Tina Johnson, were ex slaves. Also, his father suffered from an atrophied right leg (5). However, his father was always ready to overcome his shortcomings. Ward says “Despite his injury, despite the fact that he could not read and that neither he nor his wife could write, Henry Johnson never failed to find ways to support his family” (6). This leads me to believe that it was his was father that Jack gained his overwhelming confidence from....