Jack Johnson: Champ on the Circuits

African American heavyweight champ Jack Johnson (born this day in 1878), whose life is the subject of the excellent 1970 fictionalized bio pic The Great White Hope made frequent appearances in vaudeville, especially after his boxing career was finished following a prison sentence for violation of the Mann Act. In the years previous to his death he actually lectured at Hubert’s Museum, the legendary Times Square side show.  He was killed in a car wreck in 1946

To learn more about vaudeville, including athlete performers like Jack Johnson, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous

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