Analysis of Themes in the Film "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson"

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“Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson,” is a documentary on the first black World Heavyweight Boxing Champion John Arthur “Jack” Johnson. In 1910, after years of trying to challenge white Heavyweight Champions, Jack won the title. The era in which Johnson fought was filled with racial tension and hostility (Film). Fears of the black race gaining control and power were high, and there were numerous efforts to keep blacks oppressed and separated from the white community. When one hears stories of past discrimination and oppression it is natural to compare them to today's society, and speak of past oppression as if they are non-existent. Even though there have been uprisings and revolts among minority groups to gain …show more content…
This victory followed by riots, referred to as “race warfare” in several cities throughout the United States and racial tension was at a high. Congress witnessed what was happening throughout the country and tried to in act certain laws to stop Johnson from fighting and more importantly dating white women. Congress first tried to ban the famous fight movie that showed Johnson winning. They felt showing this movie would not only give blacks a certain level of moral and ammunition to fight against white oppression, but it also represented a symbolic defeat to the white race (Film). The ban did not stop Johnson from fighting, so Congress turned to the newly enacted Mann Act to try to convict Johnson. The Mann Act made it illegal to transport women for illicit and immoral purposes. They first tried convicting Johnson due to his relationship with his current girlfriend (and later wife), Lucille Cameron. Lucile did not cooperate and eventually charges were dropped. Investigator then turned to Johnson's former girlfriend Belle Schreiber, she complied with the investigation, and later testified against Johnson. Jack was found guilty, but escaped to France before being sentenced to prison (Film). Word War I broke while Johnson was in France, which halted the lucrative boxing matches in which he made his money. Johnson tried returning to the United States, stating that what he was accused of happened before the enactment of the
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