Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion of the world, is the subject of a new documentary by the well-regarded filmmaker Ken Burns. The program recently aired for the first time on PBS, and this companion website offers a number of primary documents, short essays, and educational materials that will be of great interest to the Web-browsing public and educators seeking to use the documentary in the classroom. On the site, visitors can learn about the life of this rather remarkable man, and also learn about the broader social and cultural milieu of the times in which he found himself, both in terms of race relations and in terms of the history of the sport of boxing. One particularly well-developed feature here is the section that deals with “The Fight of the Century”, which pitted Johnson versus Jim Jeffries, who at that point was the retired white heavyweight champion of the world. The site is rounded out by a number of lesson plans and additional resources (such as books and other online sites) for educators.
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