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The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
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Unforgivable Blackness
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PBS

Jack Johnson -- the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World, whose dominance over his white opponents spurred furious debates and race riots in the early 20th century -- enters the ring once again in UNFORGIVABLE BLACKNESS: THE RISE AND FALL OF JACK JOHNSON a provocative new PBS documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns.

The film follows Jack Johnson's remarkable journey from his humble beginnings in Galveston, Texas, as the son of former slaves, 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.

Burns, whose past films on PBS (The Civil War, Baseball, JAZZ, etc.) are among the most-watched documentaries ever made, shows the gritty details of Johnson's life through archival footage, still photographs, and the commentary of boxing experts such as Stanley Crouch, Bert Sugar, the late George Plimpton, Jack Newfield, Randy Roberts, Gerald Early and James Earl Jones, who portrayed Johnson in the Broadway play and film based on Johnson's life, "The Great White Hope."

Comments (2)

Anonymous picture
Jerry

Did Hitler pattern his treatment of the Jew after U.S. treatment of African-Americans?

Anonymous picture
Gisele