On December 26, 1908 in Sydney, Australia, John Arthur “Jack” Johnson became the first African American Heavyweight Boxing Champion when he won over Tommy Burns in a 14th round technical knockout. Johnson was born on March 31, 1878 in Galveston, Texas. Johnson was born to former slaves and experienced extreme racism in his journey to world champion and after winning the belt. Johnson’s first fight as a professional fighter came on November 1, 1898 when he knocked out Charley Brooks in Galveston.
Johnson would go on to be known as one of the greatest boxers in American sports history. He died on June 10, 1946 at age 68 after being involved in an automobile accident on US 1 Highway near Franklinton, NC.