Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Filmfest 2005

Jack Johnson was 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. The film 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. "Johnson in many ways is an embodiment of the African-American struggle to be truly free in this country - economically, socially and politically", said Burns. "He absolutely refused to play by the rules set by the white establishment, or even those of the black community. In that sense, he fought for freedom not just as a black man, but as an individual."

tags: Documentary


Director: Ken Burns