/ K. / Society & Its Pathologies / Social Order /
On July 4, 1910 Jack Johnson beat Jeff Jeffries, retaining his world heavyweight boxing title, humiliating Jeffries and driving racist passions into a frenzy. On July 5, all over the country, perhaps all around the world, race riots erupted. Some blacks pushed whites on the streets, venting centuries of frustration. Watch carefully now: Ken Burns’ doc on the subject quotes media around St Louis without emphasizing its irony: I do however emphasize it:
|Squads of patrolmen clubbed the negroes into “order”.|
Notice the racist meaning of “order” here. Order is not something the people form by their behavior; order is something imposed: by terrorism: tactics that work 99.999% of the time: so when they cease working, even for a few hours, even mere minutes, something fantastic has happened. Jack Johnson!
I’ve been a huge Jack Johnson fan since I found a boxing magaine with a JJ biography in the NCO lounge in Camp Drum (now Fort Drum), summer of 1963. Little Lord Fauntleroy did a damn good job here (except for how he still overplays his couple of racial-experts card. PBS could really benefit from a few yards less of Stanley Crouch and James Early. Wynton Marsalis’s music though was for sure great.
2016 09 14 It’s a day later. I’m taking my time with this doc. There are jewels that Burns leaves out of this crown, I’ll wait till I seen the whole of both disks before I complain or add. I know a fair amount about JJ. My Camp Drum boxing bio was very good, covered a lot, but I’ve studied other sources since then: a great subject. Bravo bio. Other stars in the roster too. Excellent Ali tie in.