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BLACK HAMLET OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS
Finis Farr
June 15, 1959
BEGINNING the extraordinary story of Jack Johnson, the Negro fighter whose brilliant skill won for his race the first championship of the world, and for himself a life of spectacular excess and ultimate tragedy
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June 15, 1959

Black Hamlet Of The Heavyweights

BEGINNING the extraordinary story of Jack Johnson, the Negro fighter whose brilliant skill won for his race the first championship of the world, and for himself a life of spectacular excess and ultimate tragedy

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To say that Jack Johnson was unrepentant is to state only part of his feelings. Judge Carpenter had made it plain that he would not have been sentenced to jail, or perhaps even convicted, if he had been white. In bitter resentment Johnson now thought of England and Europe, where he had made easy money and behaved as he pleased. He decided to jump bail and leave the U.S. forever. Sending Lucille on ahead, Johnson and Gus Rhodes boarded a train at Englewood Station, carrying bags of bats and posing as members of a Negro baseball team bound for Canada. They got off in Hamilton, Ont., joined Lucille in Toronto and left Montreal on July 1, 1913 on board the Carinthia bound for Le Havre.

"Well, the cable's cut," said Johnson, as the liner put out to sea. "We're the three musketeers!" cried Lucille. The other passengers took no such romantic view of the Johnson party, and it was announced that the champion and his companions would eat in their staterooms on the voyage. When the news reached Chicago, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Elwood Goodman made what has today the sound of a rather unfeeling remark. "This may solve the whole affair," said Goodman. "The passengers may mutiny and heave him away on an iceberg." Johnson could shrug off that sort of talk, but he was considerably alarmed when he looked out at Le Havre and saw a detachment of French police drawn up on the pier. It was a relief to learn they were only there to control the crowds who had come to stare at the world's most famous fugitive from justice. But he was to see a great deal more of the police during the next seven years.

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