The World Colored Heavyweight Championship, 1876–1937


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About the Book

For six decades the World Colored Heavyweight Championship was a useful tool of racial oppression—the existence of the title far more important to the white public than its succession of champions. It took some extraordinary individuals, most notably Jack Johnson, to challenge “the color line” in the ring, although the title and the black fighters who contended for it continued until the reign of Joe Louis a generation later. This history traces the advent and demise of the Championship, the stories of the 28 professional athletes who won it, and the demarcation of the color line both in and out of the ring.

About the Author(s)

Mark Allen Baker, business executive and author of hundreds of articles and more than 25 books, is the only person to serve the International Boxing Hall of Fame as an author, historian, chairperson, sponsor, volunteer and biographer. He was accorded a Lifetime Award of Merit by the State University of New York in 2022, and inducted into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame in 2023.

Bibliographic Details

Mark Allen Baker
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: 52 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7765-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3987-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 3
One. Clearing a Path 7
Two. The Core Four 19
Three. The Black Prince 38
Four. King of the Battle Royal 50
Five. Crafty Texan 60
Six. Colorado Giant 74
Seven. Galveston Giant 84
Eight. The Idol of Paris 103
Nine. Joseph “Joe” Jeremiah Jeannette 116
Ten. Boston Tar Baby 128
Eleven. The Black Panther 146
Twelve. “Big” Bill Tate 164
Thirteen. The Leiperville Shadow 174
Fourteen. The Toronto Terror 183
Fifteen. Bearcat Obie 192
Sixteen. Driving the Last Spike 199
Appendix A. Roster of Pool Fighters 203
Appendix B. World Colored Heavyweight Championship and Timeline—Selected Entries 216
Appendix C. World Colored Heavyweight Champions & Associated Members of the International Boxing Hall of Fame 224
Chapter Notes 225
Bibliography 243
Index 247

Book Reviews & Awards

• “A fascinating book on a subject that has barely been chronicled in the annals of boxing. …The World Colored Heavyweight Championship, 1876-1937, just may be his best. …[an] informative and wonderful book…Mark Allen Baker has that rare knack of sending the readers back in a Wellsian Time Machine into the musty arenas of yesteryear to bear witness to stirring pugilistic battles….Baker takes no prisoners in his indictment of the white Heavyweight Champions who used the ‘Color Line’ to cover up their own racist ideals, or just plain cowardice….superb…Mark Allen’s book is filled with men who used their fists and fought with honor who were the real deal. Their stories deserve to be told, and Mr. Allen rises up to the task with flying colors….highly recommended”—The USA Boxing News

• “Rich in historical insight, thoroughly researched, and enhanced by many photographs, Baker’s extraordinary The World Colored Heavyweight Championship, 1876-1937, is a book to read, savor and discuss. It’s a book dealing with a crucial time in boxing and simultaneously is a lesson in American history.”—IBRO Journal