BOOK REVIEWTracy Callis
THE FIRST BLACK BOXING CHAMPIONS Essays on Fighters of the 1800s to the 1920s Edited By Colleen Aycock and Mark Scott
This splendid new book contains a collection of fifteen career sketches of outstanding black fighters of the past, a number of whom went on to win titles, and several who would have but never got the chance.
The fighters discussed are -- Tom Molineaux, George Godfrey (Old Chocolate), Peter Jackon, George Dixon, Bobby Dobbs, Joe Gans, Dave Holly, Joe Walcott, "The Dixie Kid" (Aaron Brown), Jack Blackburn, Sam Langford, Jack Johnson, Thomas "Speedball" Hayden and Battling Siki. What a magnificent collection of fighters and articles !
The following description is on the amazon and McFarland websites --
This volume presents fifteen chapters of biography of African American and black champions and challengers of the early prize ring. They range from Tom Molineaux, a slave who won freedom and fame in the ring in the early 1800s; to Joe Gans, the first African American world champion; to the flamboyant Jack Johnson, deemed such a threat to white society that film of his defeat of former champion and "Great White Hope" Jim Jeffries was banned across much of the country. Photographs, period drawings, cartoons, and fight posters enhance the biographies. Round-by-round coverage of select historic fights is included, as is a foreword by Hall-of-Fame boxing announcer Al Bernstein.
The lives of these men are discussed along with circumstances under which they lived and competed, special happenings that they experienced, their overall ring careers and particular fights - along with the conditions that surrounded these contests. Events are placed in their proper historical perspective with the result that much more than the usual biographical sketches about great boxers is presented. Much research obviously went into the writing of the essays and they definitely accomplish their goals of informing the reader about these men.
The book, itself, is a beautiful piece of work due to the fighter selections, the format/layout and general organization, the many rare photos, the physical size of the book, the number of pages, etc. An excellent job of editing was done too by Aycock and Scott. Without a doubt, readers will come away with a better knowledge of the life styles, socio-economic circumstances and physical skills of these pugilists.
This book includes endnotes for each chapter, nice photo images, an Appendix: The Great Fights, Round-By-Round (synopses of five famous bouts), a bibliography, brief biographical sketches of the contributors (the writers of contained articles - Tony Triem, Douglas Cavanaugh, Clay Moyle, Kevin Smith, etc.) and an index.
Colleen Aycock's father was a professional fighter during the Depression. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a contributor to other publications on the history of boxing. Mark Scott, a novelist and former Golden Gloves boxer, lives in Austin, Texas. He is a contributor to other publications on the history of boxing.
To order this book, visit the websites amazon and McFarland
The McFarland Order Line is 800-253-2187
From McFarland --
302 pages, hardcover (7 x 10), $45.00
110 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Print ISBN : 978-0-7864-4991-0
EBook ISBN: 978-0-7864-6188-2
THE FIRST BLACK BOXING CHAMPIONS
Review courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization
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