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Topics in Chronicling America - Jack Johnson vs. James J. Jeffries

Jack Johnson wins the "Battle of the Century" against James Jeffries on July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nevada. The fight between Johnson and Jeffries sparked nation-wide response, including both celebrations and riots. Johnson was the first African American Heavyweight Champion of the World, and held the title until 1915. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
Picture of the fight from The San Francisco Call, July 06, 1910, Image 9

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Important Dates:

  • July 4, 1910: The "Battle of the Century," takes place in a stadium built specifically for the fight in Reno, Nevada where Jack Johnson (Galveston Giant) defeats Jeffries (The Boilermaker) to become the first African American Heavyweight Champion of the World.
  • July 5, 1910: Johnson’s victory after the fifteen round bout ignites race riots and celebrations across the nation.
  • 1908-1915: Jack Johnson reigned as the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Suggested Search Terms:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Jack Johnson, James J. Jeffries (James Jeffries, Jim Jeffries), Big Fight

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  February 11, 2013
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