Galveston Giant" was born on March 31, 1878 and left school in fifth grade to work on the docks and later as a sparring partner. He won his first title in 1903 becoming the World Colored Heavyweight Champion. The current champion, James J Jeffries, refused to fight him, but in 1908 he gained the World Heavyweight Championship over Canadian Tommy Burns. White anger over an African American man holding the title led author Jack London to call for a "Great White Hope" to fight Jackson, and Jeffries came out of retirement for a bout on July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nevada.
Rioting followed Jackson's win, causing films of boxing matches to be banned until 1940 in fear that they would cause further unrest, and former President Theodore Roosevelt -- a boxer himself -- called for a complete ban of the sport. Jackson eventually lost his title to Jess Willard in 1915 after being knocked out in the 26th round of a 45-round fight.
His life was depicted in the movie "The Great White Hope" and in the PBS documentary "Unforgivable Blackness".
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