Monday 26 November 2012

Papa Jack

This photograph reminds me of a priceless anecdote that I’ve heard told by Professor Randy Roberts, author of the magnificent biography PAPA JACK: Jack Johnson and the Era of the White Hopes (1983).

Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world, was driving down Jim Crow South in his usual speed limit-defying way. A white traffic cop stops him and tells him that he’s way over the limit and fines him $50 (or so). Johnson then takes out a roll of dollar notes and hands the cop a crisp & pristine looking $100 bill. Stupefied, the cop calls out to Johnson:

“Hey! I can't give you no change.”

And Johnson, without missing a beat responds:

 “Don’t worry Missa Offisah, keep tha change, I’ll be passing tha same way I came through!” 

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