The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Literary diversions

On the Fourth of July, 1910, in Reno, Jack Johnson defeated James J. Jeffries to become the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. In 1931, at the age of 53, he was working out every day and spending his evenings at the Maxime,  Central Avenue at 41st Street.

Rex Beach wrote of Johnson's victory: "He who had never been knocked down, was knocked down repeatedly. He who had never been knocked out, was knocked out."

Here's Johnson's version of the fight:

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How did old Jack Johnson wind up? Was the Maxime profitable? Did he wind up broke like so many other fighters? Did he die in LA? He's a great historic figure like an early version of Jackie Robinson.

--Jack Johnson died June 10, 1946, of injuries suffered in a car accident in Franklinton, N.C., after an extremely eventful life.



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