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Breakthroughs In The Sports Arena

African American Jack Johnson defeated Canadian Tommy Burns in 1908 in the World Boxing Championship. This initiated the quest to find a "Great White Hope" to defeat Johnson. James Jeffries, a leading white fighter, came out of retirement to answer the challenge. Johnson won their fight on July 4, 1910. News of Jeffries's defeat ignited numerous incidents of white violence against blacks. However, black poet William Waring Cuney captured the exuberant African American reaction in his poem, "My Lord, What a Morning":

O my Lord

What a morning,

O my Lord,

What a feeling,

When Jack Johnson

Turned Jim Jeffries'

Snow-white face

to the ceiling.