8.3/10
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12 user 6 critic

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004)

The story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American Heavyweight boxing champion.

Director:

Ken Burns
Reviews
Won 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Johnson Jack Johnson ... Self (archive footage)
Keith David ... Narrator (voice)
Samuel L. Jackson ... Jack Johnson (voice)
Adam Arkin ... Other Voices (voice)
Philip Bosco ... Other Voices (voice)
Kevin Conway ... Other Voices (voice)
Brian Cox ... Other Voices (voice)
John Cullum ... Other Voices (voice)
Murphy Guyer ... Other Voices (voice)
Ed Harris ... Other Voices (voice)
Derek Jacobi ... Other Voices (voice)
Carl Lumbly ... Other Voices (voice)
Amy Madigan ... Other Voices (voice)
Carolyn McCormick ... Other Voices (voice)
Joe Morton ... Other Voices (voice)
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Storyline

The story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American Heavyweight boxing champion.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They couldn't knock him out, so they tried to tear him down.


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jack Johnson: I have found no better way in avoiding race prejudice than to act with people of other races as if prejudice did not exist.
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Connections

Referenced in Sports Jeopardy!: Episode #1.49 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Vieux Carre
Written by Tony Parenti
Performed by The New Black Eagle Jazz Band
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User Reviews

 
Perfect
30 September 2006 | by douglasgreenbergSee all my reviews

What a perfect documentary. What a master Ken Burns is. Unforgivable is the story of the indestructible Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, whose legendary style downed even the toughest white contenders inside the ring, and sent almost every white American into a frenzy of racial contempt for him, outside the ring.

Jack Johnson is such a rich subject; it seems we could never tire of him. He was the rags to riches American dream. He was the champ who repulsed an entire generation of whites - refuting their fundamental belief that blacks were by nature inferior beings. He was the pioneer that paved the way for future black athletes, who had formerly been relegated to Negro leagues. And he was the social trailblazer as well, integrating with whites in unprecedented and often dangerous ways.

Now Burns has reconstructed his life in and outside the ring through this wonderful collection of photos, interviews, film reels and archival documents. In short, I've seen no other documentary that so pungently depicts the black struggle to be accepted, and indeed, free in America.


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Details

Official Sites:

PBS [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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