Galveston honors Jack Johnson the ‘Galveston Giant’

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by Ron Trevino/11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 22, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 22 at 8:36 PM

HOUSTON -- The first black heavyweight boxing champion is being honored by the city of his birth.

A Jack Johnson Park is being built behind the Old Central Cultural Center on Avenue M in Galveston. It will have a pavilion and a life-size statue of the boxer.

Johnson's great-niece traveled to the island to hear the announcement.

"To know that the city of Galveston is finally recognizing my uncle, the way he should have always been honored here, I feel great and satisfied," Linda Haywood said.

Johnson was born in Galveston in 1878, and went on to fame and fortune in the boxing ring.

"He wanted to be champion, he worked on the docks, went to school ‘til the 6th grade, and fought and beat everyone around here, and then moved to Chicago," said Douglas Matthews, the coordinator of the park project.

Johnson was convicted on charges related to dating and marrying white women. Efforts continue in

Washington to have the fighter formally pardoned.

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