The fight of the century , 100 years ago today

BEVERLY HILLS, USA - 100 years ago today The fight of the century between former boxing heavyweight champ James J Jeffries, and Jack Johnson, is being celebrated at the newly inaugurated Jack Johnson Private Membership Club in Reno, where the historical bout took place. Jack Johnson, whose parents were born slaves, became the first black world heavyweight boxing champion, after winning the epic fight with Jeffries, which led to race riots across America.

In the minds of many Americans the historical match up would determine whose country America really was. Black Americans, although no longer slaves, were still unable to vote in much of the country. There were thousands of blacks still being hung in defiance of their right to freedom throughout the southern states. This Victory gave them hope that America could finally become equal. On July 29, 2009, the US Congress passed a resolution calling on President Obama to issue a pardon.  The First Black President of the United States born of a white mother and black father was urged by senator John McCain and others to sign a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, who in his lifetime had been arrested and jailed several times for having relations with white women.

The iconic moment gave hope to a generation to fight their way towards a more just, and fair society. The hopes and aspirations that Johnson had, gave him the courage to defy the odds of history. A documentary film of the Jeffries-Johnson fight was distributed internationally, and in 1912 the US congress banned prizefight films. The ban was subsequently lifted 28 years later, and the documentary has since entered the National Film Registry . Audiences today crave for inspiration and purpose in an ever-changing world and films are a centerpiece for bringing hope and courage.

Human rights activist Deb Fines, who is championing the event, is resurrecting the memory of Jack Johnson's legacy and intends to make a biopic to inspire the next generation of Black Americans to never give up on their dreams.

The Fight of the Century is a reminder that black Americans had a major impact on the evolution of American society, and today people can be inspired to see how they   can change the next 100 years . As civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr would say, Free At Last!

Contributing author Teressa Raiford :

film industry network members