KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – This weekend we offer up a video of a boxing match, because anything goes in our Weekend Video series.
Nova Scotia’s George Dixon was what you call a trailblazer. First Black boxing champion, period. First champ to regain his title after losing it. First person to be champion of more than one weight class. We’re talking late 1800s, early 1900s.
Dixon was born in Africville, in 1870, and moved to Boston at a young age.
You can only imagine the racism Dixon had to endure.
“What Dixon did was not only significant from an athletic standpoint, but also a social and cultural standpoint. What he did and when he did it was so significant, that to have that (racism) as a steady drumbeat made it all the more pointed and poignant,” Steven Laffoley tells Chronicle Herald reporter Ian Fairclough in 2012. Laffoley is the author of Shadowboxing, a book about Dixon (still available in your local bookstore or a public library near you).
In a time when newspapers were prone to quoting Black boxers by giving them voices and language that reinforced the stereotypes of the time, “he was the only boxer I could come across who was given a very articulate voice again and again in an interview. I thought that was very significant. He must have been a very impressive person when meeting him,” Lafolley tells Fairclough.
Dixon died in 1908, much too young, impoverished and sick.
I found this video on a wonderful website, I am Africville, dedicated to Africville’s long and splendid history.
Check it out.
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