Cafe de Champion

41 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616, US

Category: Arts and Culture

Used in the following map:

Labor Trail

On July 12, 1912, black boxer Jack Johnson opened the Cafe de Champion. In 1910, Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion of the world, and a hero to the black masses, when he beat James J. Jeffries, one of a string of "great white hopes." Johnson famously refused to conform to conventional racial stereotypes, which demanded that a famous black man like Johnson act submissively in public, and avoid even the appearance of a relationship with a white woman. On the contrary, Johnson spoke his mind in public and married three times to white women. His second marriage to Lucille Cameron caused an uproar, and the federal government ultimately charged Johnson with a violation of the Mann Act, a 1910 law that banned transportation of white women across state lines for "immoral purposes." Facing prosecution, Johnson and Cameron fled to France, and the Cafe de Champion ultimately closed.