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Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Unforgivable Blackness- The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.jpg
dvd cover
Directed byKen Burns
Produced byPaul Barnes
Ken Burns
David Schaye
Written byGeoffrey C. Ward
Narrated byKeith David
Music byWynton Marsalis
CinematographyStephen McCarthy
Buddy Squires
Edited byPaul Barnes
Erik Ewers
Florentine Films
Distributed byPBS
Release date
January 17, 2005
Running time
214 Minutes
220 Minutes (DVD version)
CountryUnited States

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson is a 2005 biographical documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns, based on the 2004 nonfiction book of the same name by Geoffrey C. Ward. It describes the life story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World It also describes racism and social inequality during the Jim Crow era, against which Johnson struggled.

The documentary was first broadcast on PBS in two parts, on January 17 and January 18, 2005. It is narrated by Keith David,[1] with a soundtrack by Wynton Marsalis and with Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of Jack Johnson.[2] Alan Rickman also contributed his voice to the documentary. Stanley Crouch appears, offering commentary, including a quote from Johnson responding to a question from a white woman about black people, "We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts."

This documentary is an example of a style frequently used by Burns, where a range of authorities gives voiceovers to contribute particular details. Stanley Crouch is the primary authority, offering personal recollections.[3]

In 2005, the film earned Ken Burns an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming. Geoffrey C. Ward won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming. Keith David won an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance.[1]

The film was produced by David Schaye, Paul Barnes and Ken Burns (Executive Producer) for Florentine Films.

See also

The Great White Hope, Howard Sackler's 1967 dramatization of Jack Johnson's life.


  1. ^ a b The Hollywood reporter: Volume 395. 2006
  2. ^ About time: Volumes 32-34. 2004, page 12.
  3. ^ Grindon, Leger (2007-10-22). "Q & A: Poetics of the Documentary Film Interview". The Velvet Light Trap. 60 (1): 4–12. doi:10.1353/vlt.2007.0014. ISSN 1542-4251.

External links

External links

This page was last edited on 27 December 2020, at 15:59
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