Against Fight Pictures: Jeffries-Johnson

by Laurel | July 7th, 2009

[Note: The “Fight of the Century” between James J. Jeffries and Arthur J. Johnson took place on July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nevada, triggering race riots all over the United States. Holyoke was quick to move against any potential for trouble by taking a stand against the screening of the documentary film that followed. Congress, by the way, banned prizefighting films as a result from 1912 – 1940. Image below courtesy Wikipedia commons. ]

Johnson - Jeffries Fight, 4 July 1910

July 7, 1910, page 10
Against Fight Pictures
Improvement Association to Take the Matter Up at Once.

Agitation has been started in the city against allowing moving pictures of the Jeffries-Johnson prize fight to be shown. E. N. White, president of the civic improvement association, when asked last evening if the matter would be brought before the association, said that it would be turned over to the moving picture committee of the association to pass upon. Holyoke has only a few colored people as residents, and while there would be little danger on this account of creating race troubles, yet the exhibition of such pictures can hardly be called elevating or educational, and if omitted from the moving picture bills of fare the city would be the gainer. It is probable that strong efforts will be make to keep them out of the city, but whether they can legally be kept out if the theatres wish to present them is a question which will have to be decided later. This matter will be up to the mayor, as should a request to the moving picture theatres that these films be barred out be disregarded, it would be in the mayor’s power to revoke the license for the show. That the acting mayor will have the same power would seem probable.

[Excerpted from the Springfield Republican.]

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