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Galveston Historical Foundation Unveils New Portrait of Boxer Jack Johnson May 2010

Galveston Historical Foundation Unveils New Portrait of Boxer Jack Johnson May 2010

Galveston Historical Foundation Unveils New Portrait of Boxer Jack Johnson Limited-Edition Prints of First African-American World Champion Benefits GHF African American Heritage Committee Initiatives

By Galveston Historical Foundation Staff

A new portrait of Galveston native and first African-American World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Johnson will be unveiled at a free public reception at Galveston Historical Foundation’s Ashton Villa on May 28 to be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Signed and numbered prints will be sold at the reception for $100 each. The portrait, commissioned by Hitchcock Stringfellow Orchards owners Samuel and Doris Collins, was painted by Robert Hurst. Hurst has been the official artist for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco for 13 years. He will be a special guest at the reception, as will Jay Black of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Samuel Collins is chairman elect of Galveston Historical Foundation’s African-American Heritage Committee.“

The unveiling will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ‘Fight of the Century,’” said Collins, referring to the July 4, 1910 boxing match in Reno, Nevada, in which Johnson defeated Jim Jeffries, successfully defending the world championship Johnson won two years earlier in a battle with Tommy Burns in Australia.Collins is one of three Texas advisors to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He and his wife restored the Henry Martyn Stringfellow home in Hitchcock. Stringfellow became an internationally known experimental horticulturalist before his death in 1912.“My wife and I are donating 50 of the 150 limited-edition prints to Galveston Historical Foundation to benefit activities of the foundation’s African-American Heritage Committee,” Collins said. “The painting is based on photographs of Jack Johnson that appear in “Unforgivable Blackness,” a book about his life.”Hurst will retain 50 prints, Collins and his wife will retain 50, and the couple will donate 50 for sale by GHF, Collins said.“ We are grateful for the Collins’ generous donation and elated that the portrait of one of Galveston’s most famous natives will be unveiled at Ashton Villa,” said Dwayne Jones, GHF executive director.

Johnson was born in Galveston on March 31, 1878, and is known to have worked as a longshoreman on the city’s waterfront before launching his professional and controversial boxing career. He died in June 1946 at age 68. Johnson was the third child of six children and the first son born to former slaves Henry and Tina “Tiny” Johnson. Johnson was inducted into the U.S. Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954 and into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1971.

Jack Johnson Portrait Unveling Schedule:

May 28, Ashton Villa, Galveston, Texas 4 p.m.: Welcome and Greetings from GHF 4:05: Introduction of Artist 4:07: Artist Robert Hurst Speaks 4:15: Painting unveiled/question and answer period 4:35: Prints go on sale 4:50: Closing remarks 5:00: Program ends

Southwest Regional National Trust Advisor Samuel Collins is actively involved in historic preservation projects in Arkansas, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Colorado. Currently, Mr. Collins is developing and interpreting historic properties in his hometown of Hitchcock, Texas.

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