Peter Jackson, the "Black Prince"
On this date in 1861, Peter Jackson was born. He was an African American boxer.
The "Black Prince,” a heavyweight, was from the West Indies, and as a youngster moved to Australia. His boxing career began in 1882 in Melbourne, Australia, shortly after he used his fists to put down a shipboard mutiny. The incident was reported in the press and soon boxing promoters were after him. In 1886, Jackson won the Australian heavyweight title by knocking out Tom Leeds in the 30th round. He found it difficult to get opponents in Australia, so he moved to the United States in 1888 and fought his way across the country.
His trip extended to England, but it was back in the U.S. in 1891 where the boxer's legend was struck. John L. Sullivan (then) heavyweight champion, would not fight him, saying he would not box against Negroes. However, James "Gentleman Jim" Corbett did. On May 21, at the California Athletic Club in San Francisco, they fought for 61 rounds and the bout was finally ruled a draw. In his autobiography, Corbett wrote that Jackson could have beaten any heavyweight Corbett ever saw.
Back in England in 1892, Jackson won the British Empire championship with a second-round knockout of Jem Smith, and then defended the title with a 10th-round knockout of Frank Slavin. In that bout, however, Jackson suffered two broken ribs that punctured a lung. He retired for six years, but staged an ill-fated comeback in 1898. James J. Jeffries and Jim Jeffords knocked him out. Three years later, on July 13, 1901, in Roma, Queensland Australia, he died of tuberculosis, contracted from his 1892 lung injury.
He is buried in Toowong Cemetery where his friends erected a monument to the boxer. Jackson’s lifetime Ring Record was 23-3-5, 17 KO's.
Boxing Album: An Illustrated History
by Peter Brooke Bell
Smithmark Publisher, 1995
Today in American History