JACK JOHNSON AND THE MANN ACT

There’s a Rembrandt on the wall
of the Cabaret de Champions
purchased by Jack Johnson
when he boxed overseas

a portrait of Jack Johnson
and his white wife by Clarkson
in oils of black and white
for all the world to see.

The greatest fighter of that time
was a black man named Jack Johnson
he defeated every single
White Hope they could find.

The white folks used to riot
at the gall of that uppity Negro
the supremacy of the white race
was riding on the line.

They done him wrong
they didn’t want Jack Johnson’s kind around
so they had to use the Mann Act of 1910
to finally bring him down.

The Mann Act was written
in the early nineteen hundreds
to stop the transportation
of whores across state lines

designed to catch white slavers
it soon became a handy tool
of the crooked politicians
and their personal designs.

The lowest blow was struck
on the suicide of his dear wife
his enemies surrounded him
and drew out their sharp knives

a white girl named Belle Schreiber
the daughter of a policeman
testified that Jack Johnson
took her across state lines.

They done him wrong
they didn’t want Jack Johnson around
so they had to use the Mann Act of 1910
to finally bring him down.

 

(unrecorded, published in QUADRANT)