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Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962 / Martin, Johnes

The Historical Journal

Swansea University Author: Martin, Johnes

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Abstract

This article provides new insight into the study of race relations and British identity by exploring attitudes to black boxers in the post-war period. With a formal colour bar on British championships operating until 1948, boxing had long been a site where racial prejudice and discrimination were ar...

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Published in: The Historical Journal
ISSN: 0018-246X 1469-5103
Published: Cambridge University Press
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa52440
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first_indexed 2019-10-15T14:31:52Z
last_indexed 2019-10-17T14:22:37Z
id cronfa52440
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spelling 2019-10-17T10:39:19.7128230 v2 52440 2019-10-15 Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962 8aa6d8da22a168889f76c9a5a6e5fa84 0000-0001-9700-5120 Martin Johnes Martin Johnes true false 2019-10-15 AHIS This article provides new insight into the study of race relations and British identity by exploring attitudes to black boxers in the post-war period. With a formal colour bar on British championships operating until 1948, boxing had long been a site where racial prejudice and discrimination were articulated and casually applied. But it was also a rare space where black men could be spoken about, discussed and celebrated without primary reference to their colour. This article argues that boxing reflected and contributed to the complex ways in which black people were received in British society. Small in number and generally not regarded as a threat to sport or wider society, British-born black boxers in the late 1940s were often accepted and celebrated. But as immigration increased during the 1950s and 1960s, and professional boxing declined as an industry, poor treatment and marginalisation became more common, especially for boxers from the Caribbean and West Africa. Above all, boxing highlights the ambivalence in racial attitudes that meant that even the most popular black fighters were rarely fully embraced as British heroes. Journal Article The Historical Journal Cambridge University Press 0018-246X 1469-5103 boxing, race, Britishness, national identity, racism, immigration 0 0 0 0001-01-01 COLLEGE NANME History COLLEGE CODE AHIS Swansea University 2019-10-17T10:39:19.7128230 2019-10-15T09:45:21.8613376 College of Arts and Humanities History Martin Johnes 0000-0001-9700-5120 1 Matthew Taylor 2 0052440-17102019103619.pdf 52440.pdf 2019-10-17T10:36:19.2570000 Output 198442 application/pdf Accepted Manuscript true 2019-10-16T00:00:00.0000000 Released under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License (CC-BY-NC-ND). true eng
title Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962
spellingShingle Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962
Martin, Johnes
title_short Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962
title_full Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962
title_fullStr Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962
title_full_unstemmed Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962
title_sort Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962
author_id_str_mv 8aa6d8da22a168889f76c9a5a6e5fa84
author_id_fullname_str_mv 8aa6d8da22a168889f76c9a5a6e5fa84_***_Martin, Johnes
author Martin, Johnes
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institution Swansea University
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1469-5103
publisher Cambridge University Press
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hierarchy_top_title College of Arts and Humanities
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hierarchy_parent_title College of Arts and Humanities
department_str History{{{_:::_}}}College of Arts and Humanities{{{_:::_}}}History
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description This article provides new insight into the study of race relations and British identity by exploring attitudes to black boxers in the post-war period. With a formal colour bar on British championships operating until 1948, boxing had long been a site where racial prejudice and discrimination were articulated and casually applied. But it was also a rare space where black men could be spoken about, discussed and celebrated without primary reference to their colour. This article argues that boxing reflected and contributed to the complex ways in which black people were received in British society. Small in number and generally not regarded as a threat to sport or wider society, British-born black boxers in the late 1940s were often accepted and celebrated. But as immigration increased during the 1950s and 1960s, and professional boxing declined as an industry, poor treatment and marginalisation became more common, especially for boxers from the Caribbean and West Africa. Above all, boxing highlights the ambivalence in racial attitudes that meant that even the most popular black fighters were rarely fully embraced as British heroes.
published_date 0001-01-01T19:45:58Z
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