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I Fight for a LivingBoxing and the Battle for Black Manhood, 1880-1915$
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Louis Moore

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041341

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041341.001.0001

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Race Man or Race Menace?

Race Man or Race Menace?

Pugilists, Patriarchy, and Pathology

(p.44) 2 Race Man or Race Menace?
I Fight for a Living

Louis Moore

University of Illinois Press

Black fighters’ construction of manhood straddled the line between Victorian respectability and sporting manhood. In other words, many tried to emulate their middle-class brothers. Despite spending their leisure time in the sporting culture, when they had a chance most black prizefighters publicly placed themselves as economically responsible patriarchs. They wanted to prove that their manhood went beyond their physicality, on the one hand, and was not solely rooted in the disreputable sporting culture, on the other hand. As part of the black-middle class’s strategy to prove their equality, race men grounded their manhood in thrift and patriarchy. If the pugilist could avoid the perils of the sporting world, he could properly represent the aspirations of the black middle class.

Keywords:   Black middle class, Respectability, Prizefighter, Sporting culture, manhood

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