Five black athletes targeted by FBI for being black

Five black athletes targeted by FBI for being black

At one point in recent U.S. history, it didn’t take much for a black athlete to get noticed by the FBI. Athletes like Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith and John Carlos had FBI records for opposing racism when segregation and subjugation were the norm.

It turns out that a black athlete didn’t really need to do much to be considered a potential threat back then. All he had to do was succeed. Here are the stories of five black athletes targeted by the FBI – some without ever knowing it.

Jack johnson

In 1908, Jack Johnson became the world’s first African-American boxing champion, which made him a clear target of all-white law enforcement. His crime? To be black, better at boxing than literally everyone else, and to dare to go out publicly for white women. Race relations were taboo at the time, and Johnson’s penchant for flaunting his relationships …

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