Gene Tunney

Heavyweight Title Gene Tunney Weighs in on "the Negro problem," Pre Civil Rights Movement

Heavyweight Title Gene Tunney weighs in on "the Negro problem"

 

Two page typed letter signed, 7.25" x 10.5," on Stamford Building Company, Office of the President, Stamford Ct. letterhead. Dated "April 8, 1949," and signed by Gene Tunney as "Gene."

 

An incredibly unique letter written by this world heavy weight champion, who is waxing on his theories and opinions of "the Negro problem." By this point in Tunney's life he had become Chairman of the Urban League Fund-raising Campaign for 1949, an organization "dedicated to the education of the citizens of the United States on the Negro problem, which in a word means equal opportunity in industry in accordance with their educational preparation and fitness."

 

Tunney who was considered a 'thinking fighter' during his boxing days (who preferred to make a boxing match into a game of chess) presented quite a detailed personal analysis about American prejudice towards blacks. His proceeded to rant his opinion on American Negros, Aristotle and Lincoln all in one-go, shown in part below:

 

"You put your finger on the very part of the difficulty when you mention education. Much of our prejudice toward color comes from ignorance.

 

Actually, the American Negro is no more like his African cousins or the natives of the land from whence he came that we are like Neanderthal men. The American Negro, without exception, has a good infusion of white blood. Also the American Negro is a development of physical selection. Woman slaves were serviced by men slaves, just as mares of the race track are serviced by great sires. This accounts for much of the physical superiority of the Negro.

 

The intelligent man's objection to the Negro as a companion is not based upon the color of his skin, but largely on his cultural immaturity. The American Negro as a group will be accepted by Americans just as soon as he proves his equality culturally and spiritually.

 

Aristotle said, "The worst injustice is to treat two unequal things equally." That is what racial legislation would mean. You cannot legislate morality and character. What happened during the Reconstruction Period was the fruit of ignorance. Senator Thaddeus Stevens was living with a Mulatto and his love for her was only equal to his hatred for the Confederates. He was the instigator of all those dreadful performances of the carpetbaggers and laws giving the illiterate, unprepared for citizenship, freed slaves the right to vote. Had Lincoln lived, the change would have been more evolutionary than Thaddeus Steven's revolution. Lincoln made the great sociological bull of history when he said, "All men are created equal". Men are not created equal. Not one percent of the people of the world are gifted with brains enough to contribute to the progress of the world. As a matter of fact, less than one-half of one percent even give us scientific inventions and cultural advancement. Men are born equal only in their opportunity for eternal destiny …"

 

Tunney's long philosophical prose leaves a lot to reflect. It is especially unique given the period in US history which was before the Civil Rights movement of the late 50's and early 60's. Equally thought provoking is that Tunney, more than others perhaps, would encounter "American Negros" in his everyday work environment as a boxer, giving him a unique perspective that the average American could never have. But Gene Tunney was equally unique in the boxing ring, known as a thinking fighter who preferred to make a boxing match into a game of chess, (which was not popular during the times when such sluggers as Jack Dempsey, Harry Greb and Mickey Walker were commanding center stage). Tunney was never knocked out, while only ever being knocked down once, that in his second fight with Dempsey in the infamous Long Count. This makes him one of only five Heavyweight champions, (alongside Marciano, Bowe, Ibragimov, and Valuey) to retire without ever suffering a stoppage defeat.

 

An amazing letter from what would appear at first blush to be an unlikely person to proselytize this progressive philosophy. However it does accomplish its intent, which in that time period of US history is astounding. From Heavy weight title holder, to championing his personal beliefs, Gene Tunney was true fighter!

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Item: 64408

Price: $750.00
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Gene Tunney
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