Name: GODFREY, GEORGE ORIGINAL MOUNTED PHOTO (1931)
History: George Godfrey (II) "The Leiperville Shadow" (January 25, 1897 – August 13, 1947) was the ring name of Feab S. Williams, a heavyweight boxer from the state of Alabama who fought from 1919-1937. He named himself after George "Old Chocolate" Godfrey, a Black Canadian boxer from the bare-knuckle boxing days who had been a top name during the John L. Sullivan era. Old Chocolate had been the fourth fighter to reign as World Colored Heavyweight Champion while the second George Godfrey was the 20th fighter to hold the colored heavyweight title. The colored heavyweight title was recognized due to the color bar in pro boxing in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when white champions drew the color line and would not defend the title against a black man. In the heavyweight division, the color bar was adamantly defended by Old Chocolate Godfrey's contemporary, "The Boston Strong Boy", John L. Sullivan. Ironically, it remained in force even after colored heavyweight title holder Jack Johnson won the world's heavyweight title in 1908. Johnson never fought black opponents either, allegedly because such top promoters as Tex Rickard believed that a fight between two black boxers would not draw at the gate. He was also the only man to ever defeat the 7 foot 9 inch giant Gogea Mitu. Because of the color bar in the heavyweight division that continued until the rise of Joe Louis in the 1930s, the second Godfrey Williams never fought for the world heavyweight championship, like the man he had named himself after. He did win the International Boxing Union's version of the world heavyweight championship in 1935, two years before Louis became the second black man to become the universally recognized world heavyweight champ. In the early 30s, as his boxing career began to wane, Godfrey took up wrestling to supplement his boxing career, and at times would feature on mixed wrestling and boxing shows, and would feature in a wrestling match and then a boxing match on the same night. Godfrey also took part in some films in the early 30s, and received much praise for his performances. Offered here is an original, first generation, mounted photograph of George Godfrey, as a wrestler, squaring off with Kid Porphy at the Berkshire Arena on Memorial Day, 1931.
Full description: This is an original, first generation, mounted, antique photo. Photographer stamp for Pitkin Photo on reverse. Bold, clear image. Identified on the mount. Clean. Not creased or torn. Small tack holes in corners. Minor corner wear. 7 3/4" x 10."
Size: 7 3/4 x 10
Categories: Photograph - Wrestling - Heavyweight Contenders
Condition: very good
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