[The Big Smoke reading group]
In "Color Line" from Adrian Matejka's The Big Smoke, Jack Johnson explains that he has no plans to give Sam Langford, another black boxer, an opportunity to fight him. According to Johnson, "there is no money colored / fighters mixing it up." Thus, Johnson has no incentive to compete again Langford, whom Johnson had apparently easily defeated in the past.
Usually discussions about the "color line" concentrate on the separation between black people and white people. Ironically in this poem though, Matejka addresses how "business" can lead to distance between a black boxer and another black boxer.
No doubt, people have their opinions about Johnson based on this poem. But let's consider something different. Based on this poem, what's one thought you had about the larger implications of the "color line" or prominent racial boundaries?