Sometimes you have to step outside the curriculum for a day and explore a time period in a more personal, riveting way. I promise students will find this activity utterly fascinating, and learn quite a bit about the intense overt and structural racism of Jim Crow America in the early 1900's. Jack Johnson was "unapologetically Black", and his refusal to bow to the racist expectations of white America while he battered the "Great White Hope's" they threw at him in desperate attempts to "reclaim the heavyweight title for the white race" enraged white America. Unable to beat him in the ring, federal and state authorities teamed up to arrest him on trumped up charges, derailing his career.
I highly suggest reading part 1 out loud with students. It is so entertaining. At the end, there is a cliffhanger as he is about to battle the "Great White Hope" for the world title. I included a link to fight footage, and times for the clips to watch. Students love it! After the video, read part 2 as a class, which traces his downfall after the highs of winning the title.
Finally, to bring this giant to life, students create a 6-panel cartoon of his life, giving this legend the superhero status he deserved in life. Your students will remember this story for the rest of their lives.