JACK WALKER : ITALIAN-CONGOLESE CHAMPION BOXER OF THE 1920″S

This vintage real photo postcard features boxer Jack Walker (Leone Jacovacci). His story is fascinating. He was born in Pomba (Belgian Congo) in 1902. His father was an Italian agronomist and his mother was Congolese.  At age three, his father took him away from his mother and went to Italy where he left Jack to be raised by grandparents. Jack’s dad returned to the Congo. The child was a victim of racism in Italy so at sixteen years of age, he went to work as a “cabin boy” on a British ship. After arriving in England, he changed his name to John Douglas Walker, thinking the English name would help him be more socially accepted. He enlisted and served in the British army. Upon discharge, he learned to box in England and began his fighting career. During his boxing career he weighed about 150 pounds and his height was 5″ 10″. His final record as a fighter was 21 Wins, 22 Losses, and 5 Ties. His official record is thought to be incomplete. He began boxing in 1920 and his career ended in 1932. His fights were in Europe. He fought in England, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Austria, Denmark, and Spain. He fought using Italian citizenship and became the Middleweight Champion of Europe. Despite a number of successes in the ring, Jack never was accepted in Italy the way he would have liked. The racist and fascist society did not allow him to really feel like a full Italian citizen or enjoy the fruits of his boxing successes. After ending his boxing career, he became a wrestler for a few years and moved to France. He was trapped there through World War II. His companion, Berthe Salmon, changed her last name to avoid being identified as Jewish. Berthe gave birth to their only child, a daughter. Post war, he worked for the United Nations and assisted refugees. Later he was employed as a bit player in the Italian film industry. In his old age, he worked as an apartment doorman and janitor. Walker died in Milan, Italy in 1983. This postcard was published by Dix, a company located in Paris. Apparently, they published a series of portraits of boxers of the day. The Cabinet Card Gallery has another postcard from the series (Pierre Calloir: French Bantam Weight).  SOLD