December 4. The American boxer Jack Johnson made history
by becoming the first black to hold the world heavyweight championship.
He knocked out the reigning champion, Canadian Tommy Burns - and
delivered a body blow, too, to America's deeply racist sporting
he turned pro 11 years before his big win, Johnson had repeatedly
encountered discrimination and even been denied purses. However,
a bizarre turn of events gave the black boxer the last laugh,
and enduring fame. During the First World War, British troops
were especially wary of a heavy-calibre German shell which delivered
a huge punch and burst with a big cloud of black smoke. It was
promptly nicknamed "the Jack Johnson".
April 7. Herbert Asquith became the Liberal Prime Minister
following the resignation of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman due
to ill health. The new Prime Minister appointed Winston Churchill,
then a Liberal MP, to his first cabinet.
August 12. In Detroit, the Ford Motor Company unveiled
something called the Model T. It looked awkward and angular but
this was the car that would become the world's favourite, selling
more than 16 million. "You can have it in any colour, so long
as it's black," said Henry Ford. He wasn't joking. In its early
days, the Model T came in that colour because black was the only
paint that dried quickly enough to keep up with production.
April 1. The Territorial Force, later known as the Territorial
Army, was launched by the war secretary Lord Haldane. With a huge
navy to defend her, Britain had never needed a big, continental-style
army. Haldane's job was to ensure that the small, but highly professional,
British Army could be quickly reinforced in time of war. His solution
was to bring together all the old county militias and yeomanry
regiments and to create new brigades of "weekend warriors."
August 31. An old cricketer left the crease - the legendary
Dr W G Grace retired from first-class cricket at the age of 60.
The majestically-bearded former England and Gloucestershire captain,
an intimidating 6ft 2in and 16 stone, had scored over 54,000 runs.
He had played for England until he was past 50.
Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Newcastle United 3-1 in the
FA Cup final.
West Bromwich Town Council considered installing "swings
and other things" to amuse children following a spate of
stone-throwing incidents in Dartmouth Park.
Mr W H Ilee of Stourbridge was presented with a Royal Humane
Society award for saving a child in the river at Lye. The
medal was pinned on "amid enthusiastic cheers," reported
the Express & Star.
"Discontent and rumour" reported among miners in Pelsall
concerned at alleged mismanagement of their union.
Walsall Education Committee heard that the school nurse
had inspected 9,884 children during the year, discovering
cases of lice, ringworm and other vermin.
Wolverhampton. Builders reported "excellent progress" on
the Queen-Square improvement scheme.