Update: This reading was rescheduled to April 2, due to winter weather in February. This conversation was re-broadcast on Sounds Good, April 1.
In 2013, Penguin Books published Adrian Matejka's book about the flamboyant boxer Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world who held the title from 19088 to 1915. The book received the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award recognizing its important contribution to the understanding of racism and human diversity. Writing for Boston.com of The Boston Globe, John Freeman says that Matejka's voice is that of the boxer: "The gold-toothed, Shakespeare-loving, womanizing child of ex-slaves talks jive, taunts opponents, and muses philosophical about the American condition: 'When I clinch a man/it's like being swaddled in forgiveness.'" Kate Lochte visited with Matejka about The Big Smoke ahead of his reading Thursday night at Murray State.