Peter Jackson was one of the best boxers of his time, winning the Australian heavyweight title in 1886.
Though a fighter by profession, he was calm, collected, his demeanor dignified. In the ring he was methodical. Outside of it he stood proud of his race and fought back against discrimination. With force if he had to, but he never used his strength and brawn to bully.
From his success in Australia he moved to the U.S. looking for fighting challenges. But racism hindered his opportunities.
As his boxing life waned, Peter became an actor, touring with the stage production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the role of Uncle Tom. When speaking about considering the part, he said, “if Uncle Tom is a success, I intend to play it, but it does not do to be too confident.” And he approached the role with a diligent perspective that “acting is like everything else, it needs practice.”
Deteriorating health took him from the ring and the stage and at the young age of 40 he passed away from tuberculosis.
His friends chose to emblazon his tomb with the phrase: “This was a man.”
Sources: Up against the Ropes: Peter Jackson As “Uncle Tom” in America by Susan F. Clark, The morning call. January 30, 1893, Page 3 (https://bit.ly/2XRXwZN), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Jackson_(boxer), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Jackson_boxer_1889.jpg