His grandfather was a white man who owned the plantation on which he was born. His grandmother was one of the plantation’s slaves. His mother was half Cherokee Indian. He was the eleventh of fifteen children. His father, a butcher, went to St. Louis to earn money to bring the family north. When they arrived, they all moved into a three-room house. He was born Henry Jackson, but during his boxing career he was known as Henry Armstrong, Homicide Hank, or Hurricane Hank. He worked with the railroad when he was young because he’d heard that’s how Jack Dempsey got into training.

AOWM – October 29