Boxing Shoes Worn By Billy Banks

Object Details

Between 1935 and 1950
leather, cotton
left shoe (a): 8 1/2 × 3 3/4 × 10 3/4 in. (21.6 × 9.5 × 27.3 cm)
right shoe (b): 8 × 3 3/4 × 10 3/4 in. (20.3 × 9.5 × 27.3 cm)
Cite As
Gift of the Banks, Johnson, and Saunders families.
This pair of boxing boots belonged to DC Hall of Fame boxer William “Billy” Banks (1921-2006), a professional featherweight and lightweight boxer from Washington, DC who fought locally and regionally in the 1930s and 1940s. He is recognized as the first African American boxer to break the segregation line in boxing in Washington, DC, when he fought an undercard fight against Joe Sole at Griffiths Stadium on June 19, 1940, a fight he won. The fight was one of two that night that desegregated boxing with the city.
Often referred to as a gentleman and a role-model in the press, Banks transitioned into managing local boxers in the late 1940s and early 1950s after he retired from fighting. He worked in the federal government during his fighting career, and later opened a men’s clothing store on U Street in the early 1950s. He subsequently owned and managed several restaurants and bars in the city, including Chuck and Billy’s Bar and Grill on Georgia Ave near Howard University.
Accession Number
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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
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