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On This Day: Jack Johnson is first African American to win heavyweight title

On Dec. 26, 1908, Jack Johnson, with a 14th-round KO of Tommy Burns in Australia, became the first African American to win the world heavyweight boxing title.

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UPI Staff
On December 26, 1908, Jack Johnson, with a 14th-round KO of Tommy Burns in Australia, became the first African-American to win the world heavyweight boxing title. File Photo by Library of Congress/UPI
On December 26, 1908, Jack Johnson, with a 14th-round KO of Tommy Burns in Australia, became the first African-American to win the world heavyweight boxing title. File Photo by Library of Congress/UPI

Dec. 26 (UPI) -- On this date in history:

In 1776, American forces under Gen. George Washington, having crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night, defeated Hessian mercenary troops fighting for the British at the Battle of Trenton, N.J.

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In 1908, Jack Johnson, with a 14th-round KO of Tommy Burns in Australia, became the first African-American to win the world heavyweight boxing title.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed an order giving the federal government control over operation of U.S. railroads for the duration of World War I.

In 1966, the first Kwanzaa, created by Maulana Karenga, was observed. The seven-day holiday celebrates African and African-American history and culture.

File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

In 1972, Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States, died at age 88.

In 1974, legendary comedian Jack Benny died of cancer. He was 80.

In 1990, Nancy Cruzan, the focus of a right-to-die case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, died in a Missouri hospital.

In 1996, child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, 6, was found slain in a basement room of her family's Boulder, Colo., home.

In 2003, more than 26,000 people were killed and thousands injured when an earthquake struck the ancient city of Bam in southeastern Iran.

In 2003, the death toll was reported at 135 after a Boeing 727 crash in the West African country of Benin.

In 2004, an earthquake-triggered tsunami raced across the Indian Ocean with 40-foot-high waves slamming into India, Thailand, Indonesia and several other countries, killing at least 225,000 people and leaving thousands injured. It was one of the world's worst natural disasters.

File Photo by Jon Gesch/U.S. Navy

In 2006, Gerald R. Ford, 38th president of the United States, died at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at the age of 93.

In 2010, a suicide explosion that killed at least 46 people at a U.N. food distribution point in Pakistan was set off by a teenage girl, an official reported.

In 2012, China opened the world's longest high-speed railway connecting Beijing to the southern city of Guangzhou.

File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

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