From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Mitchell, Jim "The Black Panther"

(born: 1911) 

Jim "The Black Panther" Mitchell was a popular wrestler said to be from Louisville, KY, as well as several other locations. He began wrestling in the late 1930s. He was a regular in Southern California. Mitchell was the first African American in modern professional wrestling. During the initial years of his career, he wore a mask and kid gloves, and he was only allowed to wrestle Japanese and Hindu wrestlers. He did away with the mask in the 1940s. In 1949, he fought against Gorgeous George and was declared the loser. There were audience members who felt that Gorgeous George had delivered cheap shots and bad sportsmanship, and a riot erupted at the Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. A rematch was attempted in the early 1950s. Jim Mitchell continue to wrestle until about 1955, he is listed among the greatest top ten Black Wrestlers. For more see "Coda: Gorgeous George Versus the Black Panther" in The Great Black Way by R. J. Smith; Black Stars of Professional Wrestling by J. L. D. Shabazz; and "Jim Mitchell" in Jet, 12/25/1952, p.64.

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Great Black Way : L.A. in the 1940s and the lost African-American Renaissance
NKAA Source: Black stars of professional wrestling
NKAA Source: Jet (periodical)

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“Mitchell, Jim "The Black Panther",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-11-28 02:08:30