Boxer Jack Johnson's wife Etta Duryea

In October 1909, while attending the Vanderbilt Cup car race on Long Island, Johnson had a chance meeting with a 28-year-old Brooklyn society woman named Etta Duryea. She was glamorous and well-educated, and played the piano and sang, but was prone to depression. According to the New York World Duryea was "elegantly dressed and slender, with dark hair, large dark eyes, and a lovely sad smile." She'd quickly become a favorite among white "sporting men" in New York since separating from her husband two years earlier. Before long, she was Jack Johnson's favorite. But Belle Schreiber and Hattie McClay resented her, fearful that they would soon be displaced. For her part, Duryea expected better treatment than the other women in Johnson's life and expected faithfulness. She could not handle Johnson's continued infidelity, his abusive behavior and the hostile reaction of the public, and her bouts of depression gradually deepened.