New York State Legalizes Boxing 1920
The Walker Law, adopted in the state of New York under the leadership of James J. Walker, the state senate speaker, was the first significant U.S. legislation concerning the sport of boxing. The bill made professional boxing legal in New York, and its set of boxing regulations, largely drafted by William Gavin, an English promoter, served as a model for similar legislation in other states. The New York State Athletic Commission was also founded under the statute, which has remained autonomous and continues to publish its own list of world boxing champions.
James J. Walker (1881–1946)
James J. Walker (born June 19, 1881, New York City—died Nov. 18, 1946, New York City), flamboyant mayor of New York City (1925–32), a frequenter of Broadway theater and upper-class speakeasies such as the Central Park Casino. Corruption plagued his administration.
Walker was born in Greenwich Village, New York, to Irish Catholic immigrants. He attended Saint Francis Xavier College and graduated from New York Law School in 1904. He began frequenting Broadway theatres and vaudeville after graduation, creating hit songs and eventually marrying a musical comedy vocalist (in 1912). He was admitted to the New York State bar the same year.
Already interested in politics, he became a district captain and Assembly member (1909) before being elected to the State Senate under the guidance of Alfred E. Smith (1914).Walker was nominated as the Democratic mayoralty candidate in the primary elections in 1925 with the support of the Tammany organization and Governor Smith. For two terms, he was the mayor of New York City. During his first tenure, he established the Department of Sanitation, unified the city’s public hospitals, and improved the playground and park systems; and the Board of Transportation accepted contracts for the construction of an intricate subway system under his supervision.
After being re-elected in 1929, he faced criticism from a variety of quarters. In 1931, the New York legislature established a committee to study the city’s issues. As a result of this inquiry, considerable corruption was exposed, and Walker was charged with 15 counts. He resigned on September 1, 1932, after being accused of being motivated by improper and unlawful motivations and being unable to convincingly explain significant sums of money put in his bank account.
He then traveled to Europe with his showgirl mistress, arriving in the United States in 1935. In 1940, he was named chairman of the National Cloak and Suit Industry, and then president of the Majestic Records Company.
The Law Book: From Hammurabi to the International Criminal Court, 250 Milestones in the History of Law (Sterling Milestones) Hardcover – Illustrated, 22 Oct. 2015, English edition by Michael H. Roffer (Autor)