There was, in fact, one black victim of the Titanic disaster— Joseph Laroche, a Haitian engineer. His French wife and their two daughters were saved. No other people of African descent are known to have been on board. Jack Johnson, the early-twentieth-century heavyweight champion, was not, as Lead Belly claims, refused passage on the Titanic, but he suffered worse discrimination in his life. The boxer was, incidentally, an opera enthusiast, with a particular fondness for Verdi; he once appeared in a silent role in a production of Aida. He found Wagner "very heavy."