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President Trump considering post mortem pardon of Black boxer Jack Johnson

National

Carol Ozemhoya| OW Contributor | 4/23/2018, 11:01 a.m.
WTVD-TV is reporting that President Donald Trump is considering a...
Jack Johnson

WTVD-TV is reporting that President Donald Trump is considering a full pardon of former Black boxer Jack Johnson some 61 years after his death. Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury in 1913 of violating the Mann Act. The Black heavyweight champion boxer was convicted of crossing state lines to commit “immoral” acts which he allegedly did while meeting his white girlfriend. Johnson ended up spending seven years as a fugitive, but later spent a year in prison. According to media reports, actor Sylvester Stallone appealed to the POTUS to grant the pardon, and on Saturday April 21, President Trump tweeted that he might just pardon Johnson posthumously. Stallone isn’t the only one asking for vindication of Johnson. He great great niece, who is 61, is also looking for a pardon. The boxer, who beat Tommy Burns in 1908 to become the first Black heavyweight champion, was married to three white women over the course of his lifetime. “Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson,” he tweeted. “His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a full pardon!” he added. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) has also expressed his support for a pardon. “Jack Johnson was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago,” McCain said in a statement to the Associated Press. He has been in support of the pardon since 2004. “Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,” he added. Johnson was the son of former slaves. He had a reputation for being a brute in the ring, relentlessly knocking down his white counterparts, of which Burns and James Jeffries were called “great white hopes.” Said former boxing champion John L. Sullivan, “He is one of the craftiest, cunningist boxers that ever stepped into the ring.” Johnson passed in 1913 at age 68 in a car accident in North Carolina.