Who was Jack Johnson, the boxer who may be pardoned by Trump?

by Garry Watts April 23, 2018, 5:38
Who was Jack Johnson, the boxer who may be pardoned by Trump?

A legendary boxer, an actor who played a legendary boxer, and the current president of the United States: It's an unlikely trio, but President Trump, at the urging of his chum Sylvester Stallone, says he's considering a pardon for the world's first black heavyweight champ, Jack Johnson, reports CNN.

Chastised for his relationships - each of his three wives were white - Johnson was found guilty in 1913 of violating the Mann Act, a law which prevented the transport of women across state lines for an "immoral objective".

Despite refusals by some of that era's top boxers to even consider joining him in the ring, Johnson went down in history for his 1910 bout with former undefeated heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries - a match later called "the fight of the century" that made "a black man. the undisputed champion of the world". "His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial", Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.

Mr Trump said: "Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!". "The Mann Act purported to prevent human trafficking for the objective of prostitution, but critics have argued it was applied inconsistently to criminalize African Americans and those with dissenting political views". "You just accepted what was done because black people were basically powerless and voiceless".

This undated photo shows boxer Jack Johnson.

The Mann Act was passed after the alleged crime, but he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. He lost his title in a fight in Havana, Cuba, in 1915. Johnson died in a vehicle crash in 1946.

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Activists and family members have long advocated for Johnson's posthumous pardon, as have US officials like Sen.

Johnson skipped bail and became a fugitive for seven years until he turned himself in. John McCain - petitioned President Barack Obama to give Johnson a pardon on the 70th anniversary of the boxer's death.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented.

McCain and Rep. Peter King have periodically introduced legislation to prompt a presidential pardon since 2004.

"Despite this resolution passing both chambers of Congress several times in recent years, no pardon has been issued to date", McCain said in a statement in 2016, per Hansler. In 2017, Senator Cory Booker joined those efforts. "I hope President Trump will seize the chance earlier than him to proper this historic flawed and restore a terrific athlete's legacy".

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