Donald Trump pardons late black boxing champion Jack Johnson

Gladys Abbott
May 25, 2018

Johnson was convicted more than 100 years ago of violating the Mann Act by transporting a white woman across state lines.

Johnson's real crime was flaunting his relationship with white women at a time where racial segregation and racial tensions were the order of the day.

Out on bail pending appeal of the conviction, Johnson fled the country with Cameron and continued to fight overseas, including two defenses of the world title in Paris.

The president noted that bipartisan requests for the pardon for Johnson had been made for years, but that despite that, no previous president had been willing to sign one.

"It's my honour to do it".

"He really represented something that was both very lovely and very bad at the same time", Mr Trump added.

President Trump holds a signed Executive Grant of Clemency for boxer Jack Johnson in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday, as (from left) Johnson's great-great niece Linda Haywood, boxer Deontay Wilder, Keith Frankel and actor Sylvester Stallone applaud. Stallone brought the issue to Trump's attention in a phone call last month. "Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!"

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Sen.

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"I believe that Jack Johnson is a very worthy person to receive a full pardon, and in this case, a posthumous pardon", the president said, with Jackson's family members and Stallone surrounding him.

Stallone and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis joined Trump for the ceremony.

But in the decades after Johnson died, as society became more enlightened, his conviction came to be seen as a miscarriage of justice. "John McCain, who has led our efforts to achieve a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, has lived to witness this moment", Burns said in a statement. Nearly immediately, he became the target of venomous racial hatred as white Americans called for a "Great White Hope" to strip the championship from Johnson.

He defended the title easily against a series of so-called "Great White Hopes", leading to an outcry among whites to find someone who could win the title back.

The move is a response to athletes, activists, and celebrities who have asked successive administrations to clear Johnson's name and overturn the injustice of the conviction that ruined his career, according to The Associated Press.

Presidential pardons for people who are deceased are extremely rare. "I appreciate you rewriting history", she told Trump.

The president's decision resonates in the Triangle because Johnson, a trailblazing fighter who rose to fame unthinkable for a black man during the Jim Crow era, died in a segregated Raleigh hospital - 25 miles from a vehicle crash scene where he was refused aid by a white ambulance driver.

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