Published: Mon, April 23, 2018
Culture | By Wayne Carr

Trump Considering Pardon For First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Trump Considering Pardon For First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Does Trump have the power to post-humously pardon Johnson? Now, the President tweeted to say that after speaking to "The Expendables" star on the phone and learning about the life of Jack Johnson, he is "considering" giving him a "full pardon". He had been convicted of violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to carry a girl across state lines because of ldquo; rdquo & immoral; purposes through an all-white jury.

President Donald Trump is nearly certain to grant the late champion boxer Jack Johnson a full pardon, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion who died in 1946 but convicted in 1913 for violating interracial mixing.

In Jim Crow America, Johnson was one of the most despised African-American of his generation, humiliating white fighters and flaunting his affection for white women.

In 2010, the British world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis told the Guardian that though Muhammad Ali's "contribution was profound, Jack Johnson's was the first".

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While Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has had a posthumous pardon of Johnson (the boxer died in 1946 in a vehicle crash) on his to-do list for years, and McCain was actually joined by Sen.

Johnson returned to the U.S.in 1920 to serve his sentence and was released almost one year later.

If pardoned, Johnson would join former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of racially profiling Latinos; Kristian Saucier, a sailor convicted of taking photos in a restricted area of a submarine; and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a Bush aide convicted of leaking the name of a Central Intelligence Agency agent, as a recipient of a Trump pardon. He then mowed down a series of "great white hopes", culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries. He died in 1946 in an auto crash.

"Johnson's imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a shameful stain on our nation's history", McCain said in a statement in January 2017. Johnson was black, his girlfriend was white.

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Trump isn't the first president to be asked to give Johnson a posthumous pardon.

Decades after his demise, supporters of the black boxer created campaigns to seek his pardon during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama years.

Since entering office, the president has issued three other pardons, some of them controversial.

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