Trump pardons late boxing champion Jack Johnson

25 May, 2018, 11:57 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • American boxer Jack Johnson with his wife

Trump last month credited Stallone, the actor who portrayed Rocky Balboa in the iconic film series, for urging Johnson's pardon.

The son of former slaves, Jack Johnson, seen in this 1932 file photo, was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for travelling with his white girlfriend across state lines in violation of the Mann Act.

Johnson died in 1946, after angrily speeding away from a diner in North Carolina that either refused to serve black people or tried to force him to sit outside.

But who was Jack Johnson, you ask?

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Johnson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

Jeffries, the former undefeated world heavyweight champion, came out of retirement to fight Johnson in Reno, Nevada in front of 20,000 anxious spectators and a veil of racial animosity.

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

He took the heavyweight title on December 26, 1908 in Sydney, Australia, when police stopped his fight against Tommy Burns in the 14th round after Johnson had beaten the Canadian into submission. The law was passed two years earlier and made it a crime to take a woman across state lines for immoral purposes.

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The white rage and resentment against Johnson fueled violence: After Johnson defeated white boxer James Jeffries in 1910, white men in NY set fire to a black tenement building, white mobs in Atlanta chased after black people, and a black man in Houston who announced the result of the fight on a street auto had his throat slashed by a white man. Cameron did not cooperate with the investigation, which was prompted after Cameron's mother accused Johnson of kidnapping her daughter. She had worked as a prostitute but was in a relationship with Johnson, according to the Times.

A posthumous pardon for Jackson has drawn the support of many political leaders, including Sens.

Johnson was charged due to racially motivated injustice, Trump said and hopes this pardon will help "to correct a wrong in our history", ABC News reported. "It was a wrong, and a lot of people knew it", the president said after signing the pardon on Thursday.

Linda E Haywood, the great-great niece, wanted Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says "processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons".

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Filmmaker Ken Burns had also championed the pardon.

"It is the right thing to do. But it also reminds us of a racist past and how even today racist remarks and coded words are used to imperil African Americans, especially black men, and to advance an un-American agenda".

Stallone called the decision "incredible" and "a long time coming".

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