Trump pardons late boxing champion Jack Johnson
President Trump on Thursday pardoned the late heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, who was convicted in the early 1900s of transporting a woman across state lines.
Trump said at a ceremony in the Oval Office on Thursday that Johnson is “very worthy” of a full pardon.
“I am taking this very righteous step, I believe, to correct a wrong that occurred in our history, and to honor a truly legendary boxing champion, legendary athlete and a person that, when people got to know him, they really liked him and they really thought he was treated unfairly,” Trump said.
Actor Sylvester Stallone, who advocated for Johnson’s pardon, joined Trump for the announcement. Other past heavyweight champions, including Lennox Lewis and Deontay Wilder, also attended the event.
— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) May 24, 2018
Trump tweeted last month that he was considering a posthumous pardon for Johnson at Stallone’s urging.
Johnson was the first black heavyweight champion of the world. An all-white jury convicted him in 1913 for transporting a woman across state lines for “immoral purposes,” which was illegal under the Mann Act. Johnson served a year in prison and was released in 1921. He died in 1946.
Other lawmakers have in the past advocated for a pardon for Johnson.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) lobbied Johnson’s case for years, arguing that the conviction was racially motivated and has unfairly tarnished Johnson’s legacy. The senator first introduced legislation urging a pardon in 2004. Those resolutions were approved by both the House and Senate in the last Congress, but then-President Obama did not sign off on the measure.
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