President Trump considers posthumous pardon for boxing champ Jack Johnson

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he is considering granting a posthumous pardon to boxer Jack Johnson on the advice of actor Sylvester Stallone.

An all-white jury convicted Johnson in 1913 under the Mann Act for taking his white girlfriend across state lines for "immoral" purposes.

"Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson".

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!".

He was convicted under the Mann Act, a law that was meant to prevent human trafficking and protect women against prostitution, but its critics say the law was used in racially motivated prosecutions of African-Americans and to punish political dissidents. In 2014, Ken Burns directed a PBS documentary about Johnson called "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson".

Linda E. Haywood, Johnson's great-great niece said the Justice Department policy said at the time "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". Johnson was sentenced to a year and one day in prison.

McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson "was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago".

After seven years as a fugitive following his conviction, Johnson eventually returned to the US and turned himself in.

Johnson got his start in professional boxing in the late 1890s, then rose to fame at the start of the 20th century when he became the first African-American fighter to claim the world heavyweight title in 1908. He died in 1946 in an auto crash. This 12 months, McCain, Sen. The bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the White House asking for the pardon in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Johnson's death. Johnson was heavyweight champion from 1908 to 1915, a reign that included his knockout in 1910 of the so-called Great White Hope, former champion James J. Jeffries, which prompted race riots in dozens of US cities. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; and Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., reintroduced legislation urging a posthumous pardon.

In recent years, Sens. "I hope President Trump will seize the opportunity before him to right this historical wrong and restore a great athlete's legacy".


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