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Trump is Considering a Posthumous Pardon For Jack Johnson

President Donald Trump says he's considering a posthumous pardon for boxing's first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after the late Jack Johnson was convicted by all-white jury of accompanying a white woman across state lines.

Trump announced Saturday on Twitter that the actor Sylvester Stallone, a friend of his, had called to bring Johnson's story to his attention.

"His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial," Trump wrote from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. "Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!"

jack-johnson

Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.

Most famously, his story was fictionalized for the play "The Great White Hope," starring James Earl Jones, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play in 1969. A film version with Jones was released in 1970. More recently, the documentary "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson," directed by Ken Burns, was aired on PBS in 2004.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes.

The boxer died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson's case for years.

Stallone, who starred in the 1976 boxing film "Rocky" and several sequels, is a supporter of the president and attended Trump's New Years' Eve party at Mar-a-Lago in 2016.

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.

The son of former slaves, he defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of "great white hopes," culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

"He is one of the craftiest, cunningest boxers that ever stepped into the ring," said the legendary boxer John L. Sullivan, in the aftermath of what was called "the fight of the century."

After seven years as a fugitive following his conviction, Johnson eventually returned to the U.S. and turned himself in. He served about a year in federal prison and was released in 1921. He died in 1946 in an auto crash.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War; he was framed for embezzlement. Bush pardoned Charles Winters in 2008, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949.

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Goldie on 04-24-2018

[QUOTE=Wizardsh;18700924]Says the dog who cries “it’s because I am black”. You are a clueless idiot and the type of dog $h!t that would rather see an uneducated black man speaking Ebonics [B]then[/B] an educated blackman . How many black men…

Comment by Fire4231 on 04-24-2018

[QUOTE=BombSquad;18702093]It's called having a career and a little bit of common sense, try it... I dare you.[/QUOTE] N’all bro not only did you not say any thing on the topic, you don’t want to go there bro. Believe me I…

Comment by uppercut510 on 04-24-2018

[QUOTE=jdp28tx;18695219]Wow I have been hoping this would happen for years. [COLOR="Red"]But what does it say about Obama[/COLOR], Holder and Lynch? The 1st black president and 2 black AGs refused to pardon Johnson, but Trump does it. The press would become…

Comment by Red Skull on 04-24-2018

[QUOTE=Fire4231;18700363]Bro is it Obama was sleep or was it our people were in a f’ing coma? Anyone thinking Obama or any president was going to go in and fix 400 years of systemic racism, injustice, and classism and dismantle 40-50…

Comment by Wizardsh on 04-24-2018

[QUOTE=Goldie;18699887]I suspect you foam at the mouth and smell like wet dog. Lol at me being a racist for calling out racism. Lol at you people acting like you care and have genuine admiration for jack Johnson when he was…

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