Johnson had been been convicted in 1913 under the ‘Mann Act,’ in what is widely seen as a racially-motivated prosecution.
US President Donald Trump issued a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion.
As noted by CNBC, “Jack Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes.”
Sylvestor Stallone and champion boxer Lennox Lewis were among those who attended the pardon signing.
Here’s part of what Trump said at the signing:
“Today, as President, I’ve issued an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, posthumously, to John Arthur “Jack” Johnson — he was known as “Jack Johnson” — the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. A truly great fighter. Had a tough life.
They say he violated the Mann Act, and he had a conviction that occurred during a period of tremendous racial tension in the United States, more than a century ago. Johnson served 10 months in federal prison for what many view as a racially motivated injustice. He was treated very rough, very tough.”
Many had been calling for the pardon, including the Congressional Black Caucus. However, former US President Barack Obama never issued it, while President Trump delivered on it.
A video of the pardon ceremony can be seen below:
Photo – YouTube