Donald Trump has surprisingly pardoned Jack Johnson, boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, per the Associated Press. Jack was charged in 1913 by the Mann Act for taking his girlfriend, who is white, past state lines for what was called “immoral purposes.” This Act tried to fight prostitution but this law just went after Johnson simply because he was black.
Johnson was in jail for a year as he was sentenced by an all-white jury. He died in 1946. Today, Trump pardoned Johnson with Deontay Wilder, Johnson’s great-great niece Linda Bell Haywood, and more present.
Sylvester Stallone originally approached Trump about the idea and told him about the struggles that Johnson went through due to this unjust case.
“Today I’ve issued an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, posthumously, to John Arthur ‘Jack’ Johnson,” said Trump. “The first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, a truly great fighter. Had a tough life.” (Via CNN)
It’s definitely debatable if Trump is doing this for the right seasons or for a publicity stunt. He’s always shown his white supremacy so this move comes as a surprise.
Johnson was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954. He was one of the best of his time and seeing his career end due to an unjust prison sentence was tragic. It’s good to finally see him receive justice. RIP to a legend.