Jack Johnson: 5 Things To Know About Boxer Who Trump Pardoned Posthumously

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Actor Sylvester Stallone was also a huge advocate for Johnson's pardon and joined Trump in the Oval Office for the pardon announcement.

Jack Johnson/Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons.

Not to be confused with the Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman or the acoustic singer of the same name, Johnson was once deemed, by filmmaker Ken Burns, "the most notorious African-American on Earth".

Despite previous efforts to get Johnson pardoned following his death in 1946, but they all fell short.

Long before that, Johnson already established himself not only as the polarizing subject of the Mann Act violation but, even more prominently, as a champion of the black community due to his tremendous success inside the squared circle.

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In a TKO over Canadian boxer Tommy Burns in December 1908 in Sydney, Australia, Jack Johnson, then 30, became the first black man to become the world heavyweight champion.

Activists and family members have long advocated for Johnson's posthumous pardon, as have US officials like Sen.

Johnson fled to Europe after he was convicted but ultimately returned and served several months in prison.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been calling for a pardon for Johnson since 2004, and criticized President Barack Obama for leaving office in 2017 without having granted one.

In signing the pardon, the president cited "tremendous racial tension" during the time Johnson was champion. Trump added that he made a decision to pardon Johnson "to correct a wrong in our history".

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Senator John McCain and former Senate majority leader Harry Reid had also pushed Johnson's case for years. An all-white jury found that when Johnson traveled with his 19-year-old white girlfriend, he was transporting a woman across state lines for an "immoral goal".

Johnson was a fugitive for seven years after his conviction by an all-white jury.

In a tweet last month, Mr. Trump said Johnson's "trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial".

Jack Johnson was a boxer best-known for his incredible record in the ring and for becoming the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion.

The Obama administration passed on pardoning Johnson, citing in part allegations of domestic violence against women.

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"I applaud President Trump for issuing a posthumous pardon of boxing legend Jack Johnson, whose reputation was ruined by a racially charged conviction over a century ago", McCain said in a statement. Cutchins, who hangs a wreath on that pole each year, pointed to the hill across the road where his father, the undertaker, came running in time to hear the wounded champ say, "I'll be all right".

"For years, Congress has overwhelmingly supported legislation calling on multiple USA presidents to right this historical wrong and restore this great athlete's legacy".

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented.

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