U.S. News


Trump Considering Pardon For First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Jack Johnson was convicted in 1913 of transporting a white woman across state lines for an "immoral purpose."
Posted at 11:18 AM, Apr 22, 2018

President Donald Trump is considering pardoning the first black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson.

Trump said Sylvester Stallone called him about Johnson's story and that "His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial." 

Here's a some background: John Arthur "Jack" Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1878. He became the first black boxer to win the world heavyweight championship.

He was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act for crossing state lines with a white woman for an "immoral purpose." It took the all-white jury less than two hours to convict him.

Johnson skipped bail and became a fugitive for seven years until he turned himself in. He served one year in federal prison. Johnson died in a car crash in 1946.

Lawmakers have been trying to pardon Johnson for years. Former President George W. Bush requested a pardon in 2008, but it didn't make it through the Senate. In 2015 an education bill requested a pardon, and in 2016 multiple members of Congress requested that then-President Barack Obama pardon Johnson.