In addition to creating the lowest black unemployment in the history of the United States, President Trump continues to prove he cares deeply about blacks in America. Earlier this week, it was reported that President Trump nominated Marine Corps Colonel Lorna M. Mahlock to Marine Brigadier General, the highest-rank ever attained by a black woman in the history of the United States.

And now, Trump appears to be poised to pardon legendary black boxer, Jack Johnson, who America’s “First Black President”, Barack Obama, couldn’t be bothered with pardoning…

Today, NBC News is reporting that President Donald Trump is considering a posthumous pardon for boxing’s first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after the late Jack Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury of accompanying a white woman across state lines.

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This morning, President Trump announced that he was considering a full pardon of the legendary black boxer, Jack Johnson. Trump tweeted: “Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

 

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.

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.

The tweet came a week after Trump pardoned I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who had been a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, arguing that Libby had been “treated unfairly” by a special counsel.

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.

Jack Johnson pictured with NY socialite wife Etta Duryea. In October 1909, while attending the Vanderbilt Cup car race on Long Island, Johnson had a chance meeting with a 28-year-old Brooklyn society woman named Etta Duryea. She was glamorous and well-educated, and played the piano and sang, but was prone to depression. According to the New York World Duryea was “elegantly dressed and slender, with dark hair, large dark eyes, and a lovely sad smile.” She’d quickly become a favorite among white “sporting men” in New York since separating from her husband two years earlier. Before long, she was Jack Johnson’s favorite. But Belle Schreiber and Hattie McClay resented her, fearful that they would soon be displaced. For her part, Duryea expected better treatment than the other women in Johnson’s life and expected faithfulness. She could not handle Johnson’s continued infidelity, his abusive behavior and the hostile reaction of the public, and her bouts of depression gradually deepened. In December of 1910, Johnson began to suspect Duryea of having an affair with his chauffeur, a Frenchman named Gaston Le Fort, and hired a private investigator to have her followed. On Christmas day, Johnson confronted her and beat her so badly that she was hospitalized. Somehow the couple reconciled, and they blamed her injuries on a fall from a streetcar. They were quietly married in Pittsburgh less than a month later. Things seemed stable for a while. On September 11, Johnson tried to send her on a vacation to Las Vegas with a friend. At the last minute, she said that she wasn’t feeling well enough to go. Johnson ran to the train station to change the tickets and returned to his Chicago nightclub, the Café de Champion, to find Duryea dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in their upstairs apartment.

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.

Jack Johnson with his last wife Irene Pineau. The fall after divorcing Lucille Cameron, Johnson met two middle-aged women, Irene Pineau and Helen Matthews, at the race track in Aurora, Illinois. The following February, Pineau divorced her husband, and she and Matthews began seeing Johnson together. Pineau emerged as Johnson’s favorite, and the two were married in Waukegan in August 1925. She remained at Johnson’s side for the rest of his life. In December of 1932, they sailed for Europe. Johnson staged a series of exhibitions in Paris, but his plans to open a boxing school in Berlin were scuttled by Hitler’s rise to power in January 1933. When Johnson was killed in an automobile accident in June of 1946, Irene buried him in Chicago, in a grave next to Etta Duryea. At the funeral, a reporter asked her what she had loved about Johnson. “I loved him because of his courage,” she replied. “He faced the world unafraid. There wasn’t anybody or anything he feared.”

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.”

Jack Johnson and his wife Lucille Cameron. In the summer of 1912, Jack Johnson met Lucille Cameron, an 18-year-old prostitute from Milwaukee who visited the Café de Champion with a friend. He soon hired her as his “stenographer,” but less than a month after Etta Duryea’s funeral she was seen in public on Johnson’s arm. In October, Cameron’s mother went to the police and charged Johnson with kidnapping her daughter. She told the press, “Jack Johnson has hypnotic powers, and he has exercised them on my little girl. I would rather see my daughter spend the rest of her life in an insane asylum than see her the plaything of a nigger.” On October 18, Johnson was arrested for violating the Mann Act, but Cameron refused to cooperate and the case fell apart. Less than a month later, Johnson was arrested again on Mann Act charges. On December 4 — less than three months after Duryea’s suicide — Johnson and Cameron were married, an act that outraged the public.
But Johnson also refused to adhere to societal norms, living lavishly and brazenly and dating outside of his race in a time when whites often killed African-Americans without fear of legal repercussions.

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.

The stain on Johnson’s reputation forced some family members to live in shame of his legacy.

 The family “didn’t talk about it because they were ashamed of him, that he went to prison,” Linda E. Haywood, 61, has said of her great-great uncle. “They were led to believe that he did something wrong. They were so ashamed after being so proud of him.”

Haywood said she didn’t find out she was related to Johnson until she was 12. She remembers learning about Johnson when she was in sixth grade during Black History Month, and only learned later that he was kin.

Once, she recalled, she asked her mother about Johnson.

“She just grimaced,” Haywood said.

 Haywood has pressed to have Johnson pardoned since President George W. Bush was in office, a decade ago.

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.

Haywood wanted Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says “processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons.”

 

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