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.
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!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”