John McCain, AZ’s senior senator, has spent a great deal of time seeking a posthumous pardon for heavyweight fighter, Jack Johnson. The first black heavyweight champ was convicted of violating the federal Mann Act in 1913, which prohibited transporting women across state lines for “immoral purposes.” Johnson’s career was devastated by the year he spent in prison on what are now being exposed as trumped up charges.
That was 96 years ago, when McCain was just a boy, but he is not one to forget. The lifelong boxing fan has met with some of the boxer’s descendants and has pushed for a pardon since 2004. McCain has been joined in his effort by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and documentary producer Ken Burns.
President George W. Bush declared “Jack Johnson Day,” for five years in a row when he was Governor of Texas. Johnson was a native of Galveston, Texas.
“Rectifying this injustice committed against Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, is long overdue. A posthumous pardon would represent a final vindication to his family, and I hope the president will concur with Congress and swiftly issue a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson,” McCain said.
The Dallas Morning News carries more information here.
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