Trump grants posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, Jim Crow-era boxing champion

President Donald Trump center posthumous pardons Jack Johnson boxing's first black heavyweight champion during an event in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Thursday

Shortly after nixing a historic summit with North Korea, President Donald Trump welcomed famed actor and star of the Rambo and Rocky film franchises Sylvester Stallone along with former and current heavyweight boxing champions to the Oval Office Thursday to pardon boxing great Jack Johnson. "An all-white jury convicted Johnson in 1913 after less than two hours of deliberations, and he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison". Johnson died in 1946 but his case has been kept alive by his great-great niece and several senators.

"To be able to be here at the Oval office in Washington, D.C., and to experience the ultimate pardon of Jack Johnson is fantastic", said Wilder, who also visited the White House as a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.

Joined in the Oval Office by actor Sylvester Stallone and boxer Lennox Lewis, Mr Trump said the move corrected a historic U.S. wrong to Jack Johnson.

Johnson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

Not only was Johnson the first black man to win the heavyweight world championship, but he also was the rare black man of his era who was brash, ostentatious and unapologetic about his wealth and success. Now, 72 years after his death, President Donald Trump has granted the historic champion a pardon. At one point, Trump jokingly asked Lewis whether he could "take Deontay in a fight" if he really started working out.

Johnson was the first African-American heavyweight champion in boxing's history but was convicted in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which forbid the transportation of women or girls across state lines and was largely used against black men. He then beat a series of "great white hopes", culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

Upon his return to the United States in 1920, Johnson served roughly 10 months in a Leavenworth, Kansas, prison.

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Johnson fled the U.S. and spent seven years in exile in Canada, Europe and Mexico during World War I. During his time away from the U.S., Johnson lost his heavyweight champion title to Jess Willard in Cuba.

Trump on Thursday said he was trying to "correct a wrong in our history" by pardoning Johnson.

President Trump has granted a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, boxing's first black heavyweight champion, following through on a tweet last month.

After Johnson's conviction, he spent seven years as a fugitive, but eventually returned to the USA and turned himself in.

He spent years fighting overseas before surrendering to USA authorities in 1920. "John McCain, R-Ariz., who has pushed for a pardon since 2004".

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

"We have done something today that was very important because we righted a wrong".

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