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Published: Mon, April 23, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump considering pardon for boxer Jack Johnson

Trump considering pardon for boxer Jack Johnson

After his buddy Sylvester Stallone educated him about the perils that Jack Johnson faced as a legendary boxer and the first black heavyweight champion, Trump now says he wants to posthumously pardon Johnson 100 years after he was prisoned for a crime involving a white woman, reports NBC News.

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The son of former slaves, Johnson was born in 1878 and was the first black man to ever hold the title of world heavyweight champion-he had a four-year winning streak against high-profile white boxers during the age of Jim Crow. "His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial", Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Sylvester Stallone arrives to the Los Angeles premiere of "The Promise" at TCL Chinese language Theater, April 12, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.

Trump said that Stallone had called him and told him about Johnson, and that he is now considering a posthumous pardon.

Elsewhere Stallone has called Trump "a great Dickensian character". A 2004 Ken Burns documentary, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, was acclaimed. He had been convicted of violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to carry a girl across state lines because of ldquo; rdquo & immoral; purposes through an all-white jury. In 1920, he returned to the U.S. and served almost a year in jail.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson is pictured along with his spouse Irene in Paris on this undated file picture.

Johnson, a boxing legend and major figure in 20th century sports, bucked racial barriers and racism until his death in 1946.

Campaigns for posthumous pardons have been in motion since the turn of the century, but have not found much success.

American boxer Jack Johnson is pictured circa 1913.

In 2016, a bipartisan group of lawmakers petitioned then-President Barack Obama to pardon Johnson. This year, McCain, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) reintroduced laws urging a posthumous pardon.

While Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has had a posthumous pardon of Johnson (the boxer died in 1946 in a auto crash) on his to-do list for years, and McCain was actually joined by Sen. "Regardless of this decision passing each chambers of Congress a number of occasions lately, no pardon has been issued up to now. I hope President Trump will seize the opportunity before him to right this historical wrong and restore a great athlete's legacy".

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