Trump pardons boxing champion Jack Johnson
The black boxer was jailed a century ago due to his relationship with a white woman
US president Donald Trump holds a signed pardon for boxer Jack Johnson in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
“I believe Jack Johnson is a worthy person to receive a pardon, to correct a wrong in our history,” Trump said.
In a case that came to symbolise racial injustice, Johnson was arrested in 1912 with Lucille Cameron, who later became his wife, for violating the Mann Act. The law was passed two years earlier and made it a crime to take a woman across state lines for immoral purposes.
Johnson died in 1946.
In signing the pardon, the president cited “tremendous racial tension” during the time Johnson was champion. “He really represented something that was both very beautiful and very terrible at the same time,” Trump said.
Actor Sylvester Stallone, famous as the star of the Rocky boxing-movie franchise, and former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis flanked Trump for the pardon in the Oval Office. In April, Trump tweeted that he was considering the pardon after talking to Stallone.
In the Oval Office, Trump said of Stallone: “I love his movies.”
“This has been a long time coming,” Stallone said, adding that Johnson served as the inspiration for the character of Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies. – Reuters