President Donald Trump granted a posthumous pardon to the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson on Thursday.
Trump issued the pardon alongside Sylvester Stallone, who brought the story to the president’s attention, and Johnson’s great-great niece Linda Bell Haywood, who’s been advocating to clear her uncle’s name for years.
“Today I’ve issued an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, posthumously, to John Arthur ‘Jack’ Johnson … The first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, a truly great fighter. Had a tough life,” Trump said.
Under the Mann Act, Johnson was convicted in 1913 for taking his White girlfriend across state lines. The Mann Act was enacted to prevent human trafficking for prostitution.
It took an all-white jury less than two hours to convict Mann saying he took his 19-year old girlfriend across state lines for “immoral” purposes, according to NPR.
He was imprisoned for a year and died in 1946.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.