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.
Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
“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.