As a boxing fan who has hosted the world’s greatest prize fights at your world-class hotels, we are appealing to you, President Donald J. Trump, to pardon heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson.
Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world, is long overdue a pardon. Johnson paved the way for boxers like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. But he was the victim of Jim Crow justice and was wrongfully convicted by an all-white jury in June 1913 under the Mann Act for dating a white woman.
This unjust prosecution ultimately tarnished his legacy and ended his career. But Senator Harry Reid and Senator John McCain have taken up this issue and are working towards a pardon. We appeal to you, President Trump, to support their effort.
Johnson was born the son of former slaves in Texas and in his career as a boxer he broke the rules of the segregated Jim Crow era by fighting and beating a white boxer. But he also dated white women – eventually marrying one. This infuriated many southern bigots and in 1913 authorities sentenced him under the Mann Act to a year and a day in prison for crossing state lines in the company of a white girlfriend.
The Mann Act (named after Congressman James Robert Mann) was a law passed on 25th June 1910. In its original form the anti-prostitution law prohibited white slavery and the interstate transport of females for immoral purposes. However, its ambiguous definition of ‘immorality’ allowed selective prosecutions of the kind inflicted on Jack Johnson.
This unjust prosecution ultimately tarnished Jack Johnson’s legacy. Pardoning Mr Johnson will not only correct a grave injustice but will boost your popularity with African-American voters and help to ensure your successful re-election in 2020. #PardonJackJohnson