Pardoning Jack Johnson

Sen. John McCain wants to pardon deceased boxing icon Jack Johnson:

“We need to erase this act of racism which sent an American citizen to prison on a trumped-up charge,” McCain said, adding, “I have great confidence this president will be more than eager to sign this legislation and pardon Jack Johnson.”

The act of racism to which McCain refers was Johnson’s arrest for transporting a white woman across state lines–a woman who, it should be noted, later became his wife. In those unenlightened days, though, what Johnson did violated the Mann Act. In 1913 he was convicted for his “crime”:

Johnson fled the country after his conviction, but agreed years later to return and serve a 10-month jail sentence. He tried to renew his boxing career after leaving prison, but failed to regain his title. He died in a car crash in 1946 at age 68.


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