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McCain: Pardon of boxer Jack Johnson 'closes shameful chapter'

U.S. Sen. John McCain said that President Donald Trump's pardon of boxing legend Jack Johnson for his Mann Act conviction more than a century ago "finally closes a shameful chapter in our nation's history."

Trump issued the pardon of John Arthur "Jack" Johnson on Thursday. Johnson, who was the first African American heavyweight boxing champion, in 1908, was convicted in 1913 of transporting a white woman he was dating, Belle Schreiber, across state lines. The conviction destroyed Johnson's career.

McCain has pushed legislation calling for Johnson to be pardoned since 2004.

"I applaud President Trump for issuing a posthumous pardon of boxing legend Jack Johnson, whose reputation was ruined by a racially charged conviction over a century ago. For years, Congress has overwhelmingly supported legislation calling on multiple U.S. presidents to right this historical wrong and restore this great athlete's legacy," said McCain.

"President Trump's action today finally closes a shameful chapter in our nation's history and marks a milestone that the American people can and should be proud of," the Arizona Republican said.

Johnson was sentenced to a year in prison. He fled the country for several years, returning to serve 10 months behind bars. Johnson, born in

McCain and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced a resolution in March 2017 urging Trump to issue a posthumous pardon of Johnson.

From McCain's office:

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Jack Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas on March 31, 1878 and in 1908, he became the first African American World Heavyweight Boxing Champion after defeating Tommy Burns in Australia – a title Johnson held until 1915. Johnson's success in the boxing ring, combined with his relationship with a Caucasian woman, caused resentment. In 1913, he was wrongly convicted under the Mann Act – an anti-human trafficking statute – when he brought the woman he was dating across state lines. This racially-motivated conviction ruined his career and destroyed his reputation.

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1 comment on this story

May 24, 2018, 2:32 pm
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I bet that hurt Johnny to type.

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