Trump Considering Pardon For First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Johnson. President Donald Trump says he's considering

This time, Trump says, he had a phone call with Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone and announced that he is considering a full pardon of boxing legend Jack Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion.

More than a century later, Johnson's relatives asked former President Barack Obama to pardon the champion, but the Justice Department declined, noting on its website that the general policy was not to accept applications for posthumous pardons for people convicted of federal crimes. After serving out his year-long sentence, he boxed for a couple years, but a vehicle accident ended his life in 1946.

President Trump explained he's contemplating a pardon for fighter Jack Johnson. The 1910 victory made Johnson the undisputed champion, but also prompted race riots and run-ins with the law that would eventually see him put behind bars. A search was launched for a "Great White Hope" who could beat him in the ring, but in vain.

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Johnson became the heavyweight champion in 1908 after defeating Tommy Burns. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson's case for years. Willard took the title with a knock-out in the 26th round and held onto it until 1919.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he had just learned about Johnson from an actor famous for playing a fictional - white - boxer.

Jackson fled the country to escape prison but returned in 1920 to serve his sentence, spending ten months in prison.

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Discussion of a presidential pardon has come up in the past - but nothing ever materialized.

Johnson said of the jury: "Eleven of those men are for life conviction, and the other is for hanging before hearing the evidence". "That's wrong." Haywood, alongside other Johnson's relatives, is asking Trump to grant him a pardon.

Since the turn of the century, a campaign for a posthumous pardon has gathered pace.

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Nicknamed "the Galveston Giant", Johnson was the son of former slaves and the third of nine children. In 1999, President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to graduate from West Point in 1877, after being unjustly accused of embezzlement.

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