By: Sean Crose
Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world, has finally been pardoned. Johnson, who has been dead for over seventy years, is reported to be only the third person in history to be posthumously pardoned by a sitting United States President. Donald Trump made things official on Tuesday at the request of numerous notables of the sporting, political and entertainment worlds. Sylvester Stallone is said to have played a huge role in Johnson’s eventual pardon.
Johnson, a victim of a racist era, was convicted of violating the Mann Act in 1913, which basically meant he was found guilty of taking a white woman across state lines. The legal action led Johnson to leave the country for seven years, effectively making one of the most famous athletes in history an exile from his own country. Having held the heavyweight title from 1908, when he bested then champ Tommy Burns, until 1915, when, at the age of 37, he lost to Jess Willard in Cuba, Johnson is widely considered to have been one of the greatest boxers in history.