11 months ago
Donald Trump has made two presidential pardons that have raised some eyebrows: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Scooter Libby. But Trump is now considering a posthumous pardon that could in fact right a historical American injustice, reports Esquire, and it is all because of Sylvester Stallone.
Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
Jack Johnson was the first black world heavyweight champion. He held the title for seven years, from 1908 to 1915. His success angered Jim Crow-era white audiences, and the phrase “Great White Hope” was coined in reference to white boxer James Jeffries who came out of retirement to fight Johnson. In fact, Jeffries said he came back into fighting for “the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro.” But he lost, which triggered race riots across the country.
Johnson was charged with transporting a prostitute across state lines in 1913, and faced an all-white jury. The trial was based on racial vengeance, reports Esquire, and Johnson was convicted. He fled to Europe, and when he returned to the U.S. seven years later, he served nearly a year in jail and died in 1946. There have been talks of pardoning him for years now, and people like John McCain and Harry Reid have supported it. Now, Trump is claiming he will actually do it, thanks to the call from Stallone.Read the full story at Esquire