May 28, 2018
May 28, 2018
Jack Johnson

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DONALD TRUMP, the president of the United States, issued a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson. In 1913 an all-white jury convicted Johnson, the iconic figure who became the first black heavyweight champion of the world, for transporting a woman across state lines for “immoral purpose”. Johnson was the victim of persecution in the racist climate of his time.

Former undisputed champion Lennox Lewis, current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and actor Sylvester Stallone flanked Donald Trump for a photo op as he signed the pardon.

Wilder said, “The pardon of Jack Johnson should have happened a long time ago. I came to support the pardon and support his family. This is the right thing to do. Correct a wrong that should have never happened. I love you Jack Johnson and thank you so much for what you’ve done for us.”

jack johnson

While the action can be seen to correct an historic injustice, it does nothing to address the injustices of the present time. At the same time as signing a pardon for Jack Johnson, Trump has been condemning American football players for exercising their right to protest police brutality in America. This is a president who notoriously failed to condemn the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville last year and whose policies are resulting in quite horrific treatment of immigrants and their children.

Jack Johnson was and will remain an anti-racist hero. Surely a fitting tribute to his legacy would be to learn from his history and take real action apply those lessons to the present.