President Donald Trump on Thursday granted late boxer Jack Johnson with a pardon more than 100 years after he was convicted by an all-white jury of taking a white woman across state lines.
Several heavyweight boxing champions, both current and former, gathered at the White House on Thursday morning ahead of the expected announcement, The New York Times reported.
Trump noted Thursday that Johnson was convicted “during a period of tremendous racial tension in the United States,” and served 10 months in prison in what many considered to be a “racially motivated injustice.”
"I am taking this very righteous step, I believe, to correct a wrong that occurred in our history," Trump said.
Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act, a law passed in 1910 that barred people from transporting women across state lines for “immoral” purposes. The woman, Belle Schreiber, worked as a prostitute and had been in a relationship with Johnson, according to the Times.
He was sentenced to serve a year in prison, the Times reported, but he fled the country. He served his sentence after he returned to the U.S. in 1920.
Original report: Prodded by actor Sylvester Stallone, President Donald Trump said he’s considering a posthumous pardon for boxing's first black heavyweight champion, more than 100 years after he was convicted by an all-white jury of accompanying a white woman across state lines.
Jack Johnson, who died in 1946, was convicted in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes.
"His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial," Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon from Mar-a-Lago. "Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!"
Johnson's family has tried to get a posthumous pardon for years. The tweet comes a week after Trump pardoned I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a top aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.