Even though I think John McCain is a sell out, a hypocrite and an attention whore, I commend him for again trying to get a posthumous pardon for former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson….
Sure, McCain is probably doing this to grab headlines and I’m sure his heart isn’t in it, but at least somebody’s trying to do something….
For those of you who don’t know, Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion in 1908, followed by attempt after attempt to find a “White Hope” to win back the title….
When that didn’t work, the Feds trumped up something called the “Mann Act,” which was “transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes.”….
Obviously this was an attempt to railroad Johnson because of Lucille Cameron, Jack’s white wife; and a desperate attempt to get the championship back to a caucasian fighter….
After charges were filed, Papa Jack fled to Canada, then to Eurpoe; where he lived and defended his title several times….
In 1915, Johnson lost his title in Havana to Jess Willard and a few years later surrendered to authorities; serving a year in prison….
After getting out in 1920, he immediately challenged new heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey; who had never fought a black fighter and retired still not having done so….
Despite a ridiculous offer of $250K, Dempsey and his people turned down the fight and Johnson was blackballed from ever fighting for the title again; as was every other black fighter until Joe Louis in 1937….
After ducking the great great black heavyweight Harry Wills for years, Dempsey actually signed to him Wills in 1922, but continued to avoid Wills until the New York State Athletic Commission told Dempsey they would revoke his license if he didn’t face Wills….
Instead of honoring the agreement, Dempsey instead defended against Gene Tunney in 1926 in Chicago. Jack lost the title and that was the end of Harry Wills as a title contender….
Johnson was certainly no angel, and from all reports Lucille Cameron was a “sporting women;” meaning prostitute. And since she set up shop in Chicago, financed by Papa Jack, the Feds moved in with the Mann Act….
Now, almost 100 years later, relatives of Jack Johnson and Sen. McCain are attempting to get President Obama to issue a pardon….
Sure, there are living people who could use a pardon more than the long deceased Johnson; but this is an injustice that’s long overdue to be righted….
This got nowhere under the Bush administration and a Democratic congress, so both parties are guilty of inaction….
President Obama can bypass all this nonsense and issue a Presidential pardon today; here’s to hoping this gets done ASAP….