In a rare posthumous pardon, President Donald Trump has granted reprieve to Jack Johnson, the Galveston Giant who was boxing’s very first black heavyweight champion. The move comes more than 100 years after a racially motivated injustice according to Trump, when Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes.
Trump was joined by former boxing champion Lennox Lewis and Sylvester Stallone when he announced the decision. Johnson’s figure has only grown in stature since his 1946 death with biographies, dramas, documentaries and more based on his life. His great-great niece had been pushing for a pardon, along with Sen. John McCain and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.