President Donald Trump granted a rare posthumous pardon Thursday to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after what many feel was a racially motivated injustice.
Jack Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes, including interracial relationships.
Trump was joined by boxer Lennox Lewis and actor Sylvester Stallone as he announced the decision.
Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing, who crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.
Johnson, who died in a 1946 car crash in North Carolina at 68, finished with a career record of 73-13-10 and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. His great-great niece, who was also at the White House with Trump, had been pressing for a posthumous pardon.
Sen. John McCain and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a former amateur boxer, had also pushed Johnson’s case for years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.