Subscribe to the Newsletter

Free At Last | A Century Later, The First Black Heavyweight Champion Of The World Is Pardoned Posthumously

A century later, a deserving man has been pardoned and his memory and reputation set free.

Thanks to all of those who worked so hard for this day to come, the day Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world, was pardoned for the crime of defying the laws and taboos of Jim Crow and American apartheid.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 of transporting a white woman - his girlfriend, whom he married - across state lines "for immoral purposes."

He eventually served 10 months in federal prison. His spirit, however, stayed forever free.

jackjohnson1.png

As legend goes, a police officer once stopped Johnson for speeding and issued him a $50 ticket. Johnson handed the officer a $100 bill, telling him to keep the change because he planned to return on the same road.

President Trump should be commended for issuing the long overdue pardon. But the struggle to clear Johnson's name has been long and bipartisan. My son, former U.S. congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as former Democratic Senator Harry Reid, Republican Senator John McCain, writers, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, movie stars such as Samuel L. Jackson and Sylvester Stallone, and many others have pushed for the iconic champion to be pardoned.

Yet no one has worked harder for this day than Johnson's great-great niece, Linda Haywood of Chicago.

Over the years, she kept getting knocked down by rejection and indifference to her mission to clear her uncle's name.

Each time she got right back up and returned to the ring. She knew what Jack Johnson knew. The ground is no place for a champion.

jackjohnson2.png

-

Thanks, Obama
January 2017: No Obama Pardon For Boxer Jack Johnson, And Now His Family Has Lost Hope.

-

February 2005: Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson Didn't Back Down During His 1913 Trial In Chicago When Prosecutors Accused Him Of Violating The Mann Act.

"The Tribune examined a transcript of the trial at the National Archives and Records Administration's Chicago branch. The documents show how Johnson confronted his accusers, particularly under questioning from Asst. U.S. District Atty. Harry Parkin and the defendant's own attorney, Benjamin Bachrach . . . "

-

Jack Johnson in the Beachwood:
* On Joe Louis, Race And How Society Treats Its Sports Heroes.

* A Long History Of Protest For Black Athletes.

-

Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries, 1910.

-

Comments welcome.

More from Beachwood Sports »

The Ex-Cub Factor

Hello, Cleveland!

Continue reading "The Ex-Cub Factor" »

Posted on Mar 21, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #243: Bears Make Big Little Moves; Cubs Building A Mystery

Defense to get more aggressive, incur more penalties. Plus: The Cubs Did Not Respect 90 Last Year And No One Was Held Accountable; Budget Bullpen Breaks; New Rules, Fools!; Sister Jean Has Down Year; College Admissions' Side Doors; Duncan Keith, Biohacker; Alma Otter!; Puck Drop; and Schweinsteiger!

Continue reading "The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #243: Bears Make Big Little Moves; Cubs Building A Mystery " »

Posted on Mar 15, 2019

College Admission Scandal Grew Out Of A System Already Rigged With 'Side Doors'

Those ensnared in the current criminal case - which alleges that they paid for their children to get spots on the sports teams of big-name schools - couldn't have succeeded if the college admissions process wasn't already biased toward wealthier families.

Continue reading "College Admission Scandal Grew Out Of A System Already Rigged With 'Side Doors'" »

Posted on Mar 15, 2019

Breaking Beachwood Sports Feed!