McCain Asks Obama to Pardon Boxing Champ

Wants to overturn racially motivated conviction
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2009 5:00 AM CDT
John McCain speaks as documentary filmmaker Ken Burns looks on during a media conference to discuss a petition for a posthumous presidential pardon for Jack Johnson July 13, 2004 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – John McCain has introduced a resolution requesting a posthumous presidential pardon for Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world, the LA Times reports. Johnson suffered what McCain calls a “racially motivated conviction” in 1913 for dating a white woman. Prosecutors said he’d violated the Mann Act, which forbade taking women across state lines for “immoral purposes.”

“This resolution...would not right this injustice,” McCain said. “But it would recognize it, and shed light on the achievements of an athlete who was forced into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice.” The resolution is co-sponsored by Republican New York Rep. Peter King.