House OKs pardon for first black boxing champ Jack JohnsonBY RICHARD SISK
NY Daily News
July 30, 2009
WASHINGTON - Heavyweight Jack Johnson, the first black boxing champ, deserves a presidential pardon, the House unanimously concluded Wednesday.
A resolution urging a pardon by President Obama cleared the House after previously being passed by the Senate last month.
Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), chief sponsor of the bill along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), called Johnson "a trailblazer and a legend."
King urged swift consideration by Obama of a pardon for Johnson, who was killed in a car crash in 1946.
In 1913, Johnson was convicted of violating the Mann Act against "transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes." The woman, who later became his second wife, was white. Johnson fled to France and served a year in jail on his return to the U.S. in 1920.
Johnson's third wife, Irene Pineau, said at his death: "I loved him because of his courage. He faced the world unafraid. There wasn't anybody or anything he feared."