It is a century old crime that in all honestly, should have never been a crime. But in my honest opinion, the only misconduct being committed is choosing not to pardon the first black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson.
The “Galveston Giant”, Jack Johnson, who hailed from south Texas, made his boxing debut around 1897. Although fighting in sanctioned, unsanctioned and exhibition bouts, in thirty-four years it is reported that Johnson complied up a 73-13-10 (40 KO’s) record, in what was an extraordinary story.
Johnson who became the first black heavyweight champion in 1908 was loved and loathed for his championship status as well as for the pigment of his skin. The white community wanted Johnson to lose his title to the beloved white man. There was a public outcry for the “Great White Hope”. The former undefeated heavyweight champion Jim Jeffries was recruited to come out of retirement and stop the Johnson train. But instead, was dismantled and steamrolled back into retirement.
Johnson had the power, the skill and will, but, what he lacked at that time was the skin color. Johnson grew up in a time when just being a black man in America was a crime. And that was what landed him in hot water back in 1912.
Johnson, who boasted about his love for white women, was arrested in October 1912 for escorting a white woman across state line. And convicted by an all-white jury a few months later and eventually spent a year in prison for breaking “the Mann Act”. A racially motivated criminal crime.
Jack Johnson died in 1946, in a car accident, and to this day, he has never been forgiven for his so called crime.
All though there are still racial tensions throughout the world, regardless if you like it or not, here in America, it has gotten better for the African American. Yes, discrimination still runs rampant at times; it is not as it was one hundred years ago when Jack Johnson was walking around on this earth.
And I feel it is time, to take a stand, it is time to rewrite history, I believe our president should exonerate Jack Johnson from any wrong doing.
It had been brought up to former president’s Clinton and Bush, and neither decided to pardon Johnson. What lame excuse can you come up with? We all know that what Jack done was nothing to do with criminal intent, but all to do with a hatred for a race. I would love for our nation’s first black president Barrack Obama to pardon the first black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, and I say do it this month, Black History Month.
There will always and I repeat always be a racial divide, between people that have different skin tones, opposite faith’s and opinions. That is something that may never change. But, the label that Johnson has on his name should be erased. He was not a criminal, he was a champion. This country can never cover the scars that was opened up by our forefathers, but, we can attempt to right a few wrongs in hopes of finding harmony.