Johnson was the first black world heavyweight boxing champion and held the title from 1908 until 1915. In 1913 he was convicted of violating the Mann Act, a ridiculous law that essentially forbade interracial relationships. Basically Johnson married a white woman and was arrested and convicted of a crime for it by and all-white jury.
The greatest fighter of his generation skipped out on his bail and was forced to emigrate to Europe with his wife, Lucille. He eventually returned to the United States in July of 1920, and he surrendered to Federal agents at the Mexican border. He was promptly send to Leavenworth Penitentiary to serve his sentence and was released in July of 1921.
While I absolutely support the pardoning of Johnson, why was it done now? Seriously people we don’t have more pressing issues? I love the “Galveston Giant” as much as anyone, but he’s been dead for 63 years. Something tells me he could have waiting another few months for a random resolution to be discussed and passed in Congress.
With health care reform being haggled over, unemployment at 9.5 percent and our economy not reacting well to the hundreds of billions of dollars we poured into it, was this really the best way to spend taxpayer dollars right now? By wasting time on a meaningless resolution that won’t really do anything until President Obama decides to act on it? Something tells me that Barack is a little busy right now and has other things he should be spending his time on.
Look, Jack Johnson was easily the greatest fighter of his time. He helped disprove the notion that African Americans were inferior to whites and battled racism and bigotry every day of his life. Without Arthur John Johnson, there is no Jack Roosevelt Robinson. I just think – no, I know there are more important things we should be focusing on right now.
I try to keep politics off this blog as I’m what I refer to as a “militant independent.” I hate both parties with a fiery passion. But here goes: Get your act together Congress, there’s a reason your approval rating is currently lower than George W. Bush’s ever was. The country needs you and you’re asleep at the wheel.