U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Congressman Peter King (NY-02) today wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to grant a long-overdue presidential pardon to the late Jack Johnson, the world's first African American heavyweight boxing champion, who was unjustly convicted under the Mann Act in 1913 for transporting his white girlfriend across state lines. In 2009, the U.S. Congress unanimously approved a resolution supporting a posthumous pardon for Mr. Johnson.
December 20, 2013
The Honorable Barack Obama
The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We are writing on the behalf of the members of the United States Congress who in 2009 unanimously approved a resolution, S.CON.RES.29, supporting a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson. As you know, Jack Johnson, the first African American Heavyweight Boxing Champion, was unjustly convicted under the Mann Act in 1913 for transporting his white girlfriend across state lines.
Per your response to our last letter to you on Jack Johnson, we are aware that presidential pardons are rarely issued on a posthumous basis. We are, however, also aware that the idea of a posthumous pardon is not without precedent, given President Clinton's pardon of Henry O. Flipper in 1999 and President Bush's pardon of Charles Winters in 2008.
We ask you today in the 100th year after Jack Arthur Johnson's racially motivated conviction that you grant him a much overdue presidential pardon. We appreciate your consideration of this request and we look forward to your response.
Senator John McCain
Congressman Peter King