Trump might pardon legendary black boxer Jack Johnson. Why didn’t Obama?

Trump might pardon legendary black boxer Jack Johnson. Why didn’t Obama?
Jack Johnson (Image: Library of Congress)

[Ed. – Why indeed?]

President Donald Trump’s unexpected announcement that he is mulling the pardon of legendary boxer Jack Johnson raises the obvious question: Why didn’t Barack Obama do it first?

After all, lawmakers and civil rights advocates have argued for years that Johnson’s conviction for violating the Mann Act was a clear example of a racist application of the law. Johnson’s real crime wasn’t the trafficking of women, it was dating white ones in an age when it was socially unacceptable for a black man to do so.

The campaign to grant Johnson a pardon began back in 2004 with high profile supporters, like Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and John McCain (R-AZ). But it really gained steam early in the Obama years, when the resolution passed through Congress in 2009.

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And yet, Obama never acted, neither then, nor when the pardon push reemerged in 2013, nor during his last year in office when it re-emerged once more.

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