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Statement from the Press Secretary

Regarding the Pardon of John Arthur
“Jack” Johnson

Issued on: May 24, 2018

Today, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon)
posthumously to John Arthur “Jack” Johnson, the first African American Heavyweight
Champion of the World, for a Mann Act conviction that occurred during a period of
racial tension more than a century ago. Johnson served 10 months in Federal prison
for what many view as a racially motivated injustice.

Born in 1878 in Galveston, Texas, to former slaves, Johnson overcame difficult
circumstances to reach the heights of the boxing world and inspired generations with
his tenacity and independent spirit.

Congress has supported numerous resolutions calling for Johnson’s pardon. These
resolutions enjoyed widespread bipartisan support, including from the Congressional
Black Caucus. One of these resolutions passed Congress as recently as 2015.

In light of these facts and in recognition of his historic athletic achievements and
contributions to society, the President believes Jack Johnson is worthy of a posthumous
pardon. President Trump is taking this unusual step to “right a wrong” that occurred
in our history and honor the legacy of a champion.