Donald Trump has given a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, the world’s first black heavyweight boxing champion.
Johnson was jailed one hundred and five years ago for having a relationship with a white woman.
Trump signed the pardon alongside of actor Sylvester Stallone, former heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis, and others who pushed for the boxing great pardon.
“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during the ceremony in the Oval Office.
“He was treated very rough, very tough,” Trump said of Johnson on Thursday as he signed the pardon.
In 1913, Johnson, a noted boxing legend, was convicted by an all-white jury with violating the Mann Act after transporting a white woman he was dating across state lines for “immoral purposes.”
He served one year in prison. His great-great-niece, Linda Haywood, has led the charge for Johnson to receive a rare posthumous pardon. Others have taken up the cause célbre as well including Senators John McCain, R-Arizona, Harry Reid, R-Nevada, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Earlier this year, McCain, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., reintroduced legislation urging a posthumous pardon.
On Thursday, McCain applauded the pardon.
“President Trump’s action today finally closes a shameful chapter in our nation’s history and marks a milestone that the American people can and should be proud of,” McCain said in a statement.