Kudos to President Trump for helping remove a century-old historical stain Thursday via a rare posthumous pardon. America’s first black heavyweight, Jack Johnson, has earned redemption.
A son of former slaves, Johnson made history by defeating Tommy Burns for the world championship in 1908. His successful title defense against Jim Jeffries two years later sparked race riots that killed dozens of African-Americans.
Alas, Johnson’s romantic life — specifically the fact that he dared date white women — ran afoul of the racial mores of the time. In 1913, an all-white jury convicted him of violating the federal Mann Act for crossing state lines with a prostitute. He fled the country for seven years before finally returning to serve a one-year-and-a-day sentence in Leavenworth.
The pardon represents a win for ailing Trump nemesis Sen. John McCain, who had lobbied the past two Presidents to clear Johnson’s name.