Jack Johnson’s Niece Visits Grave After Posthumous Pardon

May 26, 2018
Tommy Burns and Jack Johnson fighting for the heavyweight title in 1908.

Jack Johnson (right) squares off against Tommy Burns in 1908, in the fight that earned him the heavyweight title, becoming the first black heavyweight champion.

thefightcity.com via Wikimedia Communis

 The day after boxing great Jack Johnson was pardoned by President Donald Trump, his great-great niece went to his gravesite in Chicago to mark the end of a decades-long effort to clear his name.

During a visit to Chicago's Graceland Cemetery with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Linda Haywood said Friday the heavyweight boxing champion's place in history is being restored, and he would be proud of her for her efforts. Before Trump, Haywood had failed to convince other presidents to pardon Johnson.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act for traveling with his white girlfriend. That law made it illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes."

Johnson defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then beat a series of "great white hopes," including the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

Story source: AP