Recently, Donald Trump pardoned Jack Johnson, the first black-American World Heavyweight Champion.
Johnson’s story is instructive, just as Obama’s refusal, not neglect, but refusal, to pardon him was.
Jack Johnson was not only the first black champion, but a long-reigning champion, causing the coinage of the term “Great White Hope” for all the ex-champions and aspiring-champions who would line up to dethrone him. They would all fail.
Finally, the court system got Johnson, not boxers, for you see, Jack Johnson was no ordinary, humble, thanking “de Lawd” for the opportunity to be champion sort of man. He grew up in Galveston in the late 1800s, and it’s as if Jim Crow and the KKK had overlooked the town. The working class neighborhoods were remarkably desegregated, unlike Richmond, where white and black kids were constantly going at it.
Jack Johnson’s best friends were all white kids, which involved shared suppers and the occasional sleepover. Large parts of Galveston seems to have slipped through the Democrats’ seine net, which explains why white-black harmony, or why Lester Motley could sleep over at my house in the early 50s in the east Kentucky coal fields are stories modern social scientists don’t want to hear about, much less study.
So when Jack won the championship, he became an instant millionaire by today’s standards. And acted like one, traveling around in a chauffer-driven touring car. And usually in the company of beautiful women…all of them white. Married three of them in fact. And like ex-New York AG, Eric Schneiderman, he even had a taste for the store-bought variety.
After all, he was a very handsome man and a fine physical specimen.
With no white hope able to dethrone Johnson, imagine how the Democrat Party of the day would seethe at his public displays.
Or for that matter, how it would seethe today that a black man would go out make something of himself without their endorsement or sponsorship. Ask Clarence Thomas, Dr Thomas Sowell, Dr Ben Carson, Herman Cain, all who made it without having to be indebted to the political class.
So instead they framed Jack Johnson on a bum wrap, the Mann Act, which was enacted to prevent carrying women across state lines for “immoral purposes”. The law was designed to bust up prostitution rings, not married people who happened to be the wrong color.
In the end, unable to convince his ex-wife to testify, they had to fall back on a woman with whom he had traveled before the Mann Act was enacted.
A fake trial but real conviction, Johnson got 12 months, spending 10 months at Leavenworth, after which he continued to fight, only out of the country.
Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune tells us how Johnson’s pardon ended up on Barack Obama’s desk, as well as GW Bush’s, and how both used “procedures”, i.e, a DOJ review, to not have to act on the request….called “shifting one’s share of the blame,”
About Bush, I can only speculate if there was a political reason, but Eric Holder gave Obama’s game away when he said that while the injustice done to Johnson was clear, the countervailing argument against a pardon because of his general treatment of women mitigated against the pardon. Bottom line, Obama acted on politics first, self-serving politics and the fear of angering the Feminist wing of the Democrat alliance and justice took a backseat.
Page went onto say that Trump did not stand on such formalities, and issued the pardon without a DOJ or politicsl review. Based on the cold naked basis of injustice, and his gut Trump pardoned him…
…thus defining a fundamental difference between the two men, in fact, several of Trump’s predecessors. A true empathy it seems exists in the man, and not the phony, forked-tongued sweet talk of 95% of the political class in America.
Trump does not pass Go, or collect $200, but goes directly to Justice when he sees any American citizen unfairly convicted or locked up.
He simply turns to someone and says “Go do this” and so far they have caused the return of two Korean-Ameri9can citizens from a prison in the North, an American citizen in Venezuela. And I am sure he has others in the wind that have not yet publically materialized.
So I wish he would appoint one of his people to find an inroad with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and obtain a full restoration of the medals and records set by Jim Thorpe from the 1912 Olympics.
You see, in the same era that Jack Johnson was framed, a Sac and Fox Indian named Jim Thorpe, from a boarding school for Indians in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, joined the world’s greatest athletes, at a time when the Olympics were almost the exclusive realm for European rich kids.
America was the first country to introduce people of color to the Olympics, (another American First), a black athlete named John Taylor being a part of the 4-man medley relay team that won gold in London in 1908. But another relay team Taylor anchored was disqualified by a British judge’s for “interference”.
In Stockholm in1912 Thorpe won two gold medals, in the grueling Pentathlon and Decathlon events, thus earning the title World’s Greatest Athlete. (Another dusky-colored American, an Hawaiian swimmer, also won gold in the 100 free style.)
There went the neighborhood.
Two people of color, both American, were perhaps a bridge too far for the Euro-centric Euros, who then took Thorpe’s medals away from him, when it was revealed that he had played baseball part-time for pay in the off-season to pay expenses.. It was inconceivable that a European kid would have to work part time jobs to come to the Olympics. Not to mention unseemly. Wot!
So, they declared Thorpe a professional and unqualified to be an Olympic amateur, stripping him of his medals, demanding they be returned, and erasing all records of his participation in Stockholm.
In 1983, under American pressure (check to see who the President was then), the IOC publically restored Thorpe’s medals, Only they didn’t. In a 2014 story at Smithsonian it was reveled that the medals the IOC returned to Thorpe’s family were only replicas, and in a footnote notation no one bothered to read, stated that his times and point totals would remain deleted from the official records.
Now you understand the ease with which the Euros try to cook the books on England’s Brexit.
Obama chose politics over justice with regards to Jack Johnson. I don’t think Donald Trump would sacrifice real justice for Jim Thorpe just to play politics and angle for a future Nobel Peace Prize. Restoring the history books back to their original state is a worthwhile pursuit, especially when any American’s accomplishments have been unjustly erased.
Besides, European peace awards are so yesterday. After giving Obama a Prize on-the-come, for an event that never happened, in fact the opposite occurred, I’d relegate the Nobel Committee to the dustbin of Hollywood Oscar flops.
Someday we’ll see a Donald Trump Award handed out to Good-Deed doers, people like Ben Carson, instead of politicians from which some sort of reciprocity is expected.
And it will be a prized possession.