Monday, January 21, 2008

Context: African-Americans and the Pardon Power

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I am reflecting on some famous, or at least notable, African-Americans who were recipients of federal executive clemency. I have listed a few that come to mind and the presidents who extended clemency:

Participants in the Navasaa Riots of 1889 (Benjamin Harrison)
Alexander Allen - defendant of Judge Isaac Parker (Grover Cleveland)
Marcus Garvey - Black Power activist (Calvin Coolidge)
Participants in the Houston Riot of 1917 (Woodrow Wilson)
Josephine Berry - female who avoided execution (Woodrow Wilson)
Thomas Henry Robinson - famous kidnapper (Harry Truman)
Leon A. Gilbert - controversial soldier (Harry Truman)
Hampton Hawes - jazz legend (John F. Kennedy)
Thomas W. Matthew - proponent of black capitalism and self-help (Richard Nixon)
Rhozier T. Brown - television personality (Gerald Ford)
Charles "Tex" Harrison - Harlem Globetrotter (George H.W. Bush)
Dorothy Rivers - HUD grant abuser (Bill Clinton)
Preston King - famous draft fugitive (Bill Clinton)
Freddie Meeks - Port Chicago soldier (Bill Clinton)
Henry O. Flipper - first African American West Point graduate (Bill Clinton)
Mel Reynolds - former congressman (Bill Clinton)

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