Friday, September 26, 2008

In the Midst of Financial Collapse ... A Passionate Call for Symbolic Mercy

The Associated Press reports that the House of Representatives took time out today to recommend (by voice vote) that Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, "should be granted a presidential pardon for a racially motivated conviction 75 years ago that blemished his reputation and hurt his boxing career." Johnson was convicted of violating the Mann Act in 1913 and fled the country. He then returned and served serve nearly a year at Leavenworth. But, afterward, he failed to regain his title. Rep Peter King (R-NY) authored the resolution and says, "[Johnson] was a victim of the times and we need to set the record straight — clear his name — and recognize him for his groundbreaking contribution to the sport of boxing." Over in the U.S. Senate Republican presidential nominee John McCain (AZ) has a companion resolution.

Other dead people deserving mercy: O Henry, Ellis H. Parker, Samuel Mudd, Marcus Garvey ... See story here.

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