Sunday, July 3, 2011

Watch List: Fugitive Jack Johnson Wanted Early Release

The Associated Press reports that research in the National Archives has uncovered the fact that the long-dead boxing great Jack Johnson, who was convicted under the Mann Act, wrote a letter a 1921 letter to the U.S. Attorney General saying the prosecutor in his trial made "flagrant appeals to passion, race hatred and moral infamies." It is now claimed that Johnson sought parole during his 10-month sentence (even though he was once a fugitive from justice) and that he actually filed an application with the president seeking clemency. The AP provocatively writes:
Now, under a black president and black attorney general, the Justice Department is against pardoning Johnson. 
... which is much, much more exciting to read than:
Now, under a black president and black attorney general, the Justice Department is following the policy of almost every other Justice Department and attempting to focus on the applications of living persons, who are suffering disabilities, more than symbolic congressional politics on behalf of the dead.
In 1921, it appears that the Associated Press reported that Attorney General Daugherty (perhaps one of the most corrupt persons to serve in that position in history) was "considering" a pardon for the boxer "in time for a heavyweight fight." But, today, the primary arguments for this useless exercise remain "appeals to passion and race hatred." Indeed, the AP notes what is apparently Johnson's primary virtue - namely, that he was "hated by many white Americans [especially] after retaining his title by defeating white boxer Jim Jeffries." The word "especially" is a surrogate for a dozen other reasons not to be so fond of the Jack Johnson, including alcoholism, whore mongering, spousal abuse, reckless driving, etc. See full article here.

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