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Posthumous Pardon Request For Boxing Champ Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson (1878 - 1946) was one of the greatest yet most unpopular Heavyweight boxers of all time. In 1908 he took the world title from Tommy Burns and held on to it until Jess Willard beat him in 1915. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Jack Johnson (1878 - 1946) was one of the greatest yet most unpopular Heavyweight boxers of all time. In 1908 he took the world title from Tommy Burns and held on to it until Jess Willard beat him in 1915. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The Every Student Succeeds Act, which is an overhaul of the federal No Child Left Behind law, includes an unusual non-education item: a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, the first African-American to win the world heavyweight boxing champion title.

Johnson won the title in 1908 and was subsequently set up in “The Fight of the Century” against a white boxer. He got in trouble for being involved with white women and was ultimately put in jail for a year.

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