Video: In this 2005 “Chicago Tonight” segment, John Callaway tells the story of Jack Johnson.
In 1908, boxer Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title – at a time when whites and blacks rarely entered the same ring.
Johnson then defeated a series of “great white hopes,” culminating in his 1910 win against the undefeated former champ James J. Jeffries.
But in 1913, Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act for traveling with his white girlfriend. The law made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral purposes.” He served about a year in prison.
When issuing the pardon, President Donald Trump said, “it’s about time.”
Johnson lived in Chicago for much of his life and ran a popular South Side nightclub, Café de Champion.