Senate Urges Pardon For First Black Boxing Champ - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Senate Urges Pardon For First Black Boxing Champ

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Senate is urging President Barack Obama to pardon the late black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who was sent to prison nearly a century ago because of his romantic ties with a white woman.

The Senate approved the resolution by voice vote on Wednesday.

Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion in 1908 - 100 years before Obama was elected America's first black president. Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for immoral purposes.

The resolution was sponsored by Obama's 2008 opponent, John McCain. Similar resolutions offered in 2004 and last year failed to pass both chambers of Congress.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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