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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Obama is pressed for a pardon

October 17, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Sen. John McCain pressed President Obama to give a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, the black heavyweight boxing champion who was imprisoned nearly a century ago because of his romantic ties with a white woman.

McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) noted in a letter to Obama that both houses of Congress this summer passed their resolution urging a pardon.

After the vote, the lawmakers wrote to Obama in August asking him to issue the pardon.

"Regrettably, we have not received a response from you or any member of your administration," they wrote in the letter, adding they hoped that Obama would be eager to "right this wrong and erase an act of racism that sent an American citizen to prison."

The White House declined to comment on the letter.

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