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And on the lighter side…..

By Dave Schneiderman, Supervisor, Office of Grants Fiscal
Friday, March 4, 2016 - 4:23pm

I, like many people in my position, spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s reading the new ESSA Law.  It was 391 pages of light and easy reading until I came upon page 338.  Being so far into the new law, my mind was a bit numb and I did not stop until 3 pages later.  I had to back up to make sure what I read wasn’t a hallucination.  But there it was, page 338, SEC. 9206, right between “Report on Department Actions to Address Office of Inspector General Reports” and “Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 Reauthorization”; “Posthumous Pardon.”

This section speaks of a man named Jack Johnson.  Many of you may know of this man considering he was a legend in the boxing world.  Several movies have been made about him, like the “The Great White Hope” from the 1970s.  This section of ESSA made my day, not only because of the content, but also because it was a fantastic pause in the sometimes mundane reading.  It made the rest of the law a little bit easier to digest.

I present to you, SEC. 9206:


(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

(1) John Arthur `Jack' Johnson was a flamboyant, defiant, and controversial figure in the history

of the United States who challenged racial biases.

(2) Jack Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1878 to parents who were former slaves.

(3) Jack Johnson became a professional boxer and traveled throughout the United States, fighting White and African-American heavyweights.

(4) After being denied (on purely racial grounds) the opportunity to fight 2 White champions, in 1908, Jack Johnson was granted an opportunity by an Australian promoter to fight the reigning White title-holder, Tommy Burns.

(5) Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns to become the first African-American to hold the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World.

(6) The victory by Jack Johnson over Tommy Burns prompted a search for a White boxer who could beat Jack Johnson, a recruitment effort that was dubbed the search for the `great white hope'.

(7) In 1910, a White former champion named Jim Jeffries left retirement to fight Jack Johnson in Reno, Nevada.

(8) Jim Jeffries lost to Jack Johnson in what was deemed the `Battle of the Century'.

(9) The defeat of Jim Jeffries by Jack Johnson led to rioting, aggression against African-Americans, and the racially-motivated murder of African-Americans throughout the United States.

(10) The relationships of Jack Johnson with White women compounded the resentment felt toward him by many Whites.

(11) Between 1901 and 1910, 754 African-Americans were lynched, some simply for being `too familiar' with White women.

(12) In 1910, Congress passed the Act of June 25, 1910 (commonly known as the `White Slave Traffic Act' or the `Mann Act') (18 U.S.C. 2421 et seq.), which outlawed the transportation of women in interstate or foreign commerce `for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose'.

(13) In October 1912, Jack Johnson became involved with a White woman whose mother disapproved of their relationship and sought action from the Department of Justice, claiming that Jack Johnson had abducted her daughter.

(14) Jack Johnson was arrested by Federal marshals on October 18, 1912, for transporting the woman across State lines for an `immoral purpose' in violation of the Mann Act.

(15) The Mann Act charges against Jack Johnson were dropped when the woman refused to cooperate with Federal authorities, and then married Jack Johnson.

(16) Federal authorities persisted and summoned a White woman named Belle Schreiber, who testified that Jack Johnson had transported her across State lines for the purpose of `prostitution and debauchery'.

(17) In 1913, Jack Johnson was convicted of violating the Mann Act and sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in Federal prison.

(18) Jack Johnson fled the United States to Canada and various European and South American countries.

(19) Jack Johnson lost the Heavyweight Championship title to Jess Willard in Cuba in 1915.

(20) Jack Johnson returned to the United States in July 1920, surrendered to authorities, and served nearly a year in the Federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

(21) Jack Johnson subsequently fought in boxing matches, but never regained the Heavyweight Championship title.

(22) Jack Johnson served the United States during World War II by encouraging citizens to buy war bonds and participating in exhibition boxing matches to promote the war bond cause.

(23) Jack Johnson died in an automobile accident in 1946.

(24) In 1954, Jack Johnson was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

(25) Senate Concurrent Resolution 29, 111th Congress, agreed to July 29, 2009, expressed the sense of the 111th Congress that Jack Johnson should receive a posthumous pardon for his racially-motivated 1913 conviction.

(b) Recommendations- It remains the sense of Congress that Jack Johnson should receive a posthumous pardon--

(1) to expunge a racially-motivated abuse of the prosecutorial authority of the Federal Government from the annals of criminal justice in the United States; and

(2) in recognition of the athletic and cultural contributions of Jack Johnson to society.