Monday, February 15, 2010

same ole same ole

Ok I’m back, sorry have a lot on my plate but not enough to prevent a simple jactitation on the current President of the United States and his Cronies. Now I know we all know this is Black history month, a month in which we should I figure be trying to focus on education or even bring to the fore, past wrongs in an attempt to correct them.

If you did not know, this is the 100 year anniversary of the legendary Jack Johnson and James Jeffries fight which occurred during the summer of 1910. Born in Galveston, Texas in 1878 as Arthur John Johnson, he was the first African man to win the heavyweight boxing championship of the world. His life was one of hardship. His family lost all they owned in the great Hurricane of 1900 and he was arrested in Texas for boxing since it was against the law and considered a blood sport. Before becoming Champion of the world, Jim Jeffries refused to fight him because he was black. However Johnson went to Australia and defeated Tommy Burns to win the title in 1908 which forced Jeffries to fight him if he desired the title. After Johnson put the smack down on Jeffries (the first great white hope), folk lost their minds. There were race riots; the Texas state legislature even banned the showing of films of his victory. The only thing that could be employed to “handle” Johnson were Federal laws – mainly the Mann Act, of which he was charged for transporting white women across state lines for “immoral purposes” – a charge that was completely false. The original name of the Mann Act was the “White Slave Traffic Act”. In 1913, he was imprisoned as were many other African men to follow including Chuck Berry.

Sen. John McCain and House Rep. Peter King last year pushed a resolution through the Senate and House of asking for President Obama to pardon Johnson. However, Obama’s head of the Justice Department, Eric Holder and staff said no, suggesting they do not “traditionally” pardon dead folk compared to people "who can truly benefit" from a pardon. Truth is that Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first black graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1999, who was wrongly accused of embezzlement and G.W. Bush pardoned Charlie Winters in 2008 for illegally selling planes to Israel during the Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

Strange to me that Obama is always talking about change, but his actions seem to continue the problematic approaches to politics that we have seen historically by folks trapped inside the beltway. So Mr. President, Pardon Jack Johnson, because for some strange reason, I thought you ran on a mantra of change, not the same ole same old.

20 comments:

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Interesting to know the history of Mr. Johnson, especially being from the area. I have never heard of him. Sounds like some typical Texas shyt. Oh yeah, I think you meant he was born 1878 and not 1978,right?

Not surprised by the decision made by the administration. I don't think it means Obama/Holder are exposed as anything other than status quo politicos, not really news to me.

-OG

Rock said...

Nice post.. Thanks for share... btw can we exchange link?

GG said...

SMH. Thanks for dropping knowledge as usual

Curious said...

I've always believed that Jack Johnson was the one that young Cassius styled his life and career after. Johnson did things his way or no way and was never ashamed of it. Even when he made mistakes and admitted them, he was always proud of who he was and where he came from and where he hoped to go.

Obama & Holder could do worse by not erasing the injustice that was met out to Johnson, but they could never do better than by uplifting a proud black man who saw that the odds were against him but whose courage always made him willing to fight against them.

Jeremy said...

What a fantastic piece of historical information. i have just come across your site and every page is a great read. I feel like I have learnt a few new things and I am very interested in history and human rights. Very well written and as for Obama, very well said!

nicki nicki tembo said...

Albeit I'm aware of the treachery and collusion used against Mr Johnson, it's always nice to read how you roll things together.

He was pugilist supreme: going 26 rounds in the sweltering Cuban heat. My man fought professionally for 31 yrs and was only knocked out three times. What!

Nikki Wadley said...

I always learn lot of little known facts from your blog...interesting.

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