Lawmakers urge pardon for first black boxing champ

Two Republican lawmakers are urging President Barack Obama to issue a posthumous pardon for boxer Jack Johnson, the black heavyweight champion who was imprisoned because of his romantic ties with a white woman.

Arizona Sen. John McCain and New York Rep. Peter King wrote to Obama about the pardon in a letter obtained by The Associated Press.

Congress has passed a resolution offered by the two lawmakers urging a pardon, which they call “long overdue.” McCain and King say a pardon would remove a stain on the nation’s history.

The White House had no immediate comment on the letter.

Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion 100 years before the nation elected Obama its first black president.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.