President Trump posthumously pardons boxer Jack Johnson

President Trump signed a full posthumous pardon for former heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson in a surprise Oval Office ceremony alongside actor Sylvester Stallone.
5:58 | 05/24/18

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Transcript for President Trump posthumously pardons boxer Jack Johnson
This would set up quite a long time ago well mrs. name very interest in day. We have going this was very important to Sylvester Stallone my friend along times. Paul wrote. Credible people here we have the current heavyweight champion well beyond that while there. He's forty you know gentleman years forty you know 39 I guess. And we have Lennox Lewis who would you were of the greatest heavyweight champions of all unbelievable heart in welfare is unbelievable talent. It was a talented. And if life. Really what sort of work you know. That I take the other day and find. His 43 in America who might take him in a fight if I really went to work. You forgive hospitals long arm again long. We also have. Linda bell Haywood he maternal great great. From the use of jet jobs. We also don't have heard of Jack Johnson had a very. Tough life and an interesting one of the greatest fighters lettuce was just one of the greatest. There's. And early nineteen hundreds today as president. I've issued an executive grant of clemency in full pardon posthumously. To. John author Jack Johnson is known as Jack Johnson. The first African American heavyweight champion of the world. A truly great fighter. Had a tough life. They say he violated the Mann act. And he had a conviction that occurred during a period of tremendous racial tension and the United States more than a century. Johnson served ten months in federal prison for what many view as a racially motivated justice he was treated. Very rough very tough. Born and 1878. In Galveston Texas two former slaves Johnson overcame difficult circumstances. To reach the heights of boxing. One of the greatest that ever lived. Congratulations. Because I know you'll look very hard to have this thinking that you haven't allowed Nixon's life. And my friend Kate was Kate and my friend cases very successful. And the champ you all fought very very hard to get this done so it's my honor to do. Spent time. A special moment look at. Well it that he was presents incredible. You've done this because it's one thing I've been so fullest with the Iraqi situation playing that character and actually when I was writing that. I'm thinking about inspiration for this Apollo creed and that was Jack Johnson figuratively and credible. Character and blew his throat treated so unfairly take his prime was taken away. But somehow he still managed to persevere kept a smile on his face and he's truly inspirational character so. This is that a long time coming. First minute thank you very much as though meeting. Probably the I'm only blood relative level but you're let the weather really really fought for and I appreciate that so it's an honor to take. Kind of a fictional character rocky and do something in the world the reality and thank you for making that happen. When she object and lewd conduct saying something about it Jack. This has been a long time coming and I am really slow way down because. For so long. My family was deeply ashamed. That uncle went to prison because of how he was treated. That they never released over him. Accident many times I did not realize and know he was uncle until I was twelve years old because there. Fame and meet the shame that the family Carrey and most of them took it to their graves. By this pardon being issue that would help to rewrite history any races shame and humiliation. There aren't family felt. For my problem of great hero. Being imprisoned unjustly. And so many people have come along with me. This journey so many people I cannot release saying them all. The most important person that decided to do this is seeking its apparently have. President shop and I thank him I think we see absolutely mind I think we guilt who vote who took a lot of effort to find me. And this is so this system Malone who. Boldly put it in his ears and when he tweeted my entire life change such that people wouldn't leave me alone. And now it's going to be even important thing but I'm I'm fine with that but I appreciate you. Right history and also ready to spend. Senator John McCain all of his efforts and congressman Peter king and I've spoken with Samuel columns of Hitchcock Texas and reverend Jesse Jackson so many people have helped me. And my family now can go fall it knowing that this change. And the pain has the race. And history it will be re written and I sincerely think use their day and you and everybody that brought me here. I am just Waltz.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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