George Nelson 1932-2016

When United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez and United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther dedicated the UFW headquarters in Delano, California, in 1969, Sparks resident and UAW member George Nelson was there.

Nelson, who died June 16, was not only a labor union activist named to the Nevada Labor Hall of Fame, but was a boxing aficionado who has been working for years for a posthumous presidential pardon for 1908-1915 heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who fought the “great white hope” fight in Reno on July 4, 1910. Johnson was convicted under the Mann Act of taking white women over state lines for immoral purposes, though the women were consenting. The law had been intended for use in cracking down on prostitution, but was used against Johnson and his companions. In December Congress called on President Obama to pardon Johnson.

An interview with Nelson is at