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Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

Documentary Competition


(2016, 80 min.)

Directed by: Deborah Riley Draper
Screenwriter: Deborah Riley Draper
Producers: Blair Underwood, Amy Tiemann, Michael A. Draper, Deborah Riley Draper
Cinematographer: Jonathan Hall
Editor: Sandra Christie, Pascal Akeeson
Music: Cheryl Rogers
Cast: Isiah Thomas, Carl Lewis, Lonnie Bunch, Joanna Hayes

Before defiant fists were raised in protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics, 18 African American athletes paved the way for future generations by competing in the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. History has placed Jesse Owens on his own pedestal, but Deborah Riley Draper’s debut feature film sheds light on the cumulative work of 17 other Black athletes and their journey from America’s attempted boycott of the ’36 Olympics, to the trials, competition and the athletes’ unceremonious return home. The courage and success of these men and women sparked pride among the African American community, as they defied both the institutional racism of Jim Crow America and the Nazi doctrine of Aryan supremacy. Their camaraderie and collective action was a critical step towards the Civil Rights Movement.

Compelling footage is paired with interviews from athletes, experts and surviving family members who share an important story that was almost lost to history.
–Stephanie Owens

Hosted by California African American Museum

Second screening added by popular demand.


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