Olympic Pride, American Prejudice: The Untold Story of 17 African Americans Who Defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to Compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Deborah Riley Draper and Travis Thrasher. Atria, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6215-2
Filmmaker Draper, director of Versailles ’73, and Thrasher (Solitary) offer a stirring companion to the eponymous 2016 documentary about the 18 African-American athletes who competed for the U.S. at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. While Jesse Owens is the best-known name, this work is “the story of the others” who faced prejudice in both Germany and in Jim Crow America, many of whom later served in WWII. The book charts the backgrounds and lives of athletes such as hurdler Tidye Pickett, who won races as an eight-year-old girl in Chicago, and James LuValle, who won medals at the Olympics and later became a celebrated chemist. The narrative builds to the games themselves, with gripping descriptions of the races and an account of how athletes including Dave Albritton, Cornelius Johnson, and Delos Thurber refused to give the Nazi salute in front of Hitler, instead extending “their wrists turned upward and their thumbs slightly cocked down.” Cutting across disciplines, this stirring remembrance of athletes who have long been overshadowed will resonate with anyone interested in the Olympics or the history of civil rights. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/21/2019
Release date: 11/27/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-5011-6216-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0554-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0552-9
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