The documentaries Olympic Pride, American Prejudice and Munich ’72 and Beyond both follow the stories of several Olympic athletes that have impacted the world. The athletes in both films were subject to prejudices, and what happened to them while at their separate Olympic games are important parts of history. The stories told in these documentaries have the ability to teach important lessons of strength and perseverance to people today.
The film Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, written and directed by Deborah Riley Draper and narrated and executive produced by Blair Underwood, recounts the story of 18 African American athletes at the Olympic Summer Games of 1936 held in Berlin, Germany. This film covers the stories of the 17 lesser known teammates of Jesse Owens, which included two women athletes. The film was just selected for consideration as a potential Oscar nominee.
These 18 athletes defied Adolf Hitler, Jim Crow segregation, and were representing a country that viewed them as inferior human beings. This past September all 18 of the Olympic athletes were recognized at the White House by President Obama, 80 years after their heroic summer in Berlin.
Director Riley Draper said, “Our film can change hearts and minds in the same way the black athletes did in 1936. We shed light on an 80 year-old act of bias and ignited a movement to ensure their story and legacy lives on.”
Whether or not you are familiar with the story of these Olympians, watching the film and hearing the recounted stories and experiences of these athletes will shed new insights on an incredible story of strength and perseverance. Munich ’72 and Beyond, directed by Stephen Crisman and executive produced by Michael Cascio, tells the story of the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Summer Olympics in 1972.
The event known as the “Munich Massacre” was the first act of modern terrorism and became a historical turning point for not only for the Olympics, but for terrorism. In the documentary, family members, eyewitnesses, law enforcement, Olympic officials, Israelis, and Palestinians are all interviewed to recount the horrific crime that was committed in the summer of 1972.
The documentary uncovers negligence and misconduct of those involved with the case. The families discuss the four-decades-long battle that went into creating a public memorial to recognize, remember, and tell the story of the loved ones who tragically lost their lives at the Olympic games of 1972.
Both documentaries will be screened at the Museum: Olympic Pride, American Prejudice on November 13 at 2 P.M. and Munich ’72 and Beyond on November 16 at 7 P.M. Admission is free and advance registration is recommended.