San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Laurens Grant has chronicled the most famous athlete of his time. Jesse Owens’ stunning triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games captivated the world even as it infuriated the Nazis. Despite the racial slurs he endured, his grace and athleticism rallied crowds across the globe. But when the four-time Olympic gold medalist returned home, he could not even ride in the front of a bus. Grant’s film about the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper who triumphed over adversity to become a hero and world champion recently won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Research. Yet Jesse Owens also explores the elusive, fleeting quality of fame and the way Americans idolize athletes when they suit our purpose, and forget them once they don't.
When & Where
Eric K. Washington is a fellow in Columbia’s Community Scholars Program. He is also the owner of Tagging-the-Past, whose mission is to reconnect forgotten history with present landscapes through tours, talks and writing.