The Black Eagles

At the 1936 Olympics, 18 black athletes went to Berlin as part of the U.S. team. Pictured here are (left to right rear) Dave Albritton, and Cornelius Johnson, high jumpers; Tidye Pickett, a hurdler; Ralph Metcalfe, a sprinter; Jim Clark, a boxer, and Mack Robinson, a sprinter. In front are John Terry, (left) a weight lifter and John Brooks, a long jumper. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

There were eighteen African-American athletes on the U.S. Team in the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany. They won 14 medals — eight of them gold: a quarter of the 56 medals won by the entire U.S. team. Most of them have been all but forgotten.

“It was easier to tell the story of one African-American because that was an anomaly,” said Deborah Riley Draper, who wrote, directed and produced a new documentary called Olympic Pride, American Prejudice. “But eighteen stories was more than the Jim Crow newspapers wanted to report on.”

This is the story of the other seventeen.

 

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