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American Experience; Jesse Owens

BROADCAST MASTER Jesse Owens, NOLA Code: JESO 000000 Approximate date: 2011-2012

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American Experience
Jesse Owens
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

On April 2, 1936, when the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper entered the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, he was, he later remembered, barely able to control his anger. "I was angry because of the insults that Hitler and the other German leaders had hurled at me and my Negro teammates on the Olympic squad." The young athlete would channel his raw emotions into some of the most remarkable achievements in the history of athletics, winning four gold medals. To tell the story of Owens' remarkable victories in the face of Nazi racism, this film begins in the poor Cleveland neighborhood where the young athlete grew up; details his early career; describes Adolf Hitler's outsized ambitions for the 1936 Olympics; explores the movement in Western democracies to boycott the event; and explains the pressures on Owens to attend. The film also reveals the unlikely relationship Owens struck up at the games with his German rival Carl "Luz" Long and shows, that in the end, despite his success in Germany, Owens struggled to find a place for himself in a United States that was still wrestling to overcome its own deeply entrenched racism.

A Firelight Films production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE in association with WDR.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

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Chicago: “American Experience; Jesse Owens,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 21, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6691F55AC61D4647B073BD206EDFA325.
MLA: “American Experience; Jesse Owens.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 21, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6691F55AC61D4647B073BD206EDFA325>.
APA: American Experience; Jesse Owens. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6691F55AC61D4647B073BD206EDFA325
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