Part 2 of 2.
Eighteen Black athletes represented the United States in the 1936 Olympics — triple the number who had competed for the United States in the 1932 Los Angeles Games. African-Americans dominated the popular track and field events, and in the end, Black athletes brought home 14 medals, nearly one-fourth of the 56 medals awarded the U.S. team in all events.
Many American journalists hailed the victories of Jesse Owens and other Blacks as a blow to the Nazi myth of Aryan supremacy. However, the continuing social and economic discrimination the Black medalists faced upon returning home underscored the irony of their victory in racist Germany.
In this video, athlete John Woodruff, professor David Wiggins, professor Clayborne Carson, and author Jeremy Schaap reflect on the history of black athletes in American sports and the relevance of their achievements at the 1936 Olympics.
To learn more about the 1936 Olympics, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at