Christopher Newport University

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice: Film Screening and Q&A with Writer, Director, Producer Deborah Riley Draper

October 26, 2023
6:30pm: Screening of Olympic Pride, American Prejudice 
7:45pm: Commentary and Q&A with Deborah Riley Draper

Documentary Information: 

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice explores the experiences of 18 African American Olympians who defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to win hearts and medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.  Set against the strained and turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, which was torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism.

They were world heroes yet returned home to a short-lived glory. This story is complicated. This story is triumphant but unheralded. This story is a vital part of history and is as relevant today as it was almost 80 years ago.

Deborah Riley Draper Bio: 

Deborah Riley Draper is a writer, director and award-winning filmmaker.  Deborah is currently directing the A&E docu-series JAMES BROWN: SAY IT LOUD, produced by Academy Award winner Ahmir Thompson and Mick Jagger. In 2021, Deborah wrote and directed two projects about seminal moments in history. Her docu-series, The Legacy of Black Wall Street on OWN/Discovery+, told the story of the pioneering community of Greenwood, airing 100 years to the day of the brutal massacre. This project earned Deborah a 2022 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Breakthrough Creative -Television, her 3rd nomination. Deborah's Twenty Pearls, the first original documentary to be acquired by Comcast's Black Experience Channel, features Vice-President Kamala Harris and chronicles the rarely recognized history of America's first black sorority.

The Ad Council recognized Deborah as a 2021 Champion for Good. Deborah brought her creative lens to their vital COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. Deborah wrote and directed two campaigns highlighting stories from descendants of the U.S. Public Health Services Syphilis Study at Tuskegee and families from rural communities around the U.S.

Draper is a 2016 Film Independent Lab Fellow and Variety Magazine's "2016 Top 10 Documakers to Watch." Her documentary, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, the untold story of 18 African Americans who defied Hitler and Jim Crow at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, was one of only three nominees for the 2017 Peace and Sport Award in Monaco, presented by HRH Prince Albert.  Draper's debut film, Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution, opened New York Fashion Week and Toronto Fashion Week and premiered on Logo TV in 2015. MOMA, SCAD, Guggenheim Bilboa, and the de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco have integrated the film with their major fashion exhibitions.

Draper's leadership in advertising shines in campaigns for Lamborghini, Coca-Cola classic, FedEx, and adidas. She earned two regional Emmys, a Gold Effie, and several Addy Awards.

Thursday, October 26, 2023 at 6:30pm to 9:00pm

CNU Freeman Center, Gaines Theater

Event Type

Lecture, Student Activities, Culture & Identity



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