Tag: Jesse Owens

Documentary “The Duce’s Boxer” Details How Leone Jacovacci, an African Italian Boxer, Humiliated Mussolini

1928 European Middleweight Champion Leone Jacovacci (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

A documentary about Leone Jacovacci, a black Italian boxer who discredited 20th century Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s racist ideology by winning a European boxing title is making waves in Italy and abroad, reports Variety. “The Duce’s Boxer” tells the story of Jacovacci, an African Italian born in the Congo who won the 1928 European middleweight title by beating Mario Bosisio, a white Italian boxer supported by the country’s Fascist leaders, in front of 40,000 fans in Rome’s National Stadium.

Mussolini, outraged, then ordered Jacovacci and his achievement erased from Italy’s history books. But 89 years later, Jacovacci’s story has been resurrected. “The Duce’s Boxer” premieres today (March 21) in 25 Italian cities to mark the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Based on the book “Black Roman” by Italian sociologist Mauro Valeri, a former head of the country’s National Xenophobia Observatory, “The Duce’s Boxer” is directed by first-timer Tony Saccucci. Saccucci used archive footage from Italian state film entity Istituto Luce and photos provided by Jacovacci’s family, according to Variety.

Saccucci found that footage of the title match had been tampered with by Fascist censors. Jacovacci’s story is reminiscent of American track-and-field athlete Jesse Owens’ feat when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, debunking Hitler’s creed of Aryan supremacy.

To read more, go to: New Documentary Details How a Black Italian Boxer Humiliated Mussolini | EURweb

NBA Legend Michael Jordan Donates $5 Million to Smithsonian’s New African-American Museum

NBA Legend Michael Jordan (photo via biography.com)
NBA Legend Michael Jordan (photo via biography.com)

article via theurbandaily.com

Following his generous contributions of $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Michael Jordan is doing a lot more sharing these days.

According to reports, Jordan has donated $5 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture Museum. Officials revealed that the gift is the largest from a sports figure to the 19th Smithsonian museum and pushes private donations to $278 million. Including federal aid, the museum, which President Obama will open in September, has raised more than $548 million.

The NBA legend said in a statement, “I am grateful for the opportunity to support this museum. I also am indebted to the historic contributions of community leaders and athletes such as Jesse Owens, whose talent, commitment and perseverance broke racial barriers and laid the groundwork for the successful careers of so many African Americans in athletics and beyond.”

Source: Michael Jordan Donates $5 Million To African-American Museum | The Urban Daily

Adidas Celebrates Jesse Owens with Black History Month Footwear Collection

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 8.59.53 PM
Jesse Owens Collection by Adidas

Inspired by the triumph of an American sports and cultural hero, adidas celebrates Jesse Owens with its Black History Month footwear collection.

The facts are simple, Jesse Owens was the most famous track and field athlete of all time, and in 1950 when the Associated Press conducted a poll to determine the greatest track and field athlete of the first half of the twentieth century, the results didn’t even come close – Owens by a landslide.

Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens
Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens

Raised in Ohio with Alabama roots, it was in the span of 45 minutes on one single afternoon on May 25, 1935, at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan that Owens electrified the sports world with the greatest one-man, one-day performance the sport had ever known – breaking three world records and tying a fourth.

One year later, at the 1936 Berlin summer games, Owens became a groundbreaking athlete and symbol for social justice and equality after a historic performance where he became the first American track & field athlete to win four gold medals in a single games, all while under tremendous global tension.

Owens accomplished the feat in track spikes hand-crafted by adidas founder Adi Dassler, who carried the glove leather spikes from his workshop in Herzogenaurach, a Bavarian village just 300 miles to the South. Owens’ athletic performance, wearing the spikes of adidas, marked one of the most significant sports and cultural moments of the 20th century.

“The Owens family is pleased to partner with adidas for Black History Month with a commemorative basketball shoe. On the feet of athletes who compete in the spirit of Jesse’s historic accomplishments, these shoes encompass the significance of one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.”

Concurrently, the Focus Features Jesse Owens biopic “Race” will hit theaters on February 19.

Continue reading “Adidas Celebrates Jesse Owens with Black History Month Footwear Collection”

Jesse Owens Biopic Hires British Actor John Boyega As Its Leading Man

John Boyega
British Actor John Boyega to play Jesse Owens in biopic “Race.” (Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

According to Variety.com, British actor John Boyega will portray Olympic athlete Jesse Owens in the biopic Race, with shooting set to start in May in Berlin and Montreal. Stephen Hopkins (Judgment Night, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers) who will direct from a script by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel, said, “John Boyega is definitely one of the most exciting young actors working today and I am thrilled to have him on board to play the iconic role of Jesse Owens in Race.” 

The 21-year-old Boyega stars in Malik Vitthal’s inner-city drama Imperial Dreams, which premiered Jan. 17 at the Sundance Film Festival. He debuted in feature films in 2011′s Attack the Block and appeared in 2012′s Half of a Yellow Sun opposite Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor 

Race will focus on how Owens, the son of an Alabama sharecropper, shattered Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by winning a record four gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump and the 400-meter relay. Owens’ victories are considered among the greatest atlhetic feats of all time.  Hitler had insisted Jews and Blacks not be allowed to participate in the games, but relented when threatened with a boycott. He shook hands only with the German victors on the first day of competition and then skipped all further medal presentations.

Shooting locations include the actual Berlin Olympic stadium where Owens won the four gold medals. Producers are aiming for a release in the spring of next year.  Race is supported by the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary Group, and has been been in development for the past two years.  Race is a different project from the Disney biopic about Owens, which has Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) attached to direct.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Disney Laces Up to Make Biopic About Legendary Olympian Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens Movie Disney

Disney is developing a biographical feature film about American track and field hero Jesse Owens, setting up the project with production companies BermanBraun and Netter Films and attaching Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) to direct.  The untitled film is based on the book Triumph, written ESPN host Jeremy Schaap. David Seidler, who won a screenwriting Oscar for The King’s Speech, is on board to write the screenplay.

Set against the backdrop of  the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Triumph tells the story of how the son of an Alabama sharecropper shattered Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy by winning a record four gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump and the 400-meter relay.  Hitler had insisted Jews and Blacks not be allowed to participate in the games, but relented when threatened with a boycott. He shook hands only with the German victors on the first day of competition and then skipped all further medal presentations.

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

Jesse Owens’ Olympic Gold Medal Sells for Record $1.4 Million

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) — An Olympic gold medal won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games has sold for a record $1.4 million in an online auction.  SCP Auctions said Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle paid $1,466,574, the highest price for a piece of Olympic memorabilia. The online auction ended Sunday.

“We just hope that it’s purchased by an institution where the public could have access to it, a museum or something like that,” Owens’ daughter, Marlene Owens Rankin of Chicago, told The Associated Press before the sale.  The auction house said Burkle, who also owns William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize for literature, has plans for an educational tour of the historic pieces. He wasn’t available for comment Sunday.  The Los Angeles billionaire investor’s holdings include retail, food and entertainment companies.

Owens won gold in the 100- and 200-meters, 400 relay and long jump at the games attended by Adolf Hitler, who used the Olympics to showcase his ideas of Aryan supremacy.  According to the auction house based in Laguna Niguel, Calif., the medal is unidentifiable to a specific event. It said Owens gave the medal to his friend, dancer and movie star Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, as thanks for helping Owens find work in entertainment after he returned from Berlin.

The medal was sold by the estate of Robinson’s late widow, Elaine Plaines-Robinson. SCP Auctions Vice President Dan Imler said the Owens family confirmed the medal is original; the whereabouts of the other three is unknown.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the medal will be donated to the Jesse Owens Foundation. The Robinson family had declined to comment on the auction, but Imler said they also plan to use the proceeds to pay college tuition.

Continue reading “Jesse Owens’ Olympic Gold Medal Sells for Record $1.4 Million”

GBN Quote Of The Day

“Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it, and you’ll start believing in it.”

— Jesse Owens, four-time Olympic gold medal winner