CHICAGO (CBS) — Jessie Owens broke civil rights barriers and Olympic records in the 1930’s.
Tuesday night, a film honoring the track star’s legacy premiered right here in Chicago where his family continues to call home.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole was on the red carpet.
Before they shot a single frame of “Race,” Jesse Owen’s story had all the drama of a Hollywood film.
“He’s so much bigger than an American hero he’s really is a world hero,” said Stephan James, who plays Owens in the film.
With dignity and grace, Owen won four gold medals in track and field at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The backdrop for the African-American’s success was Nazi Germany and Hitler’s doctrine of Aryan superiority.
His children who continue to call Chicago home proudly walked the red carpet Tuesday night in their father’s honor and served as consultants on the film.
Daughter Marlene Rankin said the most important thing was that, “History not be rewritten and that it be truthful.”
“Nobody’s perfect, but my father had a wonderful, wonderful life,” said daughter Gloria Hemphill.
His daughter’s say Owens never spoke much at home about the emotions surrounding his achievements. They’d learn more through his speeches and writings, impressions now reflected in film.
“When we say the final of the movie I think we all cried,” said Rankin.