“People today don’t even know who Jesse Owens was. They don’t have no idea what happened in 1936 [at the Olympics in Berlin]. That’s what’s scary, because our history is being lost. The world should recognize how Owens transcended race. His life was so remarkable. And he came up during the time of no drugs, no steroids, none of that, yet his record [winning four gold medals in track and field in a single Olympics] stood all the way till Carl Lewis [who matched the performance at the 1984 Games]. He really put the U.S. in the forefront of the world for taking down the German empire. It’s funny, because when he got back to the United States after winning those four gold medals, there was a ticker-tape parade to the Waldorf-Astoria—and would you believe, they wouldn’t let him in the front door? He had to go in the service elevator. It’s very epic, very beautiful to play him and introduce him to a new generation.”
Anthony Mackie, in an interview with Interview Magazine
The rest of the interview focuses more on Mackie’s role as Tupac Shakur in the upcoming Notorious, but his comments on Jesse Owens are spot-on. You can learn more about Owens and why he’s so important at the website run by the Jesse Owens Trust.