The Journey of the African-American Athlete (1996)

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


Inspired by Arthur Ashe’s three volume A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African-American Athlete, this cable documentary from 1996 remains definitive.

The African-American athlete is today a much-loved hero in American sports. In fields as diverse as tennis, football, basketball, baseball, track and more, the men and women who led the way and those who followed have become icons the world over. But the adoration we accept today was once rejection as these athletes undertook the struggle to meet their fellow competitors on a level playing field. The road that led to this legacy of achievement is paved with the names of the famous, and many are featured here, captured in some of the finest moments in sports history. Includes boxing’s Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali; basketball’s Harlem Globetrotters, Dr. J and Michael “Air” Jordan; tennis stars Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe; baseball’s Negro Leagues and the breakthrough of Jackie Robinson; Jesse Owens’ triumph in the 1936 Olympics, and Tommie Smith’s Black Panther salute of the Olympics of 1968.

Shared for historical purposes. I do not own the rights.

Reelblack’s mission is to educate, elevate, entertain, enlighten, and empower through Black film. If there is content shared on this platform that you feel infringes on your intellectual property, please email me at and with details and it will be promptly removed.