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Batavia lecture to focus on African-American pioneers at Olympics

How African Americans competing in early modern Olympics contributed to the civil rights movement will be discussed in Batavia by author Stanley Arnold, an associate professor of history at Northern Illinois University.
How African Americans competing in early modern Olympics contributed to the civil rights movement will be discussed in Batavia by author Stanley Arnold, an associate professor of history at Northern Illinois University.

BATAVIA – “Carrying the Torch,” a Batavia Public Library New Lyceum Lecture Series program on early African-American Olympic athletes, will be presented at 7 p.m. Oct. 16.

While most Americans are familiar with the triumphs of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Summer Olympics, few are aware that dozens of African Americans competed in the Olympics from 1896 to 1948. The presentation seeks to shed light on the neglected pioneers and examine their contribution to the civil rights movement.

Presenter Stanley Arnold is an associate professor of history at Northern Illinois University and the author of "Building the Beloved Community: Philadelphia's Interracial Civil Rights Organizations, 1930-1970." He also is working on a book that focuses on the intersection of race and sports.

The lecture is free, but registration is required at bataviapubliclibrary.org or 630-879-1393, ext. 200. The series, sponsored by the Batavia Public Library Foundation, is held at the library, located at 10 S. Batavia Ave.

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