Our Heroes

Film Series: Our Heroes

Compiled by film critic Shawn Edwards, this film series offers several perspectives on the portrayal of African American sports figures as heroes who face injustice while overcoming racist clichés and stereotypes. Throughout February 2009, Our Heroes showcases some of the most important black sports movies every Monday at 6:30 p.m. and every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

The film series includes:

The Jackie Robinson Story (1950) on February 2 and February 7. This biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball, stars Jackie Robinson himself as he retraces his career in the Negro Baseball Leagues and the Major Leagues. Not Rated. (76 minutes.)

Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975) on February 9 and February 14. This is the story of Nathaniel “Cornbread” Hamilton (Jamaal Wilkes), a basketball superstar who was on his way to becoming the first man from his community to go to college before his dream was tragically ended. Also features a young Laurence Fishburne in one of his earliest roles. Rated PG. (95 minutes.)

Greased Lightning (1977) on February 16 and February 21. This film is based on the true life story of Wendell Scott (Richard Pryor), the first black stock car racing champion in America. Rated PG. (96 minutes.)

The Great White Hope (1970) on February 23 and February 28. Jack Jefferson (James Earl Jones) is the first black heavyweight contender and must deal with the racism and hatred of early-20th century white America. Loosely based on the controversial life of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world. Rated PG-13. (103 minutes.)

This film series complements The Manifestation of the Black Hero on Screen on Wednesday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Both the presentation and film series anticipate the premiere of Edwards’ new documentary Our Heroes: The 25 Best Black Sports Movies (Ever) on February 28 at the Gem Theatre at 18th and Vine. Visit www.iloveblackmovies.com for more information.