Via: (NBC News) Relatives of Jesse Owens and America’s 17 other black athletes from the 1936 Olympics were welcomed to the White House on Thursday by President Barack Obama for the acknowledgement they didn’t receive along with their white counterparts 80 years ago.
Along with the relatives of the 1936 African-American Olympians, gloved-fist protesters Tommie Smith and John Carlos and members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams met the president and first lady Michelle Obama.
Obama congratulated the Rio athletes, thanked Smith and Carlos for waking up Americans in 1968 and praised 1936 Olympians who made a statement in front of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.
After running down a list of accomplishments of U.S. athletes in Rio, Obama singled out some people who “paved the way” for the current diverse Olympic team, including Owens, Smith and Carlos.
Owens winning four gold medals and being snubbed by Hitler is a piece of American history, but Obama made sure to note that the accomplishments at the 1936 Berlin Olympics weren’t just about him.
“It was other African-American athletes in the middle of Nazi Germany under the gaze of Adolf Hitler than put a lie to notions of racial superiority — whooped ’em and taught them a thing or two about democracy and taught them a thing or two about the American character,” Obama said. “We’re honored to have many of their families here today.”