At a time when race relations in our nation have torn at the social fabric of cities large and small, a time when interracial contact is characterized by the mistrust and violence that divide so many communities, it is more important than ever to tell stories that embody the full promise of blacks and whites working side by side on shared dreams—and succeeding. And that’s a story that Atlanta is uniquely positioned to tell.
A True Story Never Told
The Games in Black & White will present a compelling narrative about the single most successful black and white partnership in the American South in the civil rights era. Framed against the backdrop of Atlanta’s vibrant civil rights history, this documentary will tell the story of two men, Billy Payne and Andy Young, and the improbable quest they mounted to win the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games for the city they loved.
Beyond the tale of their thrilling victorious quest to host the Games, beyond the athletic highlights reel and the extraordinary social and economic legacy the Olympics left the city, The Games will also demonstrate how two men, one black, one white, embodied the promise of the civil rights movement and helped fulfill the destiny of the City Too Busy To Hate.
This is more than a documentary; it’s a historic civic opportunity. The Games in Black & White will recast the story of Atlanta’s two greatest achievements—the Civil Rights Movement and the Centennial Olympic Games—to reveal how the latter would have been impossible without the former.
This is a story that Atlanta needs to tell future generations, reminding them of the city’s early emergence as a black mecca and a beacon of hope for racial harmony. It is time to set the record straight and tell the full—and true—story of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in the context of Atlanta’s larger history—to show how the city harnessed a global sporting event as an engine of social, political and economic transformation that expanded the city’s civil rights heritage in ways that have too long been hidden from the public conversation.