Who was Jim Thorpe? Why is he a significant historical figure?

Reading Questions – into one paragraph

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1) Who was Jim Thorpe? Why is he a significant historical figure?

2) Professor Rubinfeld argues that Thorpe’s racial heritage contributed to his legend in three significant ways. Can you identify them?

3) Rubinfeld contends, “racial perceptions have shaped and been shaped by racial representations.” (pg. 169) How does this apply to Jim Thorpe?

4) How did newspaper writers portray Thorpe during his athletic career?

5) Why did white writers claim Thorpe as “a true American” immediately after the 1912 Stockholm Olympics? Was Thorpe treated as “a true American” back in the United States? Were other Native Americans?

6) Why did the Amateur Athletic Union rescind Thorpe’s amateur athletic status? Why did the International Olympic Committee expunge his gold medals?

7) How did the Hollywood film Jim Thorpe: All-American portray him? What does the film reveal about racial representations in movies and popular culture?

8) Rubinfeld argues, “Because Jim Thorpe was so malleable, he never posed a threat to America.” (pg. 186) What does this argument mean?

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