A Most Beautiful Thing

Arshay Cooper, Mary Mazzio, Sherman Whites
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
6:30 pm

They came from different neighborhoods and ran with rival gangs on Chicago’s West Side. Improbably, the group of young men found promise and common purpose in a boat, in a sport – rowing – that few African Americans saw as being for them. It changed the direction of their lives. 

The documentary A Most Beautiful Thing chronicles the uplifting story of the first Black high school rowing team in the country, from the trauma of cyclical poverty and violence that once marked the youngsters’ lives to the safety they found on the water. Their captain, Arshay Cooper, joins the film’s director, Mary Mazzio, in discussing the teammates’ experiences in a special online Library event co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and PNC Bank in commemoration of Black History Month

The conversation is moderated by Sherman Whites, a director in Education for the Kauffman Foundation. 

Those who RSVP for the event by 10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9, will receive a link through which they can watch the film in advance of the discussion. 

The 95-minute documentary, based in Cooper’s memoir, was released last year. It’s narrated by Grammy- and Academy Award-winning rapper Common and executive produced by pro basketball stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade and hip-hop producer 9th Wonder. Mazzio, the director, was a member of the U.S. women’s double sculls rowing team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. 

Watch the discussion live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary