Rapid Ray: The Story of Ray Lewis


144 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-88776-612-9
DDC j796.42'092






Reviewed by Deborah Dowson

Deborah Dowson is a Canadian children’s librarian living in Powell,


Ray Lewis achieved his Olympic dream at the 1932 Olympic Games and went
on to win medals at the 1934 British Empire Games. The story of his
athletic success is a testament to his struggle to overcome the powerful
obstacles of poverty and racial prejudice, both as an athlete and as a

Growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, in the early 1900s, Ray ran carefree
through the city streets, alongside the horses and streetcars. As he
grew older, however, so did his understanding that racial discrimination
was a fact of life. Ray grew up in a time where everyone had to endure a
deadly flu epidemic, a long economic depression, unemployment, and
tragic wars, and these hardships were even more difficult to overcome
when racial discrimination was pervasive in everyday life. Ray had to
endure racist neighbors, teachers, coaches, and businessmen, but through
determination he persevered despite the terrible injustices he had to

John Cooper researched and interviewed Ray Lewis extensively for his
adult biography, Shadow Running. This story created for a younger
audience is a masterful balance of personal anecdote set within the
larger historical context and presented in a relaxed, conversational
style. The powerful accounts of the racism Ray experienced are
discomforting. Ray Lewis is a notable Canadian and this book is one that
all Canadians should read. Highly recommended.


Cooper, John., “Rapid Ray: The Story of Ray Lewis,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23617.