Jesse Owens

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Jesse Owens.jpg

James Cleveland Owens (b. September 12, 1913, Oakville, Alabama - March 31, 1980) American athlete; he won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Berlin.[1]

The media and spectators paid special attention to Jesse Owens (1913-1980), the black American track and field star. Owens, who craved the chance to compete, resisted the NAACP's pleas that he support the boycott. He won four gold medals and was enthusiastically cheered in the face of Nazi propaganda about "Negro inferiority." The film "Olympia" (1938), made by Nazi producer-director Leni Riefenstahl set the modern standard for high quality documentaries, and prominently featured Owens. He was miffed that not only Hitler did not congratulate him, but neither did President Roosevelt.

In 1976, Jesse was awarded the highest honor an American civilian can receive. President Gerald R. Ford awarded him with the Medal of Freedom. [1]

"Perhaps no athlete better symbolized the human struggle against tyranny, poverty and racial bigotry. His personal triumphs as a world-class athlete and record holder were the prelude to a career devoted to helping others. His work with young athletes, as an unofficial ambassador overseas, and a spokesman for freedom are a rich legacy to his fellow Americans". President James Carter. [2]

External links

Further reading

  • Jeremy Schaap, Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics, (2007) 272 pp.