Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens

James Cleveland Owens was born in Alabama in 1913 and moved with his family to Cleveland at age nine. An elementary school teacher recorded his name “Jesse” when he said “J.C.” It became the name he used for the rest of his life. Owens’ dash to the Olympics began with track and field records in junior high and high school. Owens chose The Ohio State University without scholarship, supporting himself by working many jobs, including one in the University Libraries. The pinnacle of his sports career came at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he won four gold medals, frustrating Adolf Hitler’s attempt to showcase Aryan superiority. After his return, Owens found work as a playground director in Cleveland beginning his life work with underprivileged youth.

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