Sept. 12, 1913
James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens was born Sept. 12, 1913, in Oakville, Alabama, an unincorporated community in Lawrence County. He was the youngest of 10 children born to sharecroppers who moved to Ohio for better opportunities when Owens was 9 years old. Owens came to national attention setting world records at a Cleveland high school before attending Ohio State University, where he was affectionately called the “Buckeye Bullet.” He would go on to achieve international fame at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, winning four gold medals (100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and 4×100 relay) and was recognized as the most famous athlete in track and field history during his lifetime. Owens died in 1980 at age 66 and is buried in Chicago.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Jesse Owens (1913-1980) was a dominating track and field athlete during the 1930s, breaking world records and winning four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, a feat unmatched until Carl Lewis accomplished it in 1984. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame)
Photo of U.S. Olympic team sprinters (from left) Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe and Frank Wykoff on the deck of the S.S. Manhattan before they sailed for Germany to compete in the 1936 Olympics. They’re shown doing a light warm-up on the deck. (Associated Press, Wikipedia)
Jesse Owens shocked the world in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin when he won gold medals in the long jump, the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, and the 4×100-meter relay. His achievement was a direct repudiation of the white supremacist views of Germany’s ruling Nazi Party. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Library of Congress)
Jesse Owens doing the long jump at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. (German Federal Archives, Wikipedia)
Naoto Tajima, left, Jesse Owens, center, and Carl Ludwig “Lutz” Long, right, won the bronze, gold and silver medals, respectively, in the long jump event at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Long reportedly helped Owens with advice in the event after the American fouled twice during a qualifying round, a courageous gesture of sportsmanship in 1930s Nazi Germany. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Library of Congress)
Jesse Owens beat George Case in a 100-yard dash held as a promotion for Bill Veeck’s Cleveland Indians at Cleveland Stadium in 1946. Case was known as the fastest base runner in the major leagues at the time. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Library of Congress)
Bronze duplicate of Jesse Owens’ Congressional Gold Medal. (U.S. Mint, Wikipedia)
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