Black History Profile:
James Cleveland Owens (Jesse Owens)
--fallaciously called 'Jesse' by his school teacher, his nickname comes from J.C., his first two initials--which he then legally changed to 'Jesse'
--his high school track coach pushed him and would never reveal his track times--until he tied the world record for the 100 yard dash, which his coach made him run 3 consecutive times to be sure
--in college, he won 8-straight individual championships, but The Ohio State University refused him a scholarship--so he had to work part-time to cover tuition
--while traveling, he was not allowed to eat with team and was only permitted to stay on 'black-only' hotels, which he credited with furthering his drive to destroy his competition
--in Ann Arbor, he had what is considered one the the 'greatest sports days ever' by setting 3 world records and tying a 4th within a 46 minute span (his long jump stood for 25 years--another record)
--during the Olympics in Berlin, Owens undermined Hitler's propaganda of the racially superior Aryan and inferior African by winning 4 gold medals--but German women loved him, cutting off his clothes with scissors whenever they saw him; culminating in him being allowed to stay in 'white-hotels' with the other athletes
--after his victories, Hitler "was highly annoyed by the series of triumphs by the marvelous colored American runner, Jesse Owens." And said: People whose antecedents came from the jungle were primitive; their physiques were stronger than those of civilized whites and hence should be excluded from future game"
--after the Olympics, it was said that Hitler actually shook hands with Jesse Owens (behind a set of bleachers and where no one would see), but FDR was "too busy" to acknowledge Owens--so Owens campaigned for his opponent claiming "It wasn't Hitler who snubbed me, it was our president who snubbed me."
--after the games had finished, the Olympic team and Owens were all invited to compete in Sweden. He decided to capitalize on his success by returning to the United States to take up some of the more lucrative commercial offers. United States athletic officials were furious and withdrew his amateur status, ending his career immediately. Owens was angry, saying, "A fellow desires something for himself.
--became the first sponsored black athlete when Adi Dassler (Adidas) asked him to wear his shoes
--spent the rest of his life working odd jobs before being prosecuted for tax evasion
--after initially rejecting the black power salute from the 1968 Olympics (Smith/Carlos), Owens admitted that "any black man who wasn't a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward."
--"For a time, at least, I was the most famous person in the entire world."