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      News — mamie johnson

      Black History Snippet-Jesse Owens

      Black History Snippet-Jesse Owens

      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."
      --Jesse Owens

      Black History Profile--Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson

      Black History Profile--Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson

      Black History Month profile:

      Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson (1935-2017)

      --one of three women to play in the Negro League, the only pitcher and won the first game she ever pitched in

      --stood 5'4, weighed 120 pounds and gained the name 'Peanut' after teammates mocked her for looking like a peanut and also being 98 lbs., soaking wet

      --as a starting pitcher, amassed a 33-8 record--credited to having an unhittable curve, with a .262 lifetime batting average

      --officially "drafted" by MLB in 2008, making her also one of the exceptionally few only women ever drafted by a male dominated sport

      --Born Mamie Belton on September 27, 1935 in Ridgeway, South Carolina, she is the only daughter of Della Belton Havelow and eldest of Gentry Harrison

      --grew up loving baseball so much that even when they couldn't afford the necessary tools, improvised bats out of tree limbs, bases out of pie plates and balls from rocks wrapped in tape

      --gained strength and control by targeting the crows that landed on her grandmother's fence 

      --played with boys most of her life and when trying out for the All-American Girls Baseball League (as seen in a League of Their Own), was denied because she was black

      --with this motivation, she began learning how to outsmart batters rather than simply overpower them

      --by the time she was 20, the Negro league was in decline due to MLB drawing away the best talent, Mamie left baseball behind and became a nurse

      --during her 30-year nursing career, Johnson often coached youth league baseball teams and after she retired, worked in a Negro League Baseball memorabilia shop that her son owned in Capitol Heights, MD