January 22, 2009
Owens - Jesse Owens
James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens, born on September 12, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama, is one of the most celebrated American athletes for his achievements at the 1936 Olympic Games. Owen’s family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in as part of the Great Migration in 1922. Owens developed a passion for running in junior-high, training in the early mornings, as he had to work during standard practices. His first achievement came when he equaled the world record dash and long-jump at the 1933 High School Championship in Chicago. Owens attended The Ohio State University, where he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established by and for African Americans. Owens is remembered as a hero for foiling Hitler’s goals of dominating the 1936 Olympic Games with German athletes in an effort to assert national and racial superiority. Owens died on March 31, 1980 in Tucson, Arizona, and his legacy endures through the Jesse Owens Award. Jesse Owens was made a Great Ohioan in 2008.