Jesse Owens Analysis Essay
Jesse Owens was one of the most prestigious athletes of our time. His contribution to the sport of track and field has made him an American hero during an era when African Americans were discriminated against because of their race. He has opened the door for other African American athletes to have equality and opportunities in this country. The main objective of Jesse Owens bibliography was how his achievements at Ohio State University open the door for him to compete in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany despite all the obstacles that stood in the way, to return home and was discriminated against because of the color of his skin.
Jesse Owens was born James Cleveland Owens on September 12, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama to parents whom was sharecroppers. During the Great Migration, when over a million African Americans left the segregated South, Jesse Owens and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio when he was about nine years old for more opportunities. His nickname was J. C. , which was the initial of his first and middle name.
When his teacher at his new school he attended in Cleveland, Ohio asks his name to input in the roll book, he stated J. C. , but because of his strong southern accent, she thought he said Jesse, and he became known as Jesse Owens, a name he would live with for the rest of his life. Jesse Owens enjoyed running. He realized his passion for running due to the many different jobs he had growing up. He once stated “Running is freedom because you get to choose the direction you want to go”.
Jesse Owens got his first taste of national attention when he attended East Technical High School in Cleveland where he equaled the world record of the 100 yard dash in which his timing was 9. 4 second and his long-jump was recorded at 24 feet 9 1/2 inches at the 1933 National High School Championship in Chicago. Jesse Owens later attended Ohio State University. There he held several part time jobs to pay for school because there was no aid or scholarships available for African American students. He continued to excel in sports winning a record of eight individual NCAA championships, but due to race, Owens couldn’t stay on the University campus. Instead, he and several other African American athletes stayed off campus.
When he traveled with his teammates, he was confined to ordering take out or eating at a black establishment because blacks weren’t allowed to eat in an all-white restaurant during those times. The same rules applied when staying at hotels, he was only allowed to stay at an all-black hotel, separate from his team. Jesse Owens greatest rival of his time was a sprinter from Temple University name Eulace Peacock. Peacock had defeated Owens at several competitions, which had him questioning his ability to run and be dominating in track and field. He felt as if Peacock was the better sprinter.
But Owens greatest achievement came during the Big Ten meet at Ferry Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he set three world records and tied a fourth record. He equaled the world record for the 100 yard dash at 9. 4 seconds and set world records in the long jump as well as several other competitions where he achieved great success, easily qualifying him for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Upon his arrival in Berlin, Germany, Adolf Hitler used the games to show the world a regenerated Nazi Germany, which he was confident in German athletes to dominate the games and bring in many medals for Germany.
They promoted concepts of Aryan racial superiority and portrayed African Americans as subordinate. Owens shocked many on goers by winning four gold medals in the 100 meter sprint, 200 meter sprint, 4 x 100 men’s relay team, and the long jump in which he defeated German native Luz Long and was photo walking side by side with him and was also given helpful advice. After the games were over, Adolf Hitler only shook hands with German medalists before leaving the stadium. The Olympic committee officials suggested Hitler greet every medalist, but he refused too.
Owens felt that Hitler had a schedule time to meet with athletes and a certain time to leave. He thought it was in bad taste to criticize him in his country. While in Germany, Owens was allowed to stay in hotel rooms with his teammates, but when Owens returns to the United States, it was back to segregation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt failed to meet with Owens and congratulate him on his success in Germany at the Olympic Games, as all champions are greeted when returning home.
It wasn’t until 1955, that President Dwight D. Eisenhower honored Owens by naming him an Ambassador of Sports and in 1976 that he was properly recognized when President Gerald Ford awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. To be honest, there wasn’t much I knew of Jesse Owens prior to watching the film. What I knew was the fact he was a successful track and field athlete and he blossom during an era of segregation and discrimination. I also knew he was highly praised, publicized, and politicized amongst his peers due to the fact he excelled at his given sport of track and field. I choose this bibliography to learn more about Jesse Owens.
His rises to success as well as his hardships throughout his lifetime. It was interesting to me because Jesse Owens was optimistic about changing the way American view African Americans by achieving his goals and working relentlessly to support his family and his dreams. What I learned from watching this film was how hatful Adolf Hitler was towards African Americans, and how he didn’t want to properly congratulate Jesse Owens for his achievements, instead waved at him from a distance and how Jesse Owens wasn’t giving his respect from the President at the time, which was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and wasn’t allowed at the White House to be honored.
I would recommend this bibliography film because it gives insight on how far we have come as a country and how we have fought to break those barriers of racism and discrimination. Jesse Owens wanted to be respected as an American athlete and it was an honor that came later in his life.