Jesse Owen: Defying Hitler and Racism



This episode of Unsung Olympic Heroes, we will look at the story of Jesse Owens and how he shifted the world”s perception towards Black athletes through his escapade in the Olympics.

There has always been Black athletes in the games but what made Jesse Owen”s exploit even more memorable, was that he did it in the 1936 Berlin Games, in front of the infamous  Adolf Hitler

Jesse Owens participated the summer Olympics in Berlin, even though there was hatred all around him in Hitler”s Germany he fought hard and won a total of four gold medals. While Germany could only watch and grumble. One can almost see Hitler”s face as he watched a black man – who he had depicted as anything but human in German propaganda – beat his online casino pure blooded Germans.

Jesse went on to win the 100m, 200m and long jump, beating everything the Nazis could throw at him, from jeers to the so-called super-race of the Aryan nation. It may have worked out for the best though because not only did Jesse Owens win the relay event he set another world record. This was his last even at the Olympics and he went out with pride and success. Even the Germans were impressed and many of them asked him to sign something for them, which he did with grace and aplomb.

While the Germans seemed able to overlook his race the Americans apparently could not. Yes they had an awards benefit for him but he couldn”t ride on the regular elevator to get to it, no that was not allowed when you were black. Instead he had to rid the freight elevator.

America still had a long way to go before black people would be free of violence and oppression but in reality Jesse Owens started the ball rolling with his amazing talent and heart. He was a determined young man who fought against the odds to beat out all of his competitors and win.

Jesse”s Owen”s own personal story would play out exactly as more African-American person in America in the era of intense intolerance of the black race in the States, this was before the Civil Rights movement of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcom X, the Incidents in Selma.