Essay on Jesse Owens

1231 WordsMay 1, 20045 Pages
Jesse Owens James Cleveland Owens was born in 1913 in a small town in Alabama to Henry and Emma Owens. When J.C. was eight, his parents decided to move the family to Cleveland, Ohio because Jesse's pnemonia was worsening, and their sharecropper wanted more of their money. They did not have much money, and J.C.'s father was hoping to find a better job. When they arrived in Cleveland, J.C. was enrolled in a public school. On his first day of class when the teacher asked his name, she heard Jesse, instead of J.C. He would be called Jesse from that point on. Cleveland was not as prosperous as Henry and Emma had hoped and the family remained very poor. Jesse took on different jobs in his spare time. He delivered groceries, loaded freight…show more content…
When he traveled with the team, Jesse could either order carryout or eat at "blacks-only" restaurants. Likewise, he slept in "blacks-only" hotels. On occasion, a "white" hotel would allow the black athletes to stay, but they had to use the back door, and the stairs instead of the elevator. Because Jesse was not awarded a scholarship from the university, he continued to work part-time jobs to pay for school. At the Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor on May 25, 1935, Jesse set three world records and tied a fourth, all in a span of about 70 minutes. Jesse had an ailing back the entire week leading up to the meet in Ann Arbor. He had fallen down a flight of stairs, and it was questionable whether he would physically be able to participate in the meet. He received treatment right up to race time. Confident that the treatment helped, Jesse persuaded the coach to allow him to run the 100-yard dash. Remarkably, each race timer had clocked him at an official 9.4 seconds, once again tying the world record. This convinced Owens' coach to allow him to participate in his other events. A mere fifteen minutes later, Jesse took his first attempt it the broad jump. Prior to jumping, Jesse put a handkerchief at 26 feet 2½ inches, the distance of the world record. After such a bold gesture, he soared to a distance of 26 feet 8¼ inches, shattering the old world record by nearly 6 inches. Disregarding the pain, Jesse proceeded to set a new world

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