Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Great Jesse Owens

Adolph Hitler was using the 1936 Olympics games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes that German athletes would dominate the games.  Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of "Aryan racial superiority" and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior. America's great Jesse Owens showed 'em.  He countered by winning four gold medals......a great Olympic moment and a great American moment. 

A couple of interesting tidbits, after a NYC parade honoring him, Owens had to ride the freight elevator at the Waldorf Astoria to reach a reception honoring him.  In addition, President Roosevelt never invited Jesse Owens to the White House following his triumphs at the Olympics as Roosevelt was afraid that he would lose southern votes in 1936, an election year, if he hosted and honored an African American man in the White House, a low, non-courageous point for a generally courageous FDR (though it says as much about 1936 America as it does about FDR).

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