Columbus in Franklin County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
James Cleveland Owens was born in Alabama in 1913 and moved with his family to Cleveland at age nine. An elementary school teacher recorded his name "Jesse" when he said "J.C." It became the name he used for the rest of his life. Owens' dash to the Olympics began with track and field records in junior high and high school. Owens chose The Ohio State University without scholarship, supporting himself by working many jobs, including one in the University Libraries. The pinnacle of his sports career came at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he won four gold medals, frustrating Adolf Hitler's attempt to showcase Aryan superiority. After his return, Owens found work as a playground director in Cleveland beginning his life work with underprivileged youth.
Jesse Owens served as the personal representative of President Eisenhower at the 1956 Olympic Games, and, in 1976, President Ford presented him with the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the U.S. can bestow on a civilian. When Owens died in 1980, President Carter added his voice to tributes from around the world: "Perhaps no athlete better symbolized the human struggle against tyranny, poverty, and racial bigotry. His personal triumphs as a world-class athlete and record holder were the prelude to a career devoted to helping
Erected 2003 by Ohio Bicentennial Commissin, The Ohio State University Alumni Association, and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 69-25.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection marker series.
Location. 40° 0.684′ N, 83° 1.713′ W. Marker is in Columbus, Ohio, in Franklin County. Click for map. Marker is near the SW corner of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on The Ohio State University campus. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2450 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus OH 43210, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Jesse Owens Track (here, next to this marker); Coach Woody Hayes (approx. 0.2 miles away); A. B. Graham and the 4-H Movement / Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Coach Woody Hayes (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Lane Avenue Bridges (approx. half a mile away); Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Freedom Brutus (approx. ¾ mile away); General Curtis E. LeMay (approx. ¾ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Columbus.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Categories. • African Americans • Charity & Public Work • Sports •
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