Jesse Owens
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James Cleveland Owens (1913 - 1980)

James Cleveland (Jesse) Owens
Born in Oakville, Lawrence, Alabama, United Statesmap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 5 Jul 1935 in Cuyahoga County, Ohiomap
[children unknown]
Died in Tucson, Pima, Arizona, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 4 Aug 2014 | Last significant change: 12 May 2020
00:36: Aaron Gullison edited the Biography for James Cleveland Owens (1913-1980). [Thank Aaron for this]
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Jesse Jesse is an Olympic Gold Metalist

Jesse won 4 gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany: the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, long jump, and the 4x100 meter relay. [1]

Owens was the youngest of ten children, three girls and seven boys, born to Henry Cleveland Owens and Mary Emma Fitzgerald in Oakville, Alabama on September 12, 1913.

Owens and Minnie Ruth Solomon met at Fairmount Junior High School in Cleveland when he was 15 years old and she was 13 years old. They dated steadily through high school. Ruth gave birth to their first daughter, Gloria, in 1932. They married on July 5, 1935 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio,[2] and had two more daughters together: Marlene, born in 1939, and Beverly, born in 1940.[3] They remained married until his death.

Owens, a pack-a-day cigarette smoker for 35 years, had been hospitalized with an extremely aggressive and drug-resistant type of lung cancer on and off beginning in December 1979. He died in Tucson, Arizona, on March 31, 1980, with his wife and other family members at his bedside. He is buried in Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.[4]


  1. Wallechinsky, David; Loucky, Jaime. The Complete Book of The Olympics 2012 Edition. Aurum Press, London, 2012
  2. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 173-174; Page: 408; Year Range: 1934 Oct - 1935 Aug.
  3. United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 February 2018), Jesse Owens, Ward 19, Cleveland City, Cleveland City, Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 92-483, sheet 5A, line 33, family 80, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3222.

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Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens

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... showed them all. In the 4 events he took part, he took the gold. While standing on the winner platform, surrownded by the soldiers and swastikas, the crowd of 110,000 people quit chanting Hitler. It had changed to Jesse Owen's name. He was given a ticker tape parade when he got back to the U.S. He however, had to ride the freight elevator to get to the reception thrown for him at the Waldorf Astoria. He is quoted as saying "One chance is all you need".

Meltzer, Brad, Heroes for my son, pgs 34-35, Harper Collins Publishing

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
In 1936 when he was in Berlin for the Olympics, the swastika banners were everywhere and Hitler assured everyone they would see the proof of "Aryan Superiority".

Jesse Owens' grandfater was a slave, his dad a sharecropper. He fought pnuemonia a lot. Even though many colleges fought over him, he was still not considered equal. He won highschool world records but Ohio State still would not offer him scholarships. He had to earn his way by working odd jobs to even eat. These jobs included, gas station attendant, waiter, night elevator operator, campus library worker. No one ever paid for anything for him. No one would even use his name for papers or announcing, he was called "the Negro Owens" and that he was "nonhuman". They all knew the Aryans were going to win, it was guaranteed. He ...

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy

Rejected matches › James F Owens (1912-)