How Did Jesse Owens Change the World for Black History?

Jesse Owens was a legendary athlete who changed the world for Black History. Born in Alabama in 1913, Owens became a track and field star at Ohio State University in the 1930s.

He went on to make history at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Owens’ story is one of perseverance, triumph, and inspiration.

The Early Years

Jesse Owens grew up in a time when segregation was still rampant in America. Despite facing discrimination and poverty, he showed promise as an athlete from a young age. Owens discovered his talent for running while attending high school in Cleveland, Ohio.

College Career

After graduating from high school, Owens attended Ohio State University on a scholarship. He quickly became one of the top track and field athletes in the country. In 1935, he set three world records and tied another within 45 minutes at a Big Ten meet.

The Olympics

In 1936, the Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany under Nazi rule. Adolf Hitler had intended to use the games as a showcase for Aryan supremacy. However, Jesse Owens had other plans.

Owens won four gold medals at the games – one each in the 100 meter dash, the long jump, the 200 meter dash, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team. His victories were not only impressive but also historic – he was the first American track and field athlete to win four gold medals at a single Olympic Games.

Impact on Black History

Jesse Owens’ accomplishments were significant not just for his athletic prowess but also for their impact on Black History. At a time when racial segregation was still prevalent in America and discrimination against Black people was rampant worldwide, Owens’ victories served as a powerful symbol of hope and progress.

Owens’ success challenged the notion of Aryan supremacy that Hitler and the Nazi party had promoted. His victories demonstrated that Black athletes were just as capable and deserving of respect as their white counterparts.


Jesse Owens’ legacy lives on to this day. He is remembered as an icon of not only American but also global sports history. Owens paved the way for future generations of Black athletes to succeed in the face of adversity.

In 1984, Owens was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan. In 1990, he was posthumously inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.


Jesse Owens was a trailblazer who changed the world for Black History through his athletic accomplishments. His victories at the 1936 Olympics were a triumph over racism, discrimination, and hate. Owens’ legacy continues to inspire people around the world to strive for greatness in all aspects of life, no matter their race or background.