Jesse Owens mural honors Olympic hero

CLEVELAND -- The legacy of Jesse Owens, the local Cleveland track star of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, is being honored and memorialized by Cleveland School of the Arts.

During the months of February through June, the students participated in an artistic adventure culminating into a full size mural placed on the Lonnie Burten Recreation Center. Students at CSA collaborated to design the mural based on their interpretation of Owens's story.

The mural design was brought to life by the students and the help of CSA's professor, Danny Carver. Mr. Carver guided the students in awakening their imagination to create a mural that reflected both the local tie of Owens and his triumph. With time and dedication, Owens's story came alive and was captured by the collaborative design.

The son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave, Jesse Owens's stunning achievement of being the first American to win four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany made him an unforgettable part of world history.

Nicknamed, "The Buckeye Bullet," Owens began his career here in Cleveland at East Technical High School, located right across from the newly painted mural. He set two high school world records and tied another in additional to winning all of the major track events, and the Ohio State Championship for three consecutive years.

Owens became a role model during a time of deep-rooted segregation; he affirmed that individual excellence -- rather than race or nation -- distinguishes an individual. The entire world took note of his remarkable achievement, one which remains without precedent.

His legacy remains strong not only throughout Ohio but across the nation with the New York Times hailing him as, "Perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history."


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