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Jesse Owens Website
timeline

  1910s    
Jesse Owens in high school
Jesse Owens in high school. Photo date unkown.
 
 
Jesse and Ruth Owens marriage
Jesse Owens and Minnie Ruth Solomon get married in 1932.
 
Jesse Owens crosses the finish line
Jesse Owens crosses the finish line while running for OSU. Photo date unkown.
 
Jesse Owens long jump
Jesse Owens competes in the long jump at the 1936 Olympics. Owens wins the gold medal in the event and sets a new world record of 26 feet, 5 ¼ inches.
 
Jesse Owens in the Philippines
Jesse Owens visits with children in the Philippines in the 1950s.
 
Jesse Owens graduation
OSU awards Jesse Owens an honorary degree during its spring 1972 commencement.
 
Owens with Fords
Jesse and Ruth Owens are pictured with President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford after the 1976 ceremony to award Owens the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1920s
1913
1913
 
[September 12] Mary Emma Owens gives birth to James Cleveland (J.C.) Owens in Oakville, Alabama.
1920s    
1920s
1922
1913
 
The Owens family moves to Cleveland, Ohio. James Cleveland Owens enrolls in Bolton Elementary School where he becomes known as "Jesse" (from "J.C.") Owens.
1928
1913
 
Owens sets his first records in the high jump and long jump at Fairmount Junior High School under coach and life-long mentor, Charles Riley.
1930s    
1930
1913
 
Owens enrolls into Cleveland’s East Technical School. Riley follows as a volunteer assistant coach.
Owens and Minnie Ruth Solomon meet.
1932
1913
 
Owens competes in the Midwestern preliminary trials at Northwestern University. Owens loses all three events in which he competes.
[August] Minnie Ruth gives birth to their first child, Gloria.
[Autumn] Owens is elected president of his senior class and captain of the track team.
1933
1913
 
[Spring] Owens finishes first in 75 of the 79 competitions he enters. He breaks the long-jump record at the state interscholastic finals.
At the National Championship in Chicago, Owens wins the long jump, sets a new world record in the 220-yard dash and ties the world record in the 100-yard dash.
[October 9] Owens enrolls in The Ohio State University.
1935
1913
 
Owens is appointed as an honorary page for a legislative committee at the Ohio Statehouse.

Jesse Owens and Minnie Ruth Solomon get married.
[May 25] Owens sets world records in the 220-yard dash, 220-yard low hurdles and the long jump in less than one hour at the Big Ten Finals in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
1936
1913
 
[June 15] Owens finishes his last quarter at OSU before the Olympics.
[July] Owens participates in the Olympic tryout finals in New York, winning all three of his events (100m, 200m, and long jump).
[August] Owens wins four gold medals in the Olympic Games. He sets new world records in the 200 meter race (20.7 seconds), long jump (26 feet, 5 ¼ inches), and 400 meter relay (39.8 seconds), while tying the world record for 100 meter dash (10.3 seconds).
[Winter] Owens becomes ineligible to compete for Ohio State due to poor academic standings.
Owens races a thoroughbred horse in Cuba for $2,000. Owens wins the race.
1937
1913
 
[January] Jesse signs a contract with Consolidated Radio Artists as an entertainer.
Ruth and Jesse’s second child, Beverly, is born.
1938
1913
 
Owens works for Cleveland's Parks and Recreation Department.
Owens founds Jesse Owens Dry Cleaning Company.
1939
1913
 
Owens files for personal bankruptcy.

Ruth and Jesse’s third child, Marlene, is born

1940s    
1920s
1940
1913
 

[October 1] Owens returns to OSU but he is soon placed on academic probation.

1941
1913
 
[December 19] Owens withdraws from OSU.
1942
1913
 
[January] Owens is appointed the Director of National Fitness by the U.S. Office of Civilian Defense.
1943
1913
 
Ford Motor Co. hires Owens as Assistant Personnel Director of African-American workers. He is then promoted to director, then later works in public relations.
1949
1913
 
Owens and his family move to Chicago, where he establishes a public relations agency.
1950s    
1920s
1950
1913
 
The Associated Press names Owens the greatest track athlete of the past half-century.
1953
1913
 
[December] Gloria, Owens’ eldest daughter, graduates from OSU.
Owens is appointed secretary of Illinois' State Athletic Commission.
1955
1913
 
Owens travels to India, Philippines, and Malaysia to lead running clinics, but also to promote the economic and political freedoms of the United States.
1956
1913
 
Owens and several other former U.S. Olympic champions attend the 1956 Summer Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, as personal representatives of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
1960s    
1920s
1960
1913
 
Marlene, Jesse’s second-eldest daughter, is voted Homecoming Queen at OSU, becoming the first African American to receive the honor.
1961
1913
 
Marlene graduates from OSU.
1965
1913
 
The first ARCO Jesse Owens Games is established.
[February] Owens becomes the training and running coach during spring training for the New York Mets baseball team.
1970s    
1970s
1970
1913
 
Owens’ memoir, Blackthink: My Life as Black Man and White Man, is published.
1971
1913
 
President Richard Nixon sends Owens to the Ivory Coast in West Africa to lead running clinics and promote economic and political freedoms of the United States.
1972
1913
 
OSU awards Owens with an honorary doctorate of athletic arts "for his unparalleled skill and ability" as an athlete and for "his personification of sportsmanship ideals."
1973
1913
 
U.S. Olympic Committee appoints Owens to its board of directors. He spends most of his time in this position pushing for funding to equip and train U.S. athletes.
1974
1913
 
Owens is inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame.
1976
1913
 
President Gerald Ford presents Owens with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. government.
1979
1913
 
Owens, a lifetime smoker, is diagnosed with lung cancer.
1980s    
1920s
1980
1913
 
[March 31] Owens dies at the age of 66.
1984
1913
 
[May 4] The Jesse Owens Memorial Plaza is dedicated outside of Ohio Stadium.
[July 8] "The Jesse Owens Story" debuts on television with actor Dorian Harewood playing Owens.
1990s    
1920s
1996
1913
 
[June 29] Jesse Owens Memorial Park is dedicated in Oakville, Alabama.
2000s    
1920s
2001
1913
 
Ruth Owens dies at the age of 86.
 
2009
1913
 
[November 6] At a hearing held at OSU, state lawmakers hear testimony on why Owens should be chosen for a statue to be placed in the Nation Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.



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