For those of you who do not know Jesse Owens is not the legal name of our great Track Star. He was named James Cleveland and was nicknamed J.C. When in school after his family moved from Alabama to Ohio he introduced himself as JC and the teacher thought he said JayyyyySee. Southern people have some of the thickest accents. The teacher recorded Jesse and that name stuck with him for life.
The movie opens with Jesse and his family in Ohio and I immediately gave the side eye, because it was at that moment I noted that they skipped over the fact that Jesse Owens was born in Alabama. I am more than sure that the audience would have been interested in knowing about his childhood and given a quick glimpse at his time spent in Alabama, it more than likely contributed to the man he would eventually become.
Knowing of Jesse Owen's accomplishments and watching his life as a black man in the movie was interesting to digest. He had to sit at the back of the bus, deal with racism while he was a student at Ohio State, and also dealt with the typical hard life of being a black man during that time. The part that got me the most was the fact that Jesse Owens made the USA Olympic Team and was force to stay/sleep in the Black ( Lower Class) quarters on the ship that took the American athletes to Germany. This man was good enough to represent his country but not good enough to receive the same fair and equal treatments as his American teammates all because he was born with additional melanin within his skin.
Jesse Owens was faced with the decision on whether or not he would go compete in a country where other humans were being mistreated, which was similar to what was going on in the United States towards blacks. Telling someone who loves running to not run is a painful stab in the back . No one can understand the joys that come from running and racing unless you yourself participates in these acts. When you run, you run for yourself and no one else( I mean your team is considered but it's still you out there on that track) and those who wanted Jesse to not run at the 1936 Belin Olympics would not be able to understand the fundamentals of what it means to RACE.
Jesse Owens went on to win 4 GOLD OLYMPIC Medals ( 100, 200, 4x100m relay and long jump). He set world records and brought honor to the great USA. Adolph Hitler refused to congratulate Jesse Owens, but chose to congratulate other Olympic Gold Medalist and this was simply because Jesse was Black. Upon returning back to the United States Jesse was a hero but there were no endorsements waiting for him upon return and he became a working class citizen who focus was on uplifting the youth.
On of the things that bothered me the most about Jesse's story is the fact that the President of the United States, during the time that he became an Olympic Champion, refused to invite him to the White House. Jesse was good enough to win for Team USA but not good enough to meet and shake hands with Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Overall the movie was great. I would just say brace yourself for the racial bigotry that goes on during this time towards because if you're not ready it can catch you off guard. Jesse's story was told and his legacy has once again been embraced.
Remember To Always Be
Fierce and Fabulous
xoxo Lela Victoria