Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jesse Owens & Hitler

I am currently listening to A Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The book takes place in Nazi Germany during WWII. In the part I just listened to, we visit 1936 where a young boy is fascinated by the black Olympian, Jesse Owens.

The chapter is called "The Jesse Owens Incident" and the young boy, about 7 years old, paints himself black with charcoal and pretends he is Jesse Owens winning a gold medal. His father finds him and scolds him for pretending to be black. He should be happy with his blonde hair and blue eyes... especially as they live under the watchful eyes of Hitler who believes the Aryan race is supreme. In fact, the Olympics were supposed to showcase the supremecy of the Aryans, and yet 6 gold medals were won by black American athelets, including 4 by Jesse Owens. Hitler stormed out of the stadium after Owens won the 100-meter event.

I found this brief video about Jesse Owens on Biography.

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