It’s been a long time, long time coming, but I know a change gonna come, Oh yes it will …

February 3, 2012

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (born Michael King, Jr.)

Apply this quote as you wish. I chose to apply it to my blog in general. Just imagine John Williams’ Shindler’s List Theme in the background… a perfect marriage I say!

For black history month, I have decided to honor Jesse Owens. I recall as a young high school girl, listening to my history teacher talk about World War II, thinking about how horrible the Germans were. She then asked if any of us knew of Jesse Owens, no hands arose.

She then proceeded to tell us that he had won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team.

When it came time for Hitler to shake hands with the medalists, he decided not to shake hands with any more athletes at all as he did not want to shake hands with Owens. How could this dark-skinned African-American man publicly show the world that the Führer’s Aryan ideology was far from flawless.

However, Owens mentioned that when he passed the Führer, he arose, waved his hand at him, and he waved back.

If you pay close attention to the above picture, you will notice a short Japanese man in the background. I couldn’t help to wonder who that could be and couldn’t stop myself from embracing that fact that he was not showing the Nazi salute but instead, respectfully taking off his top hat. Keep in mind that Japan was Germany’s ally throughout WWII. After some research, I discovered that it is Kanō Jigorō, the founder of Judo. The Japanese were and still are the biggest advocate of respect ( just don’t turn your back on them)!

When Owens came back to the “land of the free”, after all the stories about Hitler, he went right back to the back of the bus. He wasn’t even invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Yes FDR as in Churchill’s “running” mate.

How pathetic. But wait, a recognition dinner held in his honor at the Waldorf-Astoria. Perhaps American awakening? Oh wait, who are we kidding? He was the honoree but had to use the freight elevator. While keeping his head up, he still dreamt for the day he would not be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his character.

Ironically, when in Germany, in Nazi Germany may I add, Owens was allowed to travel with and stay in the same hotels as whites. Could the truth be that even Nazis are more unprejudiced than Yankees?

“I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up.”

– James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens … still running…

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.


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