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Born in Oakville, Alabama on September 12, 1913, James Cleveland Owens would prove to be one of the greatest athletes of his time. He was the seventh child born to Henry Cleveland and Emma Alexander Owens. Being that Owens was the son of a sharecropper, a grandson of a slave and an African-American, he was treated with disrespect and indecency (Trust 1). “J.C.”, as people called him, was not born into fame and a luxurious lifestyle; however his determination and willingness to succeed made his family background seem inconsequential. Defying the beliefs of racism during his time, James Owens (later known as Jesse) was one of the first men to change the way people viewed athletes of his kind, but more importantly the people of his race.
Since Owens and his family were living during a time of segregation, they were not given equal opportunities or rights. The children had to work every day to help make enough money for the family, making school unimportant. When Owens did not have enough clothes to wear, he hid from neighborhood girls to cover his body. Being kind of ashamed of his li…
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