In the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, a single man captured the attention of the world, winning 4 gold medals, an Olympic first. Sixty years later, thousands gathered to honor this man with the dedication of a park named in his honor. Dedicated on June 29, 1996 with the arrival of the Olympic torch on its journey to the Summer Games in Atlanta, the Jesse Owens Memorial Park is a tribute to the Olympic track and field superstar.
The park showcases several memorials for Owens including a museum, statue, replica home, broad-jump pit, 1936 torch replica and an oak tree of the same variety as Owens’ gold medal tree. The park’s goal is twofold- to honor the life and accomplishments of this remarkable man and to mirror Owens’ dedication to America’s youth by investing in the community.
The Jesse Owens Museum immortalizes Owens’ memory by depicting the moments that made Owens great and portraying the people who shaped him as an athlete and man. Glass display cases showcase rare memorabilia including programs from the 1936 Olympics, replicas of track uniforms and shoes, medals, and trophies from Owens’ high school days.
The museum’s mini-theater shows the movie Return to Berlin in which Owens narrates the 1936 Olympics. Visitors can follow the larger-than-life panel displays throughout the museum that depict Owens’ life beginning in Oakville, Alabama to his death in 1980. The panel displays highlight Owens’ athletic accomplishments as well as his humanitarian efforts.