Adapted Research Papers 6: Jesse Owens from A to Z

Here’s yet another adapted research papers, this one on legendary Olympian Jesse Owens. Mr. Owens, you may remember, was the four-time gold medalist at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. As he is of African descent, Adolf Hitler refused to shake Mr. Owens’  hand after his victories. Incidentally, that was far from the only indignity Jesse Owens endured both as an Olympian and representative of the United States.

I remember two things about preparing and using this assignment: I wrote it to follow closely and clearly the Wikipedia article on Jesse Owens, and for two students who worked on this together, I also prepared, at their request, this additional research assignment on Adolf Hitler because they wanted to understand fully Jesse Owens’ experience in the 1936 Olympics. The Hitler assignment also follows the article on Adolf Hitler on Wikipedia. Both of these assignments are titled, with the name of their subjects, “from A to Z.” You’ll notice that there are 26 vocabulary words and 26 questions, i.e. A to Z in the outline structure.

The two young women for whom I wrote this material made the connection with Joe Louis on their own, which was inspiring to watch–the kind of thing a teacher hopes to see happen, I suppose. I imagine one could put together a short but compelling cross-disciplinary unit on racial and ethnic mythologies (something badly needed, I submit to you), white supremacy, with the experiences of Jesse Owens and Joe Louis as a critical lens.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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