Philip Hersh’s essay marking Jesse Owens’ centennial year (“Jesse Owens transcends all races,” Sept. 7) is an astute tribute to this icon for the ages. It is also a significant history lesson for many generation—from those who may recall the horrific years during and after the 1936 Olympics to the youngsters of today. How wonderful and remarkable that the 2009 U.S. Olympic men’s head coach discovered his athletes knew the history.
Telling the story for every generation is how we keep Jesse’s torch burning. He is “the one” for the ages—and it is our communal responsibility to refresh our own memory and pass that torch along to our kids. Wouldn’t it be great if every Chicago Public School student, teacher, principal and parent received a copy of Hersh’s essay on Mr. Owens’ 100th centennial on September 12?
I have high hopes that CPS will restore Jesse Owens’ internationally celebrated and revered name to the school that bore it. Hersh has a fan club of Chicagoans who would make certain that his essay is enlarged, framed and hung in the Jesse Owens CPS School—with a copy for every child, teacher, parent and grandparent.
Thank you, Philip Hersh, for retelling this story that is as relevant today as it was in 1936. September 12 should be a day of fanfare and flourishes in Chicago.
— Susan S. Aaron, Evanston