Jesse Owens' Name May Be Returning To School On Chicago's South Side After Outcry

Jesse Owens' Name May Be Returning To South Side School

A unanimous vote by a local school council on Wednesday has cleared the path for a South Side Chicago to again bear the name of Olympic track and field legend Jesse Owens.

The daughters of Owens had fought to keep their father's legacy alive despite the building formerly named Jesse Owens Community Academy in West Pullman was renamed Samuel Gompers Elementary, after the district voted to shutter Owens and consolidate the two schools.

The building had been named after Owens since 1980 and the change was called "disrespectful" by Owens' family.

The Gompers council apparently agreed and the matter will next be considered by the Board of Education at its Oct. 23 meeting, the Chicago Tribune reports. Should the board approve the change, Owens' name will officially return to the school.

"He would be proud of the community," Owens' daughter Gloria Owens Hemphill told CBS Chicago. "He would have been proud of us for ‘carrying the torch,’ and making this happen. I think he’d be very pleased to have his name attached to something that serves kids."

While Gompers was a labor leader born in England, Owens' roots were in the Midwest, growing up in Ohio and spending much of his life post his Hitler-embarrassing win at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin in Chicago. He is buried at Oak Woods Cemetery on the South Side and his daughters still live in Chicago.

Go To Homepage

Before You Go

Chicago School Closings

Popular in the Community