Year
1936

Jesse Owens wins long jump–and respect–in Germany

On this day in 1936, American Jesse Owens wins gold in the long jump at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. It was the second of four gold medals Owens won in Berlin, as he firmly dispelled German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler’s notion of the superiority of an Aryan “master race,” for all the world to see.

Jesse Owens first made his mark on the international stage at just 21 years old on May 25, 1935, while an undergrad at Ohio State University, by setting three world records and tying another at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “The Buckeye Bullet” started his afternoon by running the 100-meter dash in just 9.4 seconds to tie the world record. Just 10 minutes later, Owens jumped 26’8 1/4″, setting a world record he would hold until 1951. And, ten minutes after that, Owens set another world record in the 220-yard dash with a time of 20.3 seconds. Finally, less than an hour after his afternoon of competition started, Owens ran the 220-yard hurdles in 22.6 seconds for his third outright world record of the day. Owens’ impressive performance caused a sensation across the United States, and the track world looked forward to following his progress at the upcoming 1936 Olympics.

Owens would win his third gold medal and set his second Olympic record of the games in the 200 meters the next day. On August 9, he followed that up by helping his team set a new world record–39.8 seconds–in the 4 x 100 meter relay. Owens and Metcalfe replaced two American Jews, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, originally scheduled to run the relay that day. Later, the U.S. team was criticized for the move, which was thought to be an appeasement of Hitler and the Nazi party, who would likely have been even angrier to see Jews, already a frequent target of Nazi hate and harassment, bring home a medal.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Washington becomes Master Mason

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Slain civil rights workers found

The remains of three civil rights workers whose disappearance on June 21 garnered national attention are found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white New Yorkers, had traveled to heavily segregated Mississippi in ...read more

Borden parents found dead

On this day in 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden are found hacked to death in their Fall River, Massachusetts, home. Andrew was discovered in a pool of blood on the living room couch, his face nearly split in two. Abby was upstairs, her head smashed to pieces; it was later determined ...read more

Anne Frank captured

Acting on tip from a Dutch informer, the Nazi Gestapo captures 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family in a sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse. The Franks had taken shelter there in 1942 out of fear of deportation to a Nazi concentration camp. They occupied ...read more

Secret negotiations are initiated in Paris

The first secret negotiating session takes place between Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy, at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris.Kissinger reiterated an earlier proposal put forth on May 14 for a mutual withdrawal of North ...read more

Custer and 7th Cavalry attacked by Indians

While protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, Custer and his 7th Cavalry clash for the first time with the Sioux Indians, who will defeat them three years later at Little Big Horn.During the previous two years, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry ...read more

Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet, is born

English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley is born on this day in Sussex, into a wealthy, aristocratic family.Shelley, the heir to his wealthy grandfather’s estate, was educated at Eton and Oxford. But after six months at the university, he was expelled for refusing to admit he ...read more

Sex, lies and videotape opens

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Philippines hit hard by flooding

Floodwaters finally recede in Luzon, Philippines, on this day in 1972, revealing devastation and hundreds dead. An astounding rainfall in July had caused rivers all over the large island to flood.One storm after another battered Luzon in July 1972. Manila received nearly 70 ...read more

Lizzie Borden took an axe…

Andrew and Abby Borden, elderly residents of Fall River, Massachusetts, are found bludgeoned to death in their home. Lying in a pool of blood on the living room couch, Andrew’s face had been nearly split in two. Abby, Lizzie’s stepmother, was found upstairs with her head smashed ...read more

Union generals squabble outside of Atlanta

A Union operation against Confederate defenses around Atlanta, Georgia, stalls when infighting erupts between Yankee generals.The problem arose when Union General William T. Sherman began stretching his force—consisting of the Army of the Ohio, the Army of the Tennessee, and the ...read more

“Talladega Nights” released

“Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” an irreverent comedy based in the outlandish (fictionalized) world of American stock car racing, premieres in movie theaters around the United States on this day in 2006. The comedian Will Ferrell (who also co-wrote the screenplay ...read more