HomeDocumentaryJesse Owens Sister Lillie Mae Owens Impacts His Journey To Cleveland and...

Jesse Owens Sister Lillie Mae Owens Impacts His Journey To Cleveland and Beyond

Jesse Owens grew up with nine siblings.

While Jesse Owens was inscribing the history, his big sister, Lillie Mae Owens, was behind the curtains, inviting him to Cleveland to uplift their meager lifestyle.

Andre Gaines directs a new HISTORY Channel documentary about Jesse Owens’ triumph in the 1936 Berlin Olympics over Nazi Germany.

Highlights

  • Jesse Owens had been taking many jobs before his elder sister, Lillie called him to Cleveland.
  • Then, he enrolled at the Fairmount Junior High School, and practiced on running tracks under the mentorship of Charles Riley.
  • She might be in her late sixties or early seventies when her brother, Jesse Owens, passed away on March 31, 1980.

Jesse Owens, an African American track and field athlete, achieved global fame by winning four gold medals in the 100-meter dash, long jump, 200-meter dash, and 4×100-meter dash.

This historic feat catapulted Owens into one of history’s greatest and most influential athletes.

The documentary “Triumph: Jesse Owens and the Berlin Olympics” will delve into Owens’ dedication, perseverance, and triumph over Adolf Hitler’s Aryan supremacy ideology.

An Elder Sister, Lilie Mae Owens, Influenced Jesse Owens To Have A Better Life In Cleveland

Jesse Owens had nine siblings: Josephine Owens, Lillie Mae Owens, Prentiss Fred D Owens, Johnson Quincy V Owens, Ernest Sylvester Michael Owens, Luverne Owens, James Cleveland Jesse Owens, and Pearline Owens

His parents worked as sharecroppers, struggling to make ends meet on a modest income.

By the early 1920s, Jesse’s older sister, Lillie, had relocated to Cleveland and sent encouraging letters home describing the city’s abundant job opportunities in factories and other industries.

These letters sparked hope for a better life, prompting Jesse Owens and the entire family to eventually move north to Cleveland.

Otherwise, Owens took on various odd jobs during his free time.

He delivered groceries, loaded freight cars, and even worked in a shoe repair shop while his father and older brother labored at a steel mill.

It was during this period that Owens discovered his love for running.

As influenced by elder sister Lillie, Owens relocated to a better place, enrolled at the Fairmount Junior High School, and practiced on running tracks under the mentorship of Charles Riley.

Before Fairmount, Jesse enrolled in Bolton Elementary School, where one of his teachers, misinterpreting his pronunciation of “J.C.” due to his southern accent, began calling him “Jesse.”

This name stuck with him throughout his life, eventually becoming the name by which he was widely known and celebrated.

Lilie Mae Owens Lived A Private Life

While Jesse Owens made history, his sister, Lillie Mae Owens, lived a private life.

She might be in her late sixties or early seventies when her brother, Jesse Owens, passed away due to lung cancer on March 31, 1980, in Tucson, Arizona

Numerous obituaries exist for individuals named Lillie Mae Owens, none of which match her birth year earlier than 1913.

Lillie Mae likely lived a fulfilling life, possibly with a husband, children, and later grandchildren.

If she is survived by children and grandchildren, they would likely be proud of her role in shaping Jesse’s path to success.

Additional Information

  • Jesse Owens and Minnie Ruth Solomon first met at Fairmont Junior High School in Cleveland when he was 15 and she was 13.
  • They married on July 5, 1935, and were blessed with three more daughters together: Gloria, Marlene, and Beverly.
  • In 1993, he made headlines by equalling the world record of 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard (91-meter) dash and achieving a long jump of 24 feet 9+1/2 inches (7.56 meters).
Alisha Shrestha
Alisha Shrestha
Introducing Alisha Shrestha, a dynamic writer and content editor with a finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry. With her passion for style and movie culture, Alisha delivers compelling articles that inspire and inform readers, keeping them up-to-date with the latest trends and developments.
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