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Extra info for Jesse Owens: Champion Athlete (Black Americans of Achievement)
Checks totaling $159 during the summer from his page’s job at the State House. Part of the sum was for travel expenses, and Owens had used the money to pay for his trip to California. To the AAU, the job seemed suspiciously like a cover-up for an outright athletic scholarship. Owens gave back the money, but it took all the persuasiveness of Ohio State University administrators and Ohio lawmakers to convince the AAU to drop its charges. When his junior year got underway, Owens received yet another slap in the face.
Before the year was out, Owens had bought his parents a big house, his wife an expensive wardrobe and jewelry, and himself a new Buick sedan. He even took Charles Riley to an auto showroom, trading in that old Model T for a new Chevy. When the Republican Party asked Owens to campaign for its presidential candidate, Alf Landon, Owens balked at first, saying he did not care much about politics. When they reminded him that President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate in the 1936 presidential race, had not even sent a telegram of congratulations following his Olympic victories, Owens changed his mind.
The next morning, a chastened young husband, still burning from his first brush with celebrity, left for the East Coast and the relative peace and quiet of track meets there. Shaken by it all, Owens lost his races to a fine runner named Eulace Peacock. Then he returned home to his new family and his summer job at the filling station, reading in the papers that Peacock now seemed to be the front-runner in the race for the Olympics. PRESSURE AND POLITICS AAU officials called Owens back to Columbus in August, threatening to bar him from competition.