Olympic icon Jesse Owens and his wife, Ruth Owens, return home from the Olympics in Berlin on August 24, 1936. The son of a sharecropper and grandson of slaves, the Oakville, Alabama-born Mr. Owens won a record 4 gold medals at the 1936 games, annihilating the racist myth of white superiority in the presence of Adolph Hitler. Mr. Owens stated after his victories, “When I came back to my native country, after all the stories about Hitler, I couldn’t ride in the front of the bus. I had to go to the back door. I couldn’t live where I wanted. I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, either.” Mr. and Mrs. Owens had three daughters and were married for 45 years before he died in 1980 at the age of 66 of lung cancer. Photo: by Joseph Costa/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images.