Gershon Ache, Guest Writer

He’s gaining speed. He’s passing the other competitors. He just might have a chance to win it all. There’s nothing that can stop him now, he’s got what it takes to be be a champion.


One year ago…

It’s a struggle to get a job, ‘specially around these times. I was born and raised in Georgia, then me and my family later moved here to Chicago, Illinois, hoping for a new beginning in life. It’s not all bad here. I actually got used to the new city life. But then hard times hit my family, Chicago, and all of America. After the stock market had crashed, a lot of people lost their jobs, homes, everything. Like I said, it’s a struggle to get a job, and being an African-American didn’t make it much easier for me or my family, or anyone else who was black for that matter.

“Aye Marv, still finding a job?” asked Raymond Jackson, my best friend ever since I can remember.

“Nah Ray. Not yet,” I sighed.

“If I were you, I would give up on the whole finding a job thing. It’s impossible to find a job these days, especially here in Chicago. Everything’s practically runned by factories,” Raymond said.

“I know, I know,” I replied back, “ but I wanna save up some money so I can go travel and see the world. There’s gotta be some way I can do just that.”

“Welp, can’t help you there, my friend. It would take a miracle to find a job around here,” said Raymond.

“Ain’t that right,” I replied. “ But I can’t give up now, there’s gotta be a job somewhere out there. I’m trying to conquer my achievements.”

“Speaking of achievements, did you hear about Jesse Owens from Ohio? He broke the world records for the 220-yard dash, the 220-yard low hurdles, and the running broad jump, and he even matched the world record for the 100-yard dash, in just one day!” exclaimed Raymond.

“Sounds pretty impressive,” I said, surprised.

“Oh, and did I mention that he’s black?”

“He’s Black?!”

“Mmmhmm,” he murmured. “I can just tell that fella is going places, you watch.”

“Hey, if he can break world records in a day, then I definitely can find a job in no time,” I said, full of hope.


Months later….

It’s cold, I’m tired, and still jobless. Who would of thought that a guy like me would find work in a place like this?

Man, this is pointless,” I thought to myself, walking down the streets of Chicago. “I might as well forget about it and move on with my life.” I walked back to Jim’s Shop, where I found Raymond and another friend of mine, Ronald, sitting at table.

“Hey, Marv, over here”, Ronald called. “Aye man, still looking for a job? You never thought about giving up?”

“Man, don’t you think I’ve been telling him that?” Interrupted Raymond. “I’ve been telling him to stop worrying about finding a job and just sit back and relax.”

“You know, I saw some guy on the streets announcing that, The Armstrong family is hiring an assistant for their travels to Europe, anyone up for it, the volunteer receives $200 dollars.”

“200 dollars!” Raymond and I gasped at the same time.

“This might be for you, Marvin,” said Ronald.

This must be some sort of miracle. This was my chance to finally get a job after months of searching.

“Wait, hold on, is This family white?” asked Raymond?

“ I’m pretty sure”.

“Oh no!” Raymond whispered loudly. “Marv, don’t do this, man, that’s way too risky”.

“ But Marv, this is 200 dollars we’re talking about”, convinced Ronald.

“200 dollars sounds real good ”, I thought.

“This can be your chance man. Not only that you get paid, you get to go out of the country and goes somewhere new. Isn’t that what yo wanted?

“Yeah,” I said.

“Here’s a card of their address I have, this can help you. 1105 N. Mill St. Naperville IL 60563.”

“Thanks Ron,” I said.

“I still don’t know if that’s the best option for you, but do what you gotta do man,” said Raymond.


One week later…

 1105 N. Mill St. Naperville IL 6056. This is must be the place.

I slowly went up the steps of the house. I’m praying that everything will run smoothly. My heart was beating out of my chest.

I hope these people aren’t racist”, i thought in my head as I finally approached the doorbell. I pushed the button then waited for a while. I pushed it again then waited for what seemed like an eternity. Then someone came to the door.

“May I help you?” Asked Mr. Armstrong.

The man standing in the door was tall. He was dressed nicely, he had on glasses. He looked like he would be around his early to mid-forties.

“Hello sir,” I said nervously, “I heard you were needing of an assistant for your travels to Europe and I was hoping if you could hire me?”

He looked up and down at me. He stared me down. I could feel sweat dripping down my neck.

“Come in,” he said. I let out a quiet sight of relief.

We entered in his house. It was huge.

“Sit down”, he uttered.

“So, you’re interested in this ‘job’, huh?”

“Yes, sir, I am positive that I am capable of helping you and your family with whatever you need.


July 27, 1936

It was flying day. I never been on a plane. I was pretty excited but also a little terrified. I was pretty excited to go somewhere outside of America. I was excited to go and see what it’s like in Germany, the life there, their food, etc. When we got in the plain, I saw that there were others who were on for the same reason me and Mr. Armstrong’s family were on this trip. Nothing really surprised me about these passengers as they kept eyeballing me and whispering to each other. It was exactly like being on a bus.


July 28, 1936

Finally we made it to Germany. It was a pretty nice looking place. It wasn’t that different from what I’ve seen back at home, but it was still a sight to see. I’ve gotten a lot of stares from the common folk. I also saw some of them whispering to each other in German, but I knew they were talking about me, I was the oddball out.


August 16th

The last day of the Olympic Games. Owens was representing The U.S. the racers are getting in position. It’s all or nothing, now. A gunshot fires and the racers are off. Owens is gaining speed. He’s passing the other competitors. He just might have a chance to win it all. There’s nothing that can stop him now, he’s got what it takes to be be a champion. I guess Raymond was right about him after all.




history.com editors, Owens wins 4th gold medal. July 21, 2010





Shaap, Jeremy. Triumph.