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President Ford Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jesse Owens

This photograph was taken by David Hume Kennerly on August 5, 1976, during a ceremony where President Gerald R. Ford awarded athlete and humanitarian Jesse Owens with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a president can bestow. President Ford presented the award during a ceremony in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, attended by members of the 1976 United States Summer Olympic team. A track-and-field legend, Owens earned four gold medals during the controversial 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Nazi Germany. Notably, Owens did not receive a White House invitation or word of congratulations from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower designated Owens as an Ambassador of Sports, and enlisted him on a goodwill tour to promote amateur sports in India, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
David Hume Kennerly
Date of Work
August 5, 1976
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum/NARA