Jesse Owens’ oak tree legacy to live on in Cleveland’s Rockefeller Park Lagoon

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — The Jesse Owens’ oak tree legacy will live on in Cleveland‘s Rockefeller Park Lagoon with a new sapling that was planted today.

Eighty-four years ago, Jesse Owens planted an oak tree in Cleveland at James Ford Rhodes High School in Old Brooklyn.

It is a symbol to carry on his legacy, the four gold medals he earned from the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and the several Olympic and world records he set.

(Courtesy Bob of Perkowski)

Today, a sapling stands at Rockefeller Park Lagoon off of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard so generations can enjoy it for years to come.

The new tree was horticulturally propagated, or grafted, from the original Jesse Owens Oak tree, which is a process where new plants grow from other plant parts.

(Courtesy of Bob Perkowski)

“This special tree has been living off the radar in Old Brooklyn for decades. We are thrilled to raise awareness of the tree and ensure its legacy lives on so that Jesse Owens’ story of triumph in the face of adversity abroad and at home stays centered in Cleveland’s story in the future,” said Jeff Verespej, executive director of the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation.

Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc. and chair of the Holden Parks Trust says they plan to create a broader interpretive site around the site of the new tree that celebrates the legacy of Jesse Owens.

“On behalf of the Holden Parks Trust, we are proud to be the steward of this legacy planting in partnership with the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation, Holden Forests & Gardens, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District,” said Chris Ronayne,

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