Jesse Owens? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: It is easy to find negative stories. News reports constantly highlight them. I prefer the following guidance:
Find the good. It’s all around you. Showcase it.
This saying has been credited to acclaimed athlete Jesse Owens who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Yet, I haven’t been able to find a citation. Would you please help me?
Quote Investigator: In 1970 Jesse Owens published his autobiographical meditation “Blackthink: My Life as Black Man and White Man”. He described harrowing episodes experienced by his friends and family, but he emphasized that he did not succumb to hatred and despair. During the economic Depression he found inspiration by observing and reading about brilliant exemplars of skill, enthusiasm, and excellence such as baseball player Willie Mays and scientist George Washington Carver. Owens encouraged others to focus on the positive in life: 1
Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it and you’ll start believing in it. And so will most of the people who come into contact with you.
Showcase the good.
Believe in it.
It’s real, baby.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1970, Blackthink: My Life as Black Man and White Man by Jesse Owens With Paul G. Neimark, Chapter 8: Showcase the Good, Quote Page 166, William Morrow and Company, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩