June 30, 1934 Ralph Metcalfe (right) and Jesse Owens (left) lined up together, toe-to-toe at the Marquette Stadium for the 100 yard dash, near 38th and St. Paul in the Merrill Park neighborhood. Here is a Journal Sentinel Archive link to the story.
Although, Ralph would beat Jesse in this Amateur Athletic Union national championships, it would be Jesse just a just a few years later at the 1936 Olympics that would change history and be the embodiment of the American Spirit.
It would be 85 years and almost to the day in which residents of Merrill Park and the Valley would honor Jesse Owens with a garden park. Joined by many guess including elected officials, anchor institutions and many others July 2, 2019 was the official opening day of the park.
Local resident, John Gardener (pictured above on the right) led the initiative to get the park installed. John works with local youth to maintain the garden.
Special thanks to Bert Rogers, residents of the Valley and Merrill Park, John Gardener and Shalonda Jones. You can watch the video interview of Bert Rogers here.