Gompers school name to be reverted to Jesse Owens

A school council voted to change the name of Gompers to Jesse Owens for the legendary Olympian. The Chicago School Board would have to approve.

October 23, 2013 3:50:30 PM PDT
The name of Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens will be restored to a South Side elementary school.

Owens was an African American track star who competed in the 1936 Games. The school named after him was one of nearly 50 closed this summer. Chicago Public Schools kept the building to be used by nearby Gompers Elementary and it was given the name Gompers South.

Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett says Wednesday's decision to restore the name "serves as a moving tribute to his legacy as an athlete and a humanitarian.

"Jesse Owens remains a powerful figure in our country's history," Byrd Bennett said. "I am proud to be part of a school district and community that values and recognizes individuals like Jesse Owens and am pleased that his life will continue to remind students of how one person can influence the course of history."

The Gompers Local School Council held two community meetings to receive community feedback before voting to change the school's name to Jesse Owens Elementary Community Academy. During this community-driven process, CEO Byrd-Bennett met with the Owens family.