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Christian Kosmas Mayer : The Life Story of Cornelius Johnson’s Olympic Oak and Other Matters of Survival
Oct 20 - Jan 10 2023 - 38 days left
Cornelius Cooper Johnson, a Black athlete from Los Angeles, won the gold medal in the high jump at the Nazi-supported 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Like the other gold medalists, Johnson was given a small oak seedling in a pot in addition to his medal. Although Johnson was insulted twice by a head of state, first by Adolf Hitler who refused to shake his hands during the Olympic Games, and a second time by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who did not invite him and the other African American athletes to a White House reception for Olympic champions upon return, he planted his “Olympic oak” in the garden of his family home in Los Angeles. Christian Kosmas Mayer's work is rooted in thorough historical and contemporary research and Cornelius Johnson’s Olympic Oak is the artistic inspiration for his installation at the ACFNY.