Part of LA Black history: 86-year-old tree in danger of removal

Cornelius Johnson received a potted oak tree sapling at the 1936 Olympics, and now the tree is 50 feet tall in the backyard of his Los Angeles childhood home. Photo by Brian Hardzinski/KCRW.

Olympic high jumper Cornelius Johnson won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. It was a triumph for the U.S. and for his fellow Black athletes in Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II. But in addition to earning a medal, Johnson and others received a potted oak tree sapling. When he returned to the U.S., he planted it in his backyard in Koreatown. Eighty-six years later, the tree still stands, towering 50 feet into the air. But the tree may soon be lost. It’s sickly and developers are considering removing it.