1968 Olympics Black Power salute

“The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute was a political demonstration conducted by African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. After having won gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200-meter running event, they turned on the podium to face their flags, and to hear the American national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner‘. Each athlete raised a black-gloved fist, and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. In addition, Smith, Carlos, and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets. In his autobiography, Silent Gesture, Smith stated that the gesture was not a ‘Black Power‘ salute, but a ‘human rights salute’. The event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games. … On the morning of 16 October 1968, US athlete Tommie Smith won the 200 meter race with a world-record time of 19.83 seconds. Australia’s Peter Norman finished second with a time of 20.06 seconds, and the US’s John Carlos won third place with a time of 20.10 seconds. After the race was completed, the three went to the podium for their medals to be presented by David Cecil, 6th Marquess of Exeter. The two US athletes received their medals shoeless, but wearing black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride, Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with all blue-collar workers in the US and wore a necklace of beads which he described ‘were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the Middle Passage.’ …”
Guardian: The man who raised a black power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games
John Carlos 68
YouTube: 1968 Summer Olympics, Black Power Salute, 1968 Olympics The Black Power Salute 58:28

A statue of Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos, right, was installed at the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture last year.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Black Power, Bobby Seale, Dick Gregory, Documentary, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey P. Newton, James Baldwin, Jesse Jackson and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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