October 16 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Black Power protest at the 1968 Olympics 200m medal ceremony by African American athletes Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos (right), the gold and bronze medalists. Peter Norman (left), the silver medalist from Australia and an opponent of the White Australia policy, displayed the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). This was – and is – a powerful example of defiance in the face of racist oppression, in particular, and for human rights for all, in general. Continue reading
John Carlos | New York Daily News / HERMANN, MARC, A.
A comment by TONY SEED
John Carlos and Charles Barkley are both “mavericks”, but only one ever put his life and livelihood on the line. Both have political opinions, one progressive and the other crude and self-serving. The former are little known, the latter are widely propagated. One champions popular resistance to state-sanctioned murder, the other police impunity. One gets by, the other is a big property owner and businessman, who enriched himself by capitalizing on his considerable skills through professional sport and TV, with an estimated net worth of $30 million. One website says he pulled in an obscene $46 million between November 2013 and November 2014, a nearly $20 million lead over his closest competition amongst pro athletes: Continue reading
By DAVE ZIRIN*
Olympic Project for Human Rights button, worn by activist athletes in the 1968 Olympic games, originally called for a boycott of the 1968 Olympic Games. The iconic photo appears in many history textbooks, stripped of the story of the planned boycott and demands, creating the appearance of a solitary act of defiance.
It has been almost 44 years since Tommie Smith and John Carlos took the medal stand following the 200-meter dash at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and created what must be considered the most enduring, riveting image in the history of either sports or protest. But while the image has stood the test of time, the struggle that led to that moment has been cast aside. Continue reading
By JOSH HEALEY*
Tommie Smith (left) and John Carlos carry Peter Norman’s coffin | Wayne Taylor.
I don’t like whiteness. And as a white person looking for some heroes, it’s lonely out here. The museum’s empty.
—Macon Detournay from Angry Black White Boy by Adam Mansbach
attacked the atmosphere
of Olympic Stadium
Mexico City, 1968
Tommie Smith and John Carlos
took gold and bronze
then took Black Power
tacked on my bedroom wall
centered on the two men
about to receive more hate mail
than Hank Aaron and Muhammad Ali combined
i barely noticed Continue reading
John Carlos is best known as the man who, along with Tommie Smith, raised a clenched fist—the Black Power salute—on the medal stand after the 200 metre race. Carlos took bronze, and Smith gold, at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. But that moment was a culmination of months of political discussion among black leaders in America. One such discussion happened in early 1968 in New York City. Carlos explains, in a section excerpted from The John Carlos Story, written with Dave Zirin.
I recall going down to the Americano that evening, walking into the lobby and being just overwhelmed by the size of it all. I had never really made time in the downtown Manhattan hotels and my eyes almost popped out of my head. It looked like a movie set, with 50-foot-high ceilings, gaudy chandeliers, and the kind of deep, smoky woodwork that looked like it had been carved and sanded for kings. It crossed my mind that I’d turn the corner and bump into John Dillinger. I gathered myself and I went up to the room where the meeting was to take place. Continue reading
By PEGGY MORTON, TML Daily, February 27, 2010
THE self-serving domination of the rich who use the Olympics for their own ends has a sordid history which shows how the domination of finance capital and the most reactionary elements is blocking a human-centred approach. While everyone speaks in the name of high ideals, the fact is that those who control the Olympics have used this control for the most anti-social aims. For more than 40 years of the post-World War II period, that is, following the defeat of fascism by the world’s people and the achievements which came from that victory, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) was actually led by pro-fascist elements. Continue reading
Australian athlete stood for rights at home and in the US
Mexico City, October 16, 1968: U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos (right) take the podium for their medal ceremony and raise their fists in the Black Power salute. At left is Australian silver medallist Peter Norman, who wore a civil rights badge in solidarity
By MARGARET REES
Thirty eight years ago, on October 16, 1968, the medals ceremony at the Mexico Olympics was converted into a symbolic demonstration of the struggle against oppression.
US black sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos, respectively first and third in the men’s 200 metres, defiantly raised clenched fist salutes as the American national anthem played. Their stand in support of civil rights and against racism reverberated internationally. The photograph of their protest has become one of the most recognised images in the world, after that of the first moon landing.
The unexpected silver medalist, 26-year-old Australian Peter Norman, wore a button of the “Olympic Project for Human Rights” – a civil rights protest movement set up by black athlete Harry Edwards before the Games – in support of his two fellow athletes. Continue reading