Tag Archives: Olympics – Mexico City 1968

This day. The Black Power salute

1968.Black Power salute

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

Leave a comment

Filed under History

Legendary Olympian puts Charles Barkley in his place

John Carlos | New York Daily News / Hermann, Marc, A.

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

2 Comments

Filed under Athletes, Basketball

Elegy for Peter Norman

By JOSH HEALEY*

Tommie Smith (left) and John Carlos carry Peter Norman’s coffin | Wayne Taylor.

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

two fists
attacked the atmosphere
of Olympic Stadium
Mexico City, 1968

Tommie Smith and John Carlos
took gold and bronze
then took Black Power
center stage

that image
tacked on my bedroom wall
centered on the two men
about to receive more hate mail
than Hank Aaron and Muhammad Ali combined

you, Pete,
i barely noticed Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

‘An Olympics without Black athletes’: Martin Luther King Jr., John Carlos, and the boycott that wasn’t

"An Olympics Without Black Athletes": Martin Luther King Jr., John Carlos, And The Boycott That Wasn't

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Legacies: Lives lived / past progressive – Peter Norman 1942-2006

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

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

7 Comments

Filed under Athletes, History