Pasadena, CA — Olympic track and field medalists and civil rights advocates Tommie Smith and John Carlos were honored Saturdaywith the Joe Shapiro Award during Cal State L.A.’s 17th annual Billie Jean King & Friends Event. The evening program took place in the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.
Smith won the gold medal and Carlos claimed the bronze medal in the 200-meter race at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, and their protest on the medal stand became one of the most iconic – and controversial – moments in the history of the Olympics.
Smith and Carlos raised their fists with black gloves and bowed their heads during the playing of the national anthem to call attention to the treatment of African Americans in the U.S. and to show solidarity with people fighting internationally for human rights.
“Tommie Smith and John Carlos displayed tremendous courage on the Olympic medal podium,” said Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino. “Their actions helped advance the national dialogue on civil rights and race relations, and they went on to become champions for academic excellence and achievement. It is a pleasure to honor them tonight as heroes whose contributions have benefited us all.”
More than four decades later their story is still so relevant, and Torontonian artist Mark Stoddart is doing his part to keep the legacy alive.
“It’s amazing that all these years later this moment continues to have an impact on our society,” says Dr. John Carlos. “It’s not often that, that happens so it’s important for young people to know the truth and Mark is definitely helping with that.”
October 16th marks the 46th anniversary of the famous silent protest held at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Tommie Smith, myself along with Australian sprinter Peter Norman, will forever be linked in one of the most memorable, iconic, sports moment in history.
Surprisingly, many people are not familiar with any of our names. Ironically, one only needs to raise one hand in the air with a clenched fist to get a reaction which instantly triggers an individual to remember our stand and that memorable moment.
Three trailblazers came together Saturday night at a swanky fundraiser for theathletic program at Cal State L.A.:
Billie Jean King, Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
The university’s young students might not know their stories, but they are reaping the benefits of their legacies.
King, 70, is a legend not just for her record on the tennis court — where she won 20 Wimbledon titles and 39 Grand Slam victories — but for her decades of public agitation about gender equality.
She campaigned for equal prize money for male and female players, helped launch the first professional women’s tennis tour and pushed for federal legislation that has fueled a 40-year boom in women’s sports.
Smith and Carlos are Olympic icons, best known for a singular moment that was less about winning a race than about taking a stand against racial discrimination.
Both men medaled in the 200 meters at the 1968 games; Smith won the gold and Carlos won the bronze. Then, as they stood on the victory stand and our national anthem was played, each man bowed his head and thrust a black-gloved fist in the air to protest racial discrimination in America.
WRITTEN BY PATRICIA TURNIER email@example.com
Originally published @ www.megadiversities.com
Dr. John Wesley Carlos was born on June 5th 1945 in Harlem, New York. He is of Cuban descent and can understand Spanish. John Carlos’ father, Earl Carlos Sr., was a businessman and World War I Veteran. He was a man proud of his appearance in all circumstances and carried himself in a dignified way. He had to work hard from an early age (like most African-American children of his era, especially in the South of the country) and his parents were born as slaves. When he participated in World War I, he got wounded and received the Medal of Citation Award for his stoicism on the battlefield. When he returned back home, he had to face racial hatred, economic discrimination, the Roaring Twenties, the Stock Market Crash in 1929, the Dust Bowl in the mid-thirties and World War II. Despite the difficulties, he never became bitter. He met his future wife, Vioris Lawrence, in 1941, who was later John Carlos’ mother.
“What I really want to do is be a representative of my race — of the human race. I have a chance to show how kind we can be, how intelligent and generous we can be. I have a chance to teach and to love and to laugh. I know that when I’m finished doing what I’m sent here to do, I will be called home and I will go home without any fear.” – Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou, one of the first black women to enjoy mainstream success as an author and artist in almost every artistic medium has passed away. She was 86. Born Marguerite Johnson, Angelou was born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis. She grew up between St. Louis and the then-racially segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas. The famous poet got into writing after a childhood tragedy that stunned her into silence for years. From the silence, a louder voice was born. In her poem “Caged Bird,” Angelou wrote:
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped
and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.”
(July 20, 1939-April 29, 2014)
Once the world’s fastest man
This week I lost a great friend and the world lost a great man. Former Olympic sprinter, Frank Budd, who at one time was considered the world’s fastest man has passed away. He was 74.
Under the guidance of legendary Villanova University track coach James “Jumbo” Elliott, Budd broke the record in the 100 yard dash with a time of 9.2 seconds in 1961. The record, which gave him the unofficial title of world’s fastest man, came at a meet on New York City’s Randall’s Island.
By Dave Zirin
As NBA players are making symbolic political statements on the court in response to Donald Sterling’s recorded racist rant, 1968 Olympian John Carlos’s name has been repeatedly referenced in columns and on social media. After all, it was the stand of John Carlos and Tommie Smith after their 200-meter race at the Mexico City Olympics that has become the go-to template for athletic protest over the last forty-five years. Many are using Carlos’s example to state authoritatively what the Clippers players should or should not have done before their playoff game last Sunday. Some folks are saying that if John Carlos were on the Clippers, they would have boycotted the game. Others have said that if John Carlos were there they would have sat on the floor or walked off the court after the opening tip. People have been talking about John Carlos as if it were a doctrinal “what would Jesus do” kind of discussion. This was coupled with a series of moralistic articles—including this doozy from the NY Times—about all that the players should have done.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former professional boxer who became an advocate for the wrongly convicted after spending 19 years in prison for a triple murder he did not commit, died Sunday in Toronto at the youthful age of 76.
Carter’s lightening fast combinations earned him the nickname “Hurricane” and by 1963, Ring Magazine had him rated as the number 10 best fighter in the world. In 1964, Carter got his only title shot against middleweight champion Joey Giardello but lost in a 15 round decision.
Carter’s struggle for freedom and exoneration received global attention after Bob Dylan wrote a song about him. His life story was also popularized in the 1999 film ‘The Hurricane” which starred Denzel Washington.
The attack on a Glasgow street busker that has recently been circulating around the internet and displayed to TV viewers has once again sparked the debate regarding racism around the world. I’m disappointed that incidents like these still take place around the world, but not surprised. Why should I be surprised when incidents like this one happens right here in America? If we can’t even get treated equally in our native country more so, get justice for our black youths whose lives seem expendable and worthless in the eyes of the justice system, why should I be surprised. The fact of the matter is we need to focus more on fixing what WE need to fix in our country first before we can worry about fixing things abroad. EQUALITY IS EQUALITY JUST LIKE JUSTICE IS JUSTICE! We just need to spend more time addressing America’s faults and failures of the black community FIRST!
It’s been a mighty long climb to reach where we are at now and I only expect that climb to get harder as the years go by. As long as I’m here on this earth I will continue to climb, crawl if I have too, until we get the treatment and rights that we are guaranteed.