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Black History

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1968 Summer Olympics & Black Power Salute

Olympics is an event that brings all countries together every four years to compete in various sports. Originating from Greece in ancient times, it rose to every occasion and continues to flourish in all aspects every time it starts up again. Usually bringing optimistic excitement, there are always those moments in time where not such great events occur. By this I am referring to the black power salute of the summer Olympics in 1968. This protest was handed out by two African American athletes by the names of Tommie Smith and John Carlos. These two black athletes undoubtedly raised the eyebrows of many all across the world and sent out one of the greatest and imprinting civil rights impressions of all time.

We’ll start off with a brief description of John Carlos. John Carlos was born in Harlem, New York on June 5, 1945(Rags1). Carlos was a Eastern Texas State University track and field star who had amazing talent and speed. Unfortunately, only after one semester, Carlos transferred out to San Jose State College where he succeeded in track

and field there as well(Rags1). It was at that college where Carlos was to be noticed by his peers and professional athletes as well.

Next was former teammate Tommie Smith. Tommie Smith was born in Lemoore California, just outside Los Angeles(Rags2). He was known as a family oriented man who respected all those around him and did his best to succeed for not only himself, but his family as well. He attended San Jose State College where he won the 220 yard National Collegiate title(Rags1). Resulting from his various victories in track and field, he eventually was picked for the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City as well as Carlos.

As they entered the summer Olympics, they were confronted by a man by the name of Harry Edwards. This man asked the two , along with other African American athletes at the Olympics, to participate in a boycott at the 1968 summer games(Info1). This man simply believed that it would create and stir up positive remarks for the Civil Rights era. As a result of Edwards’ influence, both Carlos and Smith came up with a plan that would shake up the 1968 Summer games.

In the track and field events that Smith and Carlos had taken place in, they both came out victorious. Smith had won the gold medal ,while Carlos had won the bronze(Gesture1).What had happened during the award ceremony was the moment that would stir up controversy all over American. As they were presented with the awards. Smith and Carlos raised they’re hands up in



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