When Black American Athletes Raised Their Fists at the 1968 Olympics

Written by on November 26, 2022

Wearing beads and scarves to oppose lynchings and black socks with no shoes to highlight poverty, African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos took to the podium during the October 16, 1968, Olympic medal ceremony in Mexico City to receive their respective gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter race. But it was a single accessory—a black glove—and an accompanying gesture—a raised fist during the American national anthem—that sparked an uproar. From that moment, the two athletes would be vilified, threatened and, in some circles, celebrated.

Using the Olympic medal ceremony . . .



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