The year 1968 was full of protest and activism in the United States. Some events found their way into venues abroad, demonstrating the unrest felt by peoples at home, such as the events which transpired in October 1968. The Black Power salute given by the American medal winners during the awards ceremony for the 200 meter dash was a poignant statement about the treatment of African-Americans in the United States during that time period.
This was no random display of emotion, however. This was a planned, premeditated action, aimed at showing the powers that be the African-American athletes of the United States would tolerate the racial injustice in sports and everyday life no longer. Tommie Smith and John Carlos served as the collective voice of a large and powerfully motivated, well-supported force called the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which had been at work for some time.
This was potentially a statement to cap the Civil Rights movement in a very powerful and positive way. It had the capacity to indisputably stamp an exclamation point on the social progress being made during this decade. This paper assesses the efficacy and power of this statement and determines its validity as the ultimate demonstration of African-American pride and passion.
Jerimaih Langfeldt, ’00 Evanston, IL
Majors: History, Secondary Education
Sponsor: Richard Thomas