1968 Olympics


I’m pretty sure everyone has seen, heard, or read about the Famous Tommie Smith and John Carlos black power fist at the 1968 summer Olympics.

But have you seen, heard, or read about Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett? 4 years later after going gold and silver in the 400m race at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Matthews and Collett did not stand in the salute position while the American National Anthem was playing. They actually held a conversation with each other, and acted oblivious to the National anthem. (Respect)

In a later interview after the incident, Wayne said, the national anthem meant nothing to him. He explained that he had felt unable to honor the anthem because of the struggle faced by African-Americans at the time “I couldn’t stand there and sing the words because I don’t believe they’re true. I wish they were. I believe we have the potential to have a beautiful country, but I don’t think we do” Statements like this need to be heard, you can’t have us winning gold medals for this country but then treat us like shit, it doesn’t work like that! More of our black athletes need to have their courage.

Post made by: @Oba_Tayo

Black History: October 16, 1968 - The Silent Protest

Today in history at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, African-American athlete Tommie Smith won the 200-metre dash in a record time of 19.83 seconds, thus winning the gold medal. White Australian athlete Peter Norman came second at 20.06 seconds and African-American athlete John Carlos came third at 20.10 seconds.

While receiving their medals at the podium:

  • Smith and Carlos removed their shoes, wearing black socks to symbolise black poverty
  • Smith represented his black pride by wearing a black scarf
  • Carlos wore beads as a reference to the slaves who were thrown over boats in the middle passage and for those who were lynched, killed, hung and tarred
  • Both athletes wore a single black glove (Peter Norman suggested that John Carlos should wear Tommie Smith’s left-hand glove)

Smith and Carlos bowed their head and raised their gloved fists as the American Star-Spangled Banner played, and the crowd booed the athletes as they left the podium. After the event, Smith stated:

“If I win I am an American, not a black American. But if I did something bad then they would say "a Negro”. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.“

JFK Proposes a Detroit Olympics

“The long established and much respected tradition of the Olympic Games exerts a powerful influence upon the character of men and nations.”

-President Kennedy in a letter to members of the International Olympic Committee proposing Detroit, Michigan as the host city for the 1968 Summer Olympics, 9/3/63.

Pictured: President John F. Kennedy signs a joint resolution in support of Detroit’s bid to host the 1968 Olympic Games. Behind President Kennedy stand officials from Michigan (L-R): Senator Philip A. Hart, Representative Martha W. Griffiths, Representative Neil Staebler, and Representative Harold M. Ryan. Cabinet Room, White House, Washington, D.C.

-from the JFK Library 

The 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute: African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a gesture of solidarity at the 1968 Olympic games. Australian Silver medalist Peter Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support of their protest. Both Americans were expelled from the games as a result.

Villa Cultural, (Villa Coapa) durante la construcción, Villa Olímpica Narciso Mendoza, Anillo Periferico at the Glorieta de Vaqueritos, Tlalpan, Mexico DF 1968

Arqs. Héctor Velázquez, Manuel González Rul, Agustín Hernández, Ramón Torres Martínez y Carlos Ortega

Cultural Village (Coapa Village) during construction,Tlalpan, Mexico City 1968