mexico city olympics


For Refinery29’s celebration of Black History Month we put together a list of Black men and women you ought to know. Their legacy in civil rights, feminism, and LGBTQ equality lives on today.

  1. Bayard Rustin — A leading Black figure in the civil rights movement and advisor to Martin Luther King, he was the architect of the 1963 March on Washington and was heavily involved in the first Freedom Rides. He was also gay and a registered communist who went to jail for his sexual orientation. Although widely heralded, he was attacked even by fellow activists for his faith in nonviolence, unapologetic queerness, and attention to income equality. President Obama honored Rustin posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
  2. Combaheee River Collective — A seminal Black lesbian feminist group active from 1974-1980. Although officially short lived, its influence has been major. The group is best known for writing the Combaheee River Collective Statement, an important document in promoting the idea that social change must be intersectional — and that Black women’s needs were not being met by mainstream white feminism and therefore must strike out on their own. Members of the collective included Audre Lorde and…Chirlane McCray, now First Lady of New York City and author of the landmark essay “I Am a Lesbian,” published in Essence in 1979.
  3. John Carlos, Tommie Smith, and Peter Norman — The winners of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics 200 Meter Sprint. In one of the proudest and most political moments of sports history, John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their leather-gloved fists in the Black Power salute. They wore black socks without shoes to represent black poverty and a scarf and necklace to symbolize “those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage.”

    We also include in our list Peter Norman, the white Australian silver medalist from that ceremony, to commemorate his solidarity with the two Black athletes. White people are more than indebted to black history, and Norman is an excellent example of a white ally. Although he didn’t perform the black power salute, he publicly supported the duo without regard to personal safety or retribution. Norman was penalized for his alliance with Carlos and Smith and was never again allowed to compete in any Olympics despite repeatedly qualifying. Largely forgotten and barred from major sporting events, he became a gym teacher and worked at a butcher shop. At his funeral in 2006, John Carlos and Tommie Smith were his pallbearers.
  4. The Friendship Nine — This group of nine Black students from Friendship Junior College willingly went to jail without bail in 1961 after staging a sit-in at McCrory’s lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina. They pioneered the civil rights strategy “Jail, No Bail,” which placed the financial burden for racist incarceration back on the state. They’re appreciated today for their bravery and strategic ingenuity. In 2015 their conviction was finally overturned and prosecutor Kevin Brackett personally apologized to the eight living members of the group.
  5. Barbara Jordan — A lawyer and politician, Barbara Jordan was the first Black woman elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first southern Black woman to be elected as a US Senator, and the first Black woman to deliver a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. Her keynote address is widely considered the greatest of all time, aided by her charismatic and eloquent public speaking skills. She is also remembered as one of the leaders of the impeachment of Richard Nixon. We chose the above quote to illustrate her unique punchy sense of humor.
  6. Pauli Murray — This civil rights activist, feminist, and poet was a hugely successful lawyer who is also recognized as the first Black female Episcopal priest. Like many figures on this list, Murray was acutely aware of the complex relationship between race and gender, and referred to sexism as “Jane Crow,” comparing midcentury treatment of women to that of African Americans in the South. Although she graduated from Howard University first in her class, she was barred from enrolling as a postgraduate at Harvard because she was a woman. Instead, in 1965 she became the first African American to receive a JSD from Yale Law. Once armed with a law degree she became a formidable force in advancing feminist and civil rights. She is a cofounder of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She also identified as having an “inverted sex instinct,” which she used instead of “homosexual” to describe her complicated gender identity and lifelong attraction to women.

Vista de las fachadas de las torres desde el patio, Unidad Morelos ‘Los Soldominios’, calle Dr. J. Navarro 207 entre Dr. Carmona y Valle y Dr. Lucio, Doctores, Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México 1968

Arq. Guillermo Rossell

View of the facades of the towers from a court yard, Unidad Morelos 'Los Soldominios’, calle Dr. J. Navarro 207 between Dr. Carmona y Valle and Dr. Lucio, Doctores, Cuauhtemoc, Mexico City 1968

Olympic Black Power Salute

Originally posted by odinsblog

#Onthisday in 1968, sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos clenched their fists in protest during the Mexico City Olympics. Their gesture attracted the attention of international audiences and gained support from around the world, however, Smith and Carlos were ostracized at home. Peter Norman, the Australian silver medalist, also joined the protest in solidarity by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) badge on his uniform.

During the medal ceremony for the 200-meter sprint, Smith and Carlos dressed in black socks and no shoes as a symbol for African American Poverty, a black glove symbolizing unity and strength, and a scarf and beads in honor of lynching victims. They bowed their heads and raised their fists as the United States National Anthem played. Following the protest, the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended the two athletes. #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory
The Story Behind The White Guy In This Historic Photo
In 1968 there was a powerful moment of protest at the Olympic games when two winners put on black gloves to protest what was happening in the country during ...

Sometimes, it’s not about what is best. It’s about what’s right.


Lance Wyman, Olympic postage stamps for Mexico ‘68.

The radiating and colorful lines that extend from the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, at top, and which surround the stadium at the University City of UNAM in Mexico City, below it, provide more than a graphic connection between these two sites. They also refer to the connection established between the pre-Hispanic site and the modernist building between October 11 and October 12, 1968 as part of the events that surrounded the Mexico '68 Olympics. The night of October 11, the Olympic torch was spectacularly received in Teotihuacan after traveling through many parts of Europe and Mexico. The following day, the torch reached the UNAM stadium and was greeted in the midst of a ceremony that commemorated the inauguration of the Olympics. In Alberto Isaac's Olimpíada en México, the torch’s journey is captured beautifully in film. Watch it here:

Tommie Smith and John Carlos - Mexico City Olympics, 1968

The 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in the air as they accept their Olympic medals, barefooted in black socks to highlight the poverty of their community in America. 

People booed them. They were forced off the American Olympic team. 

Fifty years later, black athletes take a knee to protest racial injustice in America. 

People boo them. People call for them to lose their livelihood. And these same people want to say that things have changed. That things are equal now, so why are they complaining?

feelingshider  asked:

Hey, I'm French and I want to do a quick presentation (5min) about Kaepernick, #TakeAKnee etc. What would you say if you had the occasion? And do you know some informations that are not really known or discussed? I really want to do it right

i’d definitely make sure to talk about colin kaepernick (obv) and let people know this is nothing new by providing them with a brief history of other protests in professional sports such as muhammad ali’s actions in 1967 + 1971 supreme court decision, the 1968 mexico city olympics when john carlos and tommie smith raised their fists and mahmoud abdul-rauf who refused to stand for the anthem in 1996, in 2014 when nba players (lebron james, kyrie irving, jarret jack and kevin garnett and others) wore ‘i can’t breathe’ shirts and st. louis rams players wore 'hands up, don’t shoot’ shirts. another protest worth noting, which didn’t take place in professional leagues, was when ariyana smith walked onto the basketball court with her hands up and fell to the floor for four and half minutes to protest the police killing of michael brown. if you’ve still got time after that (lol) you could address the issue of how pretty much all of the mainstream media participates in pushing a right-wing agenda by derailing conversations about issues like racism, police brutality and mass incarceration by hosting endless discussions and panels about “is kneeling during the anthem disrespecting the flag?” instead of offering air time to athletes, activists and others to tell their stories and give people insight into the history, the facts etc. so they can make up their own minds.

i hope that helped!


Saw this on Twitter and kinda wanted to cry about it. :’)

PSA: Peter Norman was an Australian, and when Tommie Smith and John Carlos decided they were going to protest on the podium, he flat out told them “I’ll stand with you” and asked one of the other Americans to borrow his Olympic Project for Human Rights badge. When Smith and Carlos realized they only had one pair of black gloves, it was Norman who advised them to each only wear one. And keep in mind that racism in Australia in the ‘60s was ATROCIOUS, so when he returned home he was completely vilified, ridiculed, treated as a pariah. The Australian Olympic Committee essentially ended his running career by keeping him off the '72 Olympic team despite times more than good enough to qualify, left him out of all celebrations for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and didn’t even formally apologize to him until 2012 (a cool six years after he died). He basically destroyed his life for a fight that wasn’t his to fight.

Thankfully, though, Carlos and Smith remained close friends with him for his entire life, and both eulogized him and acted as pallbearers at his funeral. USA Track and Field declared the date of his funeral to be Peter Norman Day, and back in 2000 invited him to meet with the U.S. Olympic team and treated him like the hero his own country refused to acknowledge that he was.

There’s no-one in the nation of Australia that should be honoured, recognised, appreciated more than Peter Norman for his humanitarian concerns, his character, his strength and his willingness to be a sacrificial lamb for justice. -John Carlos

All three of these men are heroes.

Jacques Esterel’s French Olympic Uniforms in 1968.
models, wearing the new uniforms of the French Olympic team for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico, walking along a street in Paris with French fashion designer Jacques Esterel, who designed the uniforms, in August 1968.