Little Known Black History Fact: Salute: The 1968 Olympics

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  • The 1968 Olympics in Mexico City were made famous by African-American track and field gold medalist, Tommie Smith, bronze medalist John Carlos and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman.

    The two black men who had earned top honors in the race wore black gloves and held up tight fists in honor of the black power movement during the final ceremony. Neither man wore shoes in order to send a message about black poverty in America. John Carlos purposely unzipped the top of his tracksuit to represent solidarity of the blue collar works in America and hung beads around his neck to pay homage to those lynched from hatred and slaves brought through the middle passage. Peter Norman, like the others, wore a pin that said OPHR, to support the Olympic Project for Human Rights. The Olympic Project for Human Rights was a 1967 organization that was initially expected to boycott the 1968 Summer Olympic games. The group, founded by Harry Edwards, was organized to protest racism in America.

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