School navigation

Black Law Student Association

Black History Month: 1968 Olympics Human Rights Salute

February 07, 2018

The 1968 Olympics Human Rights Salute was a political demonstration conducted by African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony on October 16, 1968 at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. After Smith and Carlos won gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200-meter running event, they turned on the podium to face their flags, and to hear the American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Each athlete raised a black-gloved fist, and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. In addition, Smith, Carlos, and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets. In his autobiography, Silent Gesture, Smith stated that the gesture was not a “Black Power” salute, but a “human rights salute.” The event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games.

 

Submitted by: Garry Brown, Jr. PhD.

Source Attribution: Lewis, Richard (8 October 2006). “Caught in Time: Black Power salute, Mexico, 1968”. The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 6 February 2018.