John Carlos, Tommie Smith, San Jose State University discussed on Bay Curious
It seems every Olympics has that one big moment that lives on in American memory in two thousand eight it's a narrow victory by Michael Phelps and his teammates in the four by one hundred freestyle relay. In nineteen Ninety-six. It's gymnast Kerri Strug landing her volt with an injured ankle. And then in nineteen eighty there's a US men's hockey teams defeat over the Soviets the miracle on ice. But in nineteen sixty eight the moment that sticks out was about a lot more than athletic victory. It was about social change. It comes from to track athletes from San Jose State university. It's the men's two hundred meter sprint Tommie Smith and John Carlos take gold and bronze while they're up on the medal stand. They make a very public salute black power. A gesture that has immediate consequences for both of them. Today on bakery us we bring you a story about how to local athletes took a stand against institutional, racism and discrimination in the US. I'ma Lydia Allen price. Support for bay curious comes from goodwill of San Francisco San Mateo and Marin counties with a mission to train higher power. Anyone in need of a second chance. Goodwill. One hundred percent local not for profit. Learn more SF goodwill dot org. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Tommie Smith, and John Carlos is powerful protests, Devin Katayama, the host of the podcast the bay recently spoke with Rachel myrow about it. You look up the phrase political foment Devon in the dictionary. And you find nineteen sixty eight. It was happening on a national level with the assassinations of Dr Martin Luther King junior, and Robert F Kennedy it was happening with riots, Vietnam war protests. This was at the height of the civil rights era, and at the same time all these huge moments in American history. We're going down San Jose State university was making a name for itself. This was the time when San Jose State university was known as Speen city. Why was it nickname speed city? I it was something that it started in the nineteen forties and was in full swing by the nineteen sixties when Tommy Smith and John Carlos arrived. We add the fastest people in the world. I mean, you're a fast if you you went to standardize. A lot of the credit goes to this legendary head coach Lloyd bud winter coach winter teaches adequate extension must be developed through special exercise. But the way he talked about stride, really just helped take these people who are already incredibly talented and just push it to the next level. So many guys that that you can you can hardly count them. A lot of the young men at that time talk about coming to the San Jose State campus precisely because they wanted to be on this team of superstars, but San Jose State was also fighting for its own civil rights along with the national fight black students were facing racism and housing discrimination racial discrimination at San Jose State college seemed to center around two major problems one of them housing in this case discrimination in both on and off campus housing for minority group members, it was one guy a fellow athlete. He threw the discus his name. Was Harry Edwards. The nineteen sixties as I've stated the period nineteen sixty three through nineteen sixty eight was probably the most violent and deadly political five years since eighteen he started a group called Olympic project for human rights and originally that group called for a boycott of the Olympics altogether. And this call for boycott, put athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos in this awkward position or your biggest to go to the Olympic is made any difference than you desire. No, I do have an act to participate in the next six games. But I also have a dignity to look up proven the four to the boycott never ended up happening. And so in the fall of nineteen sixty eight the US team, including Tommie Smith and John Carlos got on a plane and left for Mexico City, which was going through its own human and civil rights crisis. At the time, they get to Mexico City and the streets are literally being cleaned of blood because there was a massacre government. I troops massacred students protesting that country's authoritative government. Just before the Olympics. Wow. On October twelfth nineteen sixty eight the Olympic torch for the first time, we Latin-American renewing in Mexico City. Its message to the world unity of spirit. There was this very charged atmosphere that these athletes were operating in at home. And as they arrived at the games. So it's auto over sixteen nineteen sixty eight and Tommy Smith and John Carlos are running the two hundred meter dash Smith wins gold Carlos wins. Bronze another amazing performance. What happens after that? They walk up to receive their medals for the two hundred meter dash wearing black scarves to symbolize lynching black socks and no foods to symbolize poverty, and they each wore a black glove from the same set of gloves because Carlos had left his gloves back at the hotel. That's why the glove. That's why they each had one glove. And that's why one athlete raised his left arm to the sky, the other athlete raised his right arm to the sky, which is what they did is a bad their heads.