Fifty years ago today, before @kaepernick7
, there was #TommieSmith
- two Black American athletes who used their platform to raise awareness about racial and social injustices in this country. They were also ridiculed, criticized, and received death threats. However, this iconic image of their bravery is an international symbol of #BlackPower
On October 16, 1968, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos took to the winners podium after coming first and third in the 200m race at the Summer Olympics, Mexico City.
As The Star-Spangled Banner started to play, each of the two men raised a black-gloved fist, keeping them aloft until the American national anthem had ceased.
Maintaining that it was a human rights, rather than a black power, salute, it was however a protest at the continued racial segregation and discrimination in their home nation.
Taking place just a few months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Smith later stated: “If I win, I am American, not a black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a negro. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.”
This famous image of the event was taken by LIFE photographer John Dominis. It shows the Australian silver medal-winner Peter Norman wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in solidarity, also worn by Smith and Carlos.
The two Americans removed their shoes to receive their medals, but wore black socks to represent black poverty.
Smith wore a black scarf to symbolise black pride and Carlos unzipped his top as a gesture of solidarity with all blue-collar workers. It also revealed his necklace of beads, “for those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred...for those thrown off the side of the boats in the Middle Passage.” Reposted from @Gettyarchive
📷: John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
#BlackPower #AmericanHeroes #iconicphotographs #JohnDominis #TimeMagazine #GettyImages #TraScapades