June 5

June 5, 1945 – John Wesley Carlos of the 1968 Summer Olympics Black Power Salute

John Carlos (cropped)

John Carlos

John Wesley Carlos is a former Olympic Track athlete and professional football player who was born on June 5, 1945.  John Carlos and Tommie Smith created political controversy at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games.  While receiving their medals on the Olympic podium, Carlos and Smith raised the “Black Power Salute” while wearing no shoes to symbolize poverty in Black America.    Tommie Smith said of their political stand “If I win, I am an 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.”  Carlos and Smith were honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards in 2008.