October 16

October 16, 1968,  – John Wesley Carlos and Tommie Smith  

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.

John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Peter Norman 1968cr

Peter Norman (Silver Medalist), John Carlos (Gold Medalist) and Tommie Smith(Bronze Medalist) On The Medals Podium During The 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics.

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.