The year 1968 would change the course of America forever. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be assassinated that April, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to go for reelection due to his health and early poll numbers which reflected the disapproval from Americans about the Vietnam War. Lastly, at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico, two Black athletes made a stand which resonated with the millions of Blacks fighting oppression back in their native country, the United States.

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Tommie Smith and John Carlos were two African American track and field athletes who were in their first Olympic games of their career. On October 16, 1968, Smith won the 200 meter dash with a time of 20.06 seconds to reach the mark. Peter Norman from Australia came in second, while John Carlos came third.

What happened next, would be a pivotal moment in the Black Power movement for equal rights which dominated the late 60s.


Smith and Carlos each rose a hand with a clinched fist, which was considered symbolic to the Black power movement that was on the defensive of the treatment of African Americans. Once leaving the podium, the two were booed by the crowd immensely and once back home, their families were targets of verbal abuse and death threats. On top of that, the two were also suspended from their Olympic team and expelled from the Olympic village. Still, the two went on to live very prominent lives, and their actions in 1968 have made them immortal to the African American community forever.