May 2024 Edition
Talking Points

A Poignant Olympic Moment with Ties to San Jose

In a powerful act of protest and solidarity, African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos made history during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. As “The Star-Spangled Banner” played in the Olympic Stadium on October 16, 1968, Smith and Carlos raised black-gloved fists while standing on the podium, after having won gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter running event.

Their gesture, known as the Black Power salute, was a bold statement against racial injustice and inequality in the United States. By turning to face the U.S. flag with their fists raised, they aimed to draw global attention to the struggles faced by people of color, particularly black Americans. This act remains one of the most politically charged moments in Olympic history, sparking both admiration and controversy.

In recognition of their bravery and activism, their alma mater San Jose State University unveiled a sculpture in 2005 commemorating their iconic protest. Interestingly, this tribute stands within walking distance of the Decca Design office and serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of the Black Power movement and the ongoing fight for social justice.

Visit the Olympic Black Power Statue:

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