Young African-Americans who are on the street fighting for justice today come from a great tradition, that goes back to Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, on to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
So, it was only the right thing to do at 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico when John Carlos, and his teammate, Tommie Haynes, dawned black gloves and fists as they took to the podium. During the playing of the National Anthem they raised their gloved fist to the sky.
It was an expression of the condition of black people in America.They were promptly kicked out of the Olympic Village the next day. But their actions garnered the world’s attention to America’s treatment of people of color.
“The first thing I thought was the shackles have been broken,” said Carlos in an interview with the Guardian, in 2012. “And they won’t ever be able to put shackles on John Carlos again. Because what had been done couldn’t be taken back. Materially, some of us in the incarceration system are still literally in shackles. The greatest problem is we are afraid to offend our oppressors.” .”I had a moral obligation to step up. Morality was a far greater force than the rules and regulations they had. God told the angels that day, ‘Take a step back, I’m gonna have to do this myself.'”
Today, that moment is captured forever in a statue of Carlos and Smith, which stands on the campus of San Jose State University