On anniversary of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ raised fists, we are still fighting the same racial battle

On this day in 1968, one of the greatest moments in sports history happened. It was also one of the greatest moments in world history.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two runners from San Jose State University (my alma mater), made a demonstration that forever changed history. After having won gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200-meter running event, both Smith and Carlos raised a black-gloved fist during the national anthem in a gesture towards human rights. This came at a time in America where racial equality was still a distant dream.

What transpired afterward was equally telling of the times in America. There were people who understood the importance of their message; there were many who disliked the act. Smith and Carlos were immediately sent back home, they (and their families) received death threats. It became discussion over and over about how a sporting event was no place for what they deemed a political protest. What these two did was completely unacceptable and disrespectful.

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