Alumnus John Carlos Releases Autobiography

John Carlos, one of two Spartans memorialized in an iconic sculpture at SJSU after taking a controversial stand at the 1968 Olympic Games, has released his autobiography. "The John Carlos Story" was co-written by Dave Zirin with a forward by Cornel West...

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  The Legacy - 1968 Summer Olympic Games, Mexico City

Click here for a PDF Legacy information.


During the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, United States track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos were awarded medals for their athletic efforts. However, the great athletic feat would soon be shadowed by one of the most memorable moments in the American Civil Rights Movement. Tommie Smith and John Carlos would protest the poor treatment of African-American people in the United States and stood to empower the African American community. This is a great symbol for the community of San Josť State University. Tommie Smith and John Carlos were both students at this prestigious university and showed San Josť State University students of the present and the future that students can make a difference on the global stage.


Tommie Smith's raised right black gloved fist represented black power, the knotted black scarf around his neck represented pride, and the box in his left hand contained an olive tree sapling which stood as an emblem of peace.

John Carlos's raised left black gloved fist represented unity in black America and the beds around his neck signified lynchings suffered by blacks.

Both men wore black socks but were shoeless during the ceremony to represent black poverty in racist America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power.


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