#BH365 = Black History 365 — Protest at the 1968 Olymics


I’ve been watching a lot of historical documentaries lately and it inspired me to add yet another theme to my weeks here on WordPress: Black History 365. Basically it is part of the idea that there should not just be one day/week/month out of the year that people acknowledge the contributions of people of color to American history. The items that I will post are just the history of our country that focus on people who happen to be Black. I hope you learn as much from reading these as I do looking up the information to post it.

When most people think of African American History, they usually think of several main points… 1) slavery, and 2) the civil rights movement of the 1960s. I will definitely mention people who have done things within these two categories but I will try not to have those items be my ONLY focus for this section of my blog.

The documentaries I have been watching happened to be based on the American civil rights movement of the 1960s so I will start there. The first documentary I watched was about the silent protest at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City of two Black medal winners and the white Australian medal winner who shared the podium with them.


Click photo to see Wikipedia article

Gold Medallist Tommie Smith, (center) and Bronze medallist John Carlos (right) showing the raised fist on the podium after the 200m in the 1968 Summer Olympics wearing Olympic Project for Human Rights badges. The third athlete is silver medalist Peter Norman from Australia wearing an OPHR badge to show his support for the two Americans.
The two American athletes were sent home for their act of protest which considering the prevalent culture of the day was to be expected. Surprisingly, even though the Aussie athlete was a world record holder (with a record that took 38 years to top), when he got back to Australia, he was basically unofficially banned from track and field for wearing a pin in solidarity with his American fellow athletes.