Black Power Salute

Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium at 1968 Olympics
Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium at 1968 Olympics

Historical Context

US athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos caused a sensation when they raised their black-gloved fists in protest, the salute of the Black Power political organisation, on the podium at the Mexico City Olympics after the 200-meter sprint.

They'd already removed their shoes in a protest against poverty and they also wore beads against lynching. Smith and Carlos were later ordered to leave the stadium and were expelled from the American track team. Their actions came amid the context of the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. but remains one of the most powerful images of protest ever.

Photo Info


Date taken: October 16, 1968
Location taken: Mexico City, Mexico

Related Events

  • 1968-10-16 Americans Tommie Smith (gold 19.83 WR) and John Carlos (bronze) famously give the Black Power salute on the 200m medal podium during the Mexico City Olympics to protest racism and injustice against African-Americans
  • 1968-10-18 US Olympic Committee suspends Tommie Smith and John Carlos for giving the Black Power salute to protest racism and injustice against African-Americans during Olympic medal ceremony

Related Articles and Photos

Related Famous People

Historical Photos