“Black Power Salute” is an homage to African-Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who proudly gestured skyward during the 1968 Olympics, leveling the playing field for civil rights. Smith set a world record by winning the 200-meter race and Carlos placed third. When accepting their awards, they wore symbolic clothing and hoisted black-gloved fists during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Caught in a whirlwind of public outrage, Smith and Carlos were immediately banished from the U.S. Olympic team, and even received death threats. Now legendary, this image is a powerful icon of African-American athletes’ struggle for equality.
This image comes from the historical archives of LIFE Magazine.
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