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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

Re: Remembering the Berlin Olympics and Beyond

Family,

Please critique! I'm trying to improve my writing.
~~~~~
Tommie Smith

I remember the 1968 Summer Olympics because of Tommie Smith. He ran the
200 meters, his college number was 22, and he was my track and field
hero. My high school coaches nicknamed me "22". My bedroom wall, school books and locker were covered with his pictures. When he broke the world record for the 200 meters, the same race that I trained for, there wasn't a more proud Black kid for miles.

Then Tommie Smith took the winner's stand. Head down, black gloved fist
raised high; in that moment, he changed my reality. For the first time,
I understood what it really meant to be Black and proud. I learned that it took courage. Tommie Smith publicly reminded the world that in the midst of Olympic celebration, our people continue to struggle and suffer. More than Malcom X or Martin Luther King, Jr., Tommie Smith was the catalyst for bringing the Civil Rights Movement into my daily thinking; including during athletics.

My coaches thought Tommie Smith's actions were inappropriate and immature. They were not going to allow that kind of behavior in their program. They forced me to make a decision; athletics or academics. I was a mediocre athlete so the choice was easy.

Looking at that famous photograph of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the other African-American medalist, thirty-two years later, I see more than a moment in history. I see the anguish of the Ancestors of hundreds of years ago. Two African-American men are using a world stage to strike a pose; similar to so many pictures of slave auction blocks and lynchings.
~~~~~~~~~

Peace
"Guided by the Ancestors"


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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