Happy 72nd Birthday, John Carlos: Bronze Winner Who Saluted Black Power In 1968 Summer Olympics

26 Posted by - June 5, 2015 - Holidays And Birthdays, LATEST POSTS

John Carlos was born in Harlem, New York in 1945. After graduating from Machine Trade and Medal High School, he was awarded a full track and field scholarship to East Texas State University (ETSU). He attended ETSU for one year, single-handedly winning the schools first and only track and field Lone Star Conference Championship. After ETSU, he matriculated to San José State University. During his stay at San José State University, he participated in the 1968 Mexico Olympics and won the bronze medal in the 200 meters. During the victory ceremony, John and Tommy Smith raised a black gloved fist in protest against racism and economic depression for all opposed peoples.

This “Silent Protest” was voted as the sixth most memorable event of the century. Following the Mexico Olympics, John Carlos continued his education and athletic feats at San José State University where he single handily won the NCAA Track & Field National Championship in 1969. During his stay, he broke the world record in the hundred-yard dash. Concluding an illustrious career in track and field, John Carlos was drafted by the NFL. After a short career in the NFL, he entered the public sector, working for PUMA, the Olympics, and the City of Los Angeles. Presently, John Carlos is working as the Track & Field Coach, and an In-school Suspension Supervisor for Palm Springs High School in Palm Springs, California.
Source: John Carlos


  • John Quaye Quao July 3, 2016 - 4:03 pm

    Yesan unforgettable moment in Olympic history

    • Carole A Kronberg July 7, 2019 - 8:05 am

      Actually, John Carlos just turned 74. He was born in 1945. Still engaged in public affairs as of 5 months ago, he was invited speaker at the Wisconsin Track Coaches Association in February, 2019, per Wikipedia.

      • Keya Perinchief July 7, 2019 - 2:54 pm

        great legacy.thanks for your dedication…

        • James Jim Jim Jones July 11, 2019 - 11:12 am

          Happy Birthday Johnny it’s been a long time since Douglass J.H.S. 139. Hope to see you again up in the Jungle at one of the reunions. Peace.

          • Elizabeth Wafula August 26, 2019 - 11:43 pm

            Those salutes still so much needed so many years later. What a shame

          • Kathi Firns-Hubert December 6, 2019 - 1:01 am

            Happy Birthday! You had to be very brave to raise your had in 1968 (and I’m old enough to remember it). I’m sure you’ve had to put up with a lot crap over the years as well. While we have a long way to go to achieve true equality, we can solace in knowing how much things have changed then.

        • Tan August 8, 2019 - 2:44 pm

          This article is fro. 2015

          • Bonnie Marshall September 22, 2019 - 6:16 pm

            I have always thought his and the other two athletes who raised a fist and the Australian runner were denied their places in history by the biased Olympic Overseers was showing how obsolete the Olympics is . There is a tragic history of denying certain people are as human as anyone else. One has only to look at the treatment of runner Jesse Owens who supposedly embarrassed Hitler in the 1930’s event held in Berlin. Jesse Owens was not treated like the hero that he was. He had to do things like outrunning a racehorse to make money after his historic achievement due to being African American he was denied contracts to endorse products as so many have done so before and after the 1930’s. Think of Bruce Jenner who was an corporations ideal. He looked the part while Owens who was a far superior athlete got no endorsement deals. This in a country that denied Muhummad Ali the right to box in the US as punishment for acknowledging the persistence of racism and white supremacy in our nation. This was only the late sixties to the seventies. I remember not understanding why white people referred to him as u American and not being grateful. He worked and trained hard to be the great boxer who also won a gold medal at the Olympics but came home to face the same vicious racism in the US. Some things never change.

        • Ruby Shaw August 12, 2019 - 3:55 pm

          I will never forget how proud I was of the two of u for taking that stand
          . I still get goose bumps thinking about that day God bless you

      • Marge Daniel July 9, 2019 - 12:39 pm

        Your right, if he’s born t
        In 1945, he can’t just be turning 72., I was born in 1948 and I’m 71.

        • Dan Avdic Karlsson November 6, 2019 - 8:09 am

          I think the same. Sav it on tv 1968, 17 years old than. One of the things that changed my life for ever.

      • Pat walker August 6, 2019 - 7:34 pm

        Awesome…you helped make a big difference in the world…..keep up the good work

        • Saundra Truss October 26, 2019 - 8:49 am

          If born in 1945 he should be 74 or becoming 74 this year…I was born in 19.45..!

      • George Snead August 8, 2019 - 5:32 am

        My Brother, my Brother we can never stop the fight of exposing racism in America of people of color..✌?

        • Tan August 8, 2019 - 2:45 pm

          This article is fro. 2015

      • Gloria White Gardner August 9, 2019 - 12:11 am

        That’s about the right age. I was born June 13, 1940 and I’m 79.

      • Jerty Palmer August 13, 2019 - 7:17 pm

        A true champion..

    • Genard Hassell July 7, 2019 - 10:58 am

      A True Hero and inspiration to our PEOPLE

      • Jo Moore Yeargin July 8, 2019 - 6:37 pm

        I remember and shall not forget.

      • Joyce M. James July 11, 2019 - 5:20 am

        I pray thatvypur life. Continue to expand into a blessed and precious long life of happiness and greatness. God Bless his life. In Jesus Name Amen and Amen.

      • Joyce M. James July 11, 2019 - 5:24 am

        I pray thatyour life. Continue to expand into a blessed and precious long life of happiness and greatness. God Bless his life. In Jesus Name Amen and Amen.

    • fuck August 8, 2019 - 5:17 pm

      Everyone has forgotten that the Mexican government murdered several hundred students who were protesting the 1968 Olympics. Ten days before the Olympics began.

  • mohamed farah July 31, 2016 - 6:07 am

    we salute you too.

  • Barbara Johnson October 27, 2016 - 11:03 am

    I WAS THERE!!! I can still feel the excitment of it all. My Fist raised high, proudly wearing my “FRO”, eyes filled with pride, joy hope, all heartfilled TEARS. A life time memory. A Life time CONGRATULATIONS to you John Carlos and all 1969 Track and Field mates. Don’t forget Bob Beam. Much Love, bj Always

    • Carlos Kort July 7, 2019 - 8:29 pm

      John Carlos I admire you very much your Courage in those days to lay it down to the world and let them see and feel the unjustice blacks are undergoing in the USA was a strong statement. We have so much in coming.
      I’m writhing a book now about my music carreer that I spend during 45 years living and playing as a professional musician in Switzerland.
      A book to laugh and cry about is written in German , hope one day it will be translated into english to reach a bigger market. It would be a great honor to me to send you a copy one day. Nice that you are still around I was young then when you did your statement with that fist. But I still remember it like yesterday.
      My reaction was right on man. I was all the way with you aggree every step of the way with you

      • Mayer Randt December 7, 2019 - 11:49 am

        Nice words.
        Pls have your book translated. I love reading real life stories of people who went through tough times and still have made it. Take care. Mayer Randt from Curaçao, Dutch Antilles.

  • Jacgieline Gore July 6, 2019 - 12:32 pm

    Such Great History and a Great Leader, for our Young Black Youth in Track, and Field. I will always treasure his picture to show my children, and grandchildren,for he is History in our life today and alway.

    • Mark Bowers July 7, 2019 - 9:35 am

      Happy birthday my brother Triple quadriplec OG!

    • 1Nation September 23, 2019 - 6:47 pm

      Nothing much has changed since then. It has more or less remains the same if not worse ????

  • Thomas Greene July 6, 2019 - 4:34 pm

    I half to acknowledged the Australian who gave them the gloves to protest treatment of blacks in America. He was ostracised when he got home and die broke. Tommy John and John Carlos attend his funeral. And the struggle continue in 2019

    • Dee Jay J.J. July 7, 2019 - 1:50 am

      Yes Mr. Greene…..Correct…The Struggle Continues.

      • Billy Jones December 16, 2019 - 2:32 pm

        God bless the three of them.

    • Winslow August 11, 2019 - 5:17 pm

      Thomas Greene, the Australian Peter Norman did not give them the gloves, although his agreeing to protest with them cost him dearly. The gloves are a point of controversy, regarding where they came from.

  • J. Hendrix July 6, 2019 - 10:25 pm

    I remember watching the moment on television. Resonating in my soul and memory forever. Happy Blessed Birthday.

    • Jo Moore Yeargin July 8, 2019 - 6:37 pm

      I remember and shall not forget.

    • John Bender August 15, 2019 - 4:11 am

      Norman suggested them sharing the two gloves as I think Smith owned both gloves. Norman wore a pin on his lapel in support of them. He still owns the 200 meter Australian record from that race

  • Kazu Bernstein July 6, 2019 - 11:19 pm

    My heart soars when I see them on the podium with their arms stretch high and when I read anything of the 3 of them. I am so glad the story will go on for our youth to learn from this history!

  • Atiba July 6, 2019 - 11:25 pm

    Happy Birthday to John Carlos and thank you for your bravery and sacrifice you made to bring attention to the plight of Afrikan descent living in America.

  • Sam Louis Gisagara July 7, 2019 - 5:35 am

    Dear my brother Carlos;
    Ever since I saw your post at the Olympics in 1968, I have lived my life in the same spirit and aspirations you gave example of!
    Truth to tell we Black people are definitely superior to the white people whatever others may say!
    The white people scientific experience tell us they were created after us! And a such the white people are still evolving to reach our standards both physically and therefore intellectually.
    Many happy returns!

    • Leroy Hubbard July 7, 2019 - 7:45 pm

      I was sitting in front of TV and saw that race. I was in High school at the time. I was proud of the three guys with those Bold stands.
      I say happy Birthday to. Great man who is helping others.

    • Carolyn Kennard Shepherd July 13, 2019 - 2:59 pm

      I was a sophomore at PV at the time full of vim and vigor with much hope for the future. I had such pride in moments such as John Carlos and others gave us that day. That pride he helped instill in me and others came alive that day and has never diminished. Thanks and be blessed John Carlos with many more good years.

  • Stacey Johnson July 7, 2019 - 6:22 am

    Outstanding performance

  • Ken Filey July 7, 2019 - 9:58 am

    A prelude to Colin Keapernick. Right after Ali and just before Curt Flood!

  • Dwight Noel July 7, 2019 - 12:31 pm

    As a 15 year old kid living in Trinidad & Tobago, what John Carlos did brought in a new light to black awareness. which would lead up to the Black Power resurrection in 1970. Although I salute that great moment when he and Tommy Smith clinched their fists with black gloves on given to them by a white Australian, although it was his 72nd Earthday we celebrated Black Then, its now 2019,_hence the reason I mentioned the Australian athlete who gave them the gloves that made history for the rest of our NATURAL lives!

    Happy Earthday John Carlos!

    • Brian Threlkeld July 7, 2019 - 3:35 pm

      @ Dwight — The silver medalist, Peter Norman, did indeed support Smith and Carlos’s demonstration; he wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge, as did they. But he did not give them the gloves; they had brought the pair themselves.

      • Peter Murray July 9, 2019 - 3:54 am

        One of them had forgotten his gloves. That’s why one raised his right arm and the other the left. Peter Norman absolutely supported the protest and was treated like crap by the Australian apartheid sporting establishment. When John Carlos and Tommy Smith came to his funeral, they said that it was repaying the solidarity.

      • Winslow August 11, 2019 - 5:27 pm

        Brian Therlkeld, correct, Peter Norman did not give them the gloves. He wore the OPHR pin in support, but I believe it was Tommy Smith’s sister that actually bought the gloves and Tommy shared one with John Carlos.

  • Br'ee Coaxum July 7, 2019 - 1:40 pm

    Happy Birthday John Carlos !
    Your former classmate Brenda from elementary school P. S. 90 in Harlem .
    My twin brother Bobby and I were very proud of the stand that you took at the Olympics.
    You are an inspiration to us all, I’m glad to hear that you are doing well.

  • Margaret Dodson July 7, 2019 - 5:30 pm

    Happy birthday ?
    May God bless you with many more to see ?

  • Charlotte Gibson July 7, 2019 - 7:35 pm

    I am so happy to hear this story. It really inspires me even more. I’m happy most of all the people who knew him and stood w/him. Yet we have the same struggle. We are not allowed to protest even now w/o being banned whether it’s on athletic couet or fb. The biggest threat is aboriginal male and female unity to this day. Congats to both brothers and I’m glad there were others that knew the full story. The world is a small place. Bet he had to leave EtSU he wasn’t safe nowhere @ the time, it seems but SanJose State. Amazing. Thank u guys so much. We need more melienated men to stand up. I mean what can they do to us all and why not @ colleges and universities. Power to the people. I see he end up in the desert. What an irony.? Sick American racist. They get u oneway or another. Forever branded but the truth still came out!

  • Noel McKrieth July 7, 2019 - 8:57 pm

    Thank you John Carlos, Tommy Smith and I believe Peter Norman the Australian I was a young man in the UK when you did the unthinkable. You made us proud to protest at the terrible mistreatment of Black people and people of colour in the world we live. What a lot of people don’t know the Australian Peter Norman was treated like a leper a no body on his return to Australia the ugly face of white supremacist – racism had turned on one of their own. These three men stood for something they believed in they wanted a better world for all whether Black or White. We the people of the world should be grateful that because of their actions a light was shown to the injustices taking place inthe US and the world.

    • Hasie Ismaik July 8, 2019 - 1:54 pm

      Do you remember the name of the Australian athlete on the podium with them? Was it PETER NORMAN?

  • Annette Blue July 8, 2019 - 8:32 am

    Thank you John Carlos, Tommy Smith and Peter Norman the Australian for being GREAT MEN!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY John Carlos!!! I was twelve years old in 1968 when the three of you brought me GREAT JOY when you stood on the podium and raised your fists at the metal ceremony. You have always been my HEROES!!! May you all live to be centenarians in excellent health and surrounded by those that LOVE YOU!!! MAY GOD’S GRACE, LOVE and PEACE ALWAYS BE WITH YOU!!!
    My son Noah Blue (former high school hurdler) wishes JOHN CARLOS a MOST HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS!!!

  • Yes July 8, 2019 - 1:43 pm


  • Benjamin Johnson July 8, 2019 - 8:57 pm

    Thanks for the information

  • Henri Lathon July 9, 2019 - 9:50 am

    I will never forget watching this moment in history! I was Black and Proud!

  • steven palmore July 9, 2019 - 11:30 am

    I remember that day like it was yesterday. He sent an electronic shockwave through all of Black America. I participated in the 1972 cultural olympics with a young Americans group called_ up with people” I remember getting into an argument with a white trumpet player in the group who said that the salute was”_un American” . I told him that +everybody in America is not white! Happy birthday my brother

  • Hilmano van velzen July 9, 2019 - 3:57 pm


  • Jalani Bakari July 10, 2019 - 1:31 pm

    Spoke to him Last night! Positive and full of life. We cannot lose his HISTORY. We all need to keep his name and his memory of ACTION alive.. He should be speaking to our youth.Any time we can get him to communicate his message we should!

    • Lonnie D. Williams July 11, 2019 - 12:31 am

      What you did took courage and a lot of self respect. We salute you! Happy B/Day! Peace! Peace!

  • Portia Jenkins August 7, 2019 - 6:04 am

    John I watched those Olympic Games and love your strength. Without people like you, we would not be as far as we have come. Please keep up your great work and stay blessed with every day He has made. Nothing but love and admiration always. ❤️ P. Jenkins

  • Marcia Eleccion August 8, 2019 - 1:07 am

    Happy belated birthday John Lots if respect for you

  • Robert Matthews August 9, 2019 - 1:57 pm

    HBD much love and respect ✊? Power to the People ✊?

  • Larry Douglas August 9, 2019 - 10:46 pm

    I was raised in the Harlem RIVER Projects. I ran track for the Mustangs a local track team from the projects. The head coaches name was Chubby. We were all very young. We would run a relay race vs the older guys. The projects were built in a square with an entrance in the middle of it. Picture a cardboard box with an entrance straight across of each other. Maybe once a week we (young guys) would run a relay race vs the older guys. They would have a runner at each entrance (4 guy’s) & we (young) would use 8. 1 of the 4 was John Carlos. He was tall with long legs. Most of the time he ran anchor. Oddly
    enough, we (young Mustangs) had a pretty fas
    t club & sometimes found ourselves beating the bigs. That is until Johnny got the stuck. He would put those long legs to work & always started to close the gap. You could always hear him comming because he hummed. We (youngs) would pass the stick from 1of our anchors (2) to the next with Johnny shorting the lead. You coul hear him get closer cause of the humming. You could also see him fo past you with those long strides. As I think back on those times, I just smile. A chanch (atleast twice a week) to run against John Carlos. Now that’s something to look back on.

  • Robin Boyd August 12, 2019 - 12:48 am

    He was my dad’s childhood friend. A lifelong friendship til my dad’s transition. So many beautiful Harlem connections. As my dad’s 1st ancestral anniversary is approaching, this is a timely reminder to reach out to some ppl he loved & who loved him.

  • Traine Smith August 12, 2019 - 5:03 pm

    I knew about you I tried to tell everybody about you but they called me insane traine Smith it is about time that give you recognition blessings King Trailblazer happy birthday?????????????????‍♂️???‍♂️???‍♂️????‍♂️??‍♂️??‍♂️????‍♂️?

  • Paul Dickerson September 17, 2019 - 6:17 am

    Once a champion; always a champion! Happy birthday JC.

  • John Bland October 6, 2019 - 9:23 am

    Fellow San Jose State alum back in the day when we had brothers and sisters among the student body.

  • Andre October 13, 2019 - 2:34 pm

    Big brother . You ate ranked as one of the greatest men that Walker the face of the earth. Happy birthday and may God continue to bless you and keep you all the days of your life.

  • Charles R Overstreet December 1, 2019 - 12:16 pm

    Happy Birthday John. I thank God for allowing me to met you and work with at PSH. Have a Great Birthday.

  • Annette Hoggs Jackson December 5, 2019 - 4:15 pm


  • Delphna Shaw December 7, 2019 - 12:57 am

    Happy Birthday, continue to be blessed, proud of your moment, thank you for that! I was age 7 at the time but still proud that you made the sign!???

  • Robin Turner December 11, 2019 - 8:14 am

    As Che Guevarra said: Hasta la victoria siempre! – To the victory always.

    Robin Turner, Derby, UK

  • Abdoul December 12, 2019 - 7:20 am

    Merci pour la lutte! Votre action alimente encore le courage de beaucoup de gens chez nous!!!