Using performance and cultural study lenses, this dissertation employs a case study methodology to explore how embodied Black male political voice was used during the 1968 Summer Olympic medal stand protest in Mexico City, Mexico. Creative moral protest is a "hallmark of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience" The art of moral protest, (Jasper, 1997). By the late 1960s, several innovative expressions of political activism, involving Black men, had been set forth in the United States. However, on October 16, 1968 in Mexico City, the world witnessed one of history's most memorable and iconic protests. Using a brazen and unprecedented style, two Black US college athletes expanded socio/economic discourse relating to Black Americans. Epitomizing innovation in moral protest and cultural representation, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, with raised Black-gloved fists, furthered international awareness to the struggle for equal rights in America. Collectively, the track stars fashioned an unprecedented cultural discourse using imagery and symbolism as their political voice during the 1968 Olympic medal stand awards ceremony.
Grappling with political forces of White supremacy and institutional racism, the two Olympians combined social aptitude with academic and political consciousness. In doing so, the San Jose State University students used a visual protest language that aided in how the world defined politically conscious Black masculinity. Their display during the 1968 Summer Olympic medal stand ceremony helped to introduce many to the disenfranchised voice of Black America, still echoing against the backdrop of the ideology of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Following the deaths of King and Malcolm X. The two Olympians sought to expand upon the successful use of symbolic boycotts and protest marches to challenge an American meta-narrative about Black citizenship and identity. Black males, in particular, were involved in highly visible groups such as: The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and, SNCC. The two met Professor Harry Edwards, leader of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), while students at San Jose State University. They later joined OPHR. According to Edwards, author of the book The Struggle That Must Be, (Edwards, 1980), an Olympic boycott protest was intended to "set forth the imagery of intelligent Black men who were socially conscious" (Edwards, 1980,p.28).
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African American Studies, Black history, Political science, Sociology|
|Keywords:||Athletics, Black men, Male, Political, Protest, Sports, Summer Olympics|
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