demonstration at the Olympics unified black and white athletes
The integration of college and professional sports in the U.S. went hand in hand with the Black assertiveness that began during World War II. And if the period 1960-62 is called the Civil Rights Era and the Second Reconstruction, those nomenclatures were most dramatically demonstrated in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, where John Carlos and Tommy Smith raised their black-gloved fists and bowed their heads solemnly while the U.S. national anthem was played during the medal ceremonies. The majority of the American public viewed extremely negatively this adamant, though brief, gesture, and these two men and others presumed to have been in conspiracy with them, suffered discrimination after the 1968 Olympics in the form of disproportionate difficulty finding good jobs. Nevertheless, Willie Whyte, five-time Black woman Olympic broad jumper, testified that their demonstration unified the athletes, both Black and white, into one team.
John C. Walter, interview, Chicago, September 8, 1995