Sunday, September 18, 2016
The Night I Met John Carlos
Maybe someday the statue of John Carlos, Tommie Smith and Peter Norman will be regarded with the same reverence as the Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima. Not yet. Far from yet. But the arc of justice is bending. And, as Donald Trump and his followers gasp and flail, it bends a little more.
I was thinking about this as I noticed Dave Zirin's post that a statue of the "great salute" of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City was being installed in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Dave Zirin is a sportswriter (Nation magazine, Edge of Sports), humanitarian, activist and all round great guy. He covers the place where sports and social justice intersect. He's having more company now, wouldn't you say?
I met Dave at a book signing several years ago and we have stayed occasional email friends. I met him again with John Carlos by accident in a coffee shop in Evanston. They were speaking at Northwestern on their book tour for The John Carlos Story -- The Sports Moment that Changed the World.
I got to chat with both those champs that night. Very special indeed.
By the way, if your wondering about Peter Norman, he was the Aussie silver medalist who stood in solidarity with John Carlos and Tommie Smith. Dave says it was John Carlos who insisted Norman be included in the statue because "that's just the kind of guy John is."