Picture of Tommie Smith on the gold medal platform, John Carlos on the bronze raising their fists in salute at 1968 Mexico City Olympics. For many, Tommie Smithâ€™s and John Carlosâ€™s protest was their first introduction to “Black Power” and the clenched fist, raised arm Black Power salute. Media editors denounced them as unpatriotic, and un-American yet Smith thought that was the point saying, “If I win I am an American, not a black American. But if I did something bad then they would say ‘a Negro’. We are black and we are proud of being black.”
Smith and Carlos each wore a black glove on opposite hands, and Smithâ€™s raised right fist represented Black Power, while Carlos raised left fist represented Black Unity. Together, the raised black, gloved fists formed an arch of Unity and Power. Along with the gloves, the men wore black socks with no shoes to protest black poverty.
Having such an elaborate statement many people assumed that Carlos and Smith were close, yet they barely talked before and after the protest. They only worked out their statement during the two-hour wait for the medal ceremony.