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[American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos protesting racial inequity with raised fists during national anthem at Olympics, Mexico City]

Date 1968
Location Mexico City Mexico
Dimensions Image: 9 x 6 5/16 in. (22.9 x 16 cm)
Paper: 10 x 8 1/8 in. (25.4 x 20.6 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection
Section: Self-presentation
A photographer for Life magazine, John Dominis was sent on assignment to document the Olympic Games of 1968 in Mexico City. There he produced one of the most iconic photographs capturing the struggles of the civil rights movement. On October 16, 1968, American sprinters Tommie Smith (b. 1944) and John Carlos (b. 1945) won gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the two-hundred-meter sprint. As the national anthem started to play, they raised their black-gloved fists in the air. The gloves represented America, and their feet in black socks, without shoes, referred to the poverty of many African Americans. The scarf around Smith’s neck and a necklace around Carlos’s symbolized the lynchings of African Americans. Smith and Carlos were sent home from the event and ostracized upon return.

Credit line

The LIFE Magazine Collection, 2005

Feedback Accession No. 1012.2005