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Tue, 06.05.1945

John Carlos, Track Sprinter, and Activist born

John Carlos

*On this date in 1945, John Carlos was born.  He is a retired Afro Cuban American track and field and football athlete/player and is an author.  

Born in Harlem, New York, to Cuban parents, John Wesley Carlos was a gifted high school athlete and outstanding student studying at East Texas State University on a full track-and-field scholarship. His victories in the 100- and 200-meter dash and as a member of the 4×400-meter relay helped lead ETSU to the 1967 Lone Star Conference Championship. After his first year, Carlos enrolled at San Jose State University, where he was trained by future National Track & Field Hall of Fame coach Lloyd (Bud) Winter.  

In 1968, he was a sprinter representing the United States in the 1968 Summer Olympics held in Mexico City, Mexico, from October 12 to the 27th.  These were the first Olympic Games to be staged in Latin America and the first to be staged in a Spanish-speaking country. They were also the first Games to use an all-weather (smooth) track for track and field events instead of the traditional cinder track.  

He won a bronze medal in the 200-meter race. During the awards ceremony, he protested racism in America with teammate Tommie Smith with a raised Black Glove clenched fist.  Carlos was awarded an honorary doctorate from California State University in 2008.

He is the author, with sportswriter Dave Zirin, of The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World, published in 2011.  In 2012, he was awarded honorary doctorates from his alma maters Texas A&M University-Commerce (formerly East Texas State University) and San Jose State University.  On October 10, 2011, Carlos spoke and raised his fist at Occupy Wall Street. He said: "Today I am here for you. Why? Because I am you. We're here forty-three years later because there's a fight still to be won. This day is not for us but for our children to come." The following day he appeared on MSNBC. In July 2018, Carlos attended the Socialism 2018 conference hosted by the International Socialist Organization.  


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