50th Anniversary of the Defining Moment in Sports Social Activism: The Voices of 1968 Head to San Jose State University for Historic Town Hall

SJSU Media Relations:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu
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SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos, fellow 1968 U.S. Olympic Team members, sports sociologist and SJSU alumnus Dr. Harry Edwards, and additional athletes, scholars and activists will serve as panelists at “Words to Action: Landmarks and Legacy of Athlete Activism.” The town hall will be held 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., October 17, at the Event Center at SJSU.

Enrolled students with ID can claim one ticket at no cost at the Event Center box office beginning Sept. 13. Faculty and staff members with ID may obtain two tickets at $10 each at the box office. All others may purchase tickets online or at the box office.

Members of the media should RSVP immediately. Professional video and photography will be available to the news media upon request. The event will be streamed live on the Institute website.

Long misunderstood and linked forever by their memorable stand for human rights on October 16, 1968, at the Mexico City Olympics, Smith and Carlos will appear with the following luminaries, connected in history and purpose.


Panel 1: “Voices of 1968”

John Carlos, ’05 Honorary Doctorate

1968 Olympics bronze medalist, 200 meters, track and field.

Spencer Haywood

1968 Olympic gold medalist in basketball who witnessed the expulsion of Smith and Carlos from the Olympic Village. Youngest recipient of the NBA’s MVP award after his lawsuit paved the way for underclassmen to play in the NBA.

Paul Hoffman and Cleve Livingston

Members of the 1968 and 1972 Olympic rowing teams and 1972 silver medalists. As Harvard University crew team members, expressed vocal solidarity with the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Hoffman gave Australian 200-meter silver medalist Peter Norman the OPHR badge that Norman wore on the medal podium.

Tommie Smith, ’69 Social Science, ’05 Honorary Doctorate

1968 Olympics gold medalist, 200 meters, track and field.

Wyomia Tyus

1968 Olympics track and field team member who dedicated her gold medal from the 4×100 relay to Smith and Carlos.

Dr. Jules Boykoff (moderator)

Former professional soccer player, Pacific University professor of politics and government, author of Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games.


“The Power of Protest: A Conversation with Dr. Harry Edwards” 

Dr. Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate

World-renowned sports sociologist, author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete, and a founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and the SJSU Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change.

Kenneth Shropshire

CEO of the Arizona State University Global Sport Institute and former University of Pennsylvania professor, attorney and author whose books include In Black and White: Race and Sports in America.


Panel 2: “Perspectives on Athlete Activism”

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

Former Denver Nuggets guard who was suspended by the NBA in 1996 for refusing to stand during the national anthem.

Nate Boyer

Former U.S. Army Green Beret and Seattle Seahawks long snapper who suggested former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneel rather than sit during the national anthem.

Howard Bryant

ESPN and National Public Radio sports reporter, author of Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston.

Bill Rhoden

Former award-winning sports columnist for The New York Times, author of Forty Million Dollar Slaves, writer-at-large for ESPN’s The Undefeated.

Toni Smith-Thompson

New York Civil Liberties Union organizer; former Manhattanville College basketball player who sparked outrage in 2003 when she refused to face the flag during the national anthem.

Dr. Damion Thomas

Curator of sports at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, consultant for the Smithsonian Channel documentary Major League Legends.

Dr. C. Keith Harrison (moderator)

Former West Texas A&M football player, University of Central Florida associate professor of sports business management, consultant on diversity and inclusion issues.

One of Many Campus Events

The SJSU Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change is sponsoring the town hall, one of a series of campus events commemorating the 50th anniversary of Smith and Carlos’ historic stand.

All events will be held on the grounds of San Jose State, home to the iconic 23-foot sculpture, “Victory Salute,” memorializing the sprinters. The Associated Students of SJSU commissioned the piece, which was unveiled in October 2005, the 37th anniversary of the 1968 Olympics.



About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

2018-09-11T18:40:22+00:00September 10, 2018|