Macrohack: The 1968 Olympic symbol of Black Power


One of the most iconic images ever taken to describe America as a whole would have to be the one taken during the 1968 Olympics when the winners of the 200 meter race were being awarded their medals. In the 1968 Summer Olympics, Tommie Smith and John Carlos were two people of color athletes who were competing for the United States in the 200 meter race. Their honorary display of solidarity was photographed and grew to become one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. I was able to download the image in .jpeg format from The website is a well known global news source that is most famous for their disclosure on the Edward Snowden story. This photograph was particularly found in an article about the life of one John Carlos after the Olympics. The iconic photo itself was taken by a man named John Diminis who was a photographer for Life magazine at the time of his capture.  Probably the most important aspect about this image was what it stood for. This image was a sign for solidarity within the black community. A famous quote that can summarize the photograph is by Tommie Smith. He said, “If I win, I am American, not a black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I’m a Negro. We are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.” Because of this photograph and this sign of solidarity for the black community, they became poster boys for civil rights activism in the United States. I saw the image a few times around the internet and I picked the one that was clear and somewhat less grainy than the others. I’m assuming it was scanned at some point from the Life magazine that it was originally published in, but it appears to be in good condition. The file size of the image is 19.2 KB which is really small for a jpeg file. This may be because the pixel count and quality isn’t as clear as it could be. Personally, I see this image as being timeless. It still appears in many modern day reports and recaps of the past century. It will not deteriorate in importance for as long as we’re around. It is also really easy to find, I personally Googled “black power Olympic picture” and it came up with millions of results, all showing the same thing. The interest that arose from a textbook that we were assigned this semester was the perfect inspiration necessary for this microhack and even though our class wasn’t able to cover the book in detail, at least I’ll know who and what the picture on the cover stands for. Black power was a huge cultural aspect of the late 1900’s and it continues on in many forms in present day America. This image and many others that display the power of unity will be timeless and their meaning will carry on to multiple generations down the road.

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