WUNC Display

Tommie Smith and John Carlos performing the Power to the People Salute at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

Arguably inspired by Harry Edwards’ Olympic Project for Human Rights which asked black athletes to boycott the Olympic games during the height of the civil rights movement in America, these two athletes bowed their heads and threw up the traditional Power to the People salute during the Star-Spangled Banner which traditionally plays during the awarding of medals.

While this may not be a “large” WUNC Display (A display of Worthiness, Unity, Numbers, and Commitment) it was definitely a powerful one and I think it meets all the components. Let’s break it down:

Worthiness: I believe that because these are Olympic Athletes, they have earned their worthiness simply by being on that pedestal. They are instantly legitimized and that makes their statement powerful.

Unity and Numbers: Both men were wearing no shoes and black socks, showing solidarity with poverty on the continent of Africa. There were two men, making it a much more powerful statement than would be if it was a sole protester.

Commitment: Ignoring the repercussions that could be associated with using the Olympic games to make a controversial statement, these two men definitely showed their commitment to their cause.

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