On Wednesday, February 21, iconic Olympic bronze medalist John Carlos will speak and share insights from his book, The John Carlos Story, during the “Athletes & Sports Figures in Black History” event from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm at Medgar Evers College, Academic Building I – 1638 Bedford Ave., (EOJ auditorium) Brooklyn, NY 11225.
Carlos and his US National Track & Field teammate Tommie Smith famously gave the black power salute during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico protesting the injustices faced by African-Americans in the United States. The protest idea came from Smith’s friend, San Jose State University Sociology professor Harry Edwards, who had created the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) which called on Black American athletes to boycott the games. While the boycott never materialized the stage was set for Carlos’ and Smith’s political action. As the American national anthem played, with bowed heads, eyes shut and black gloved fists raised; the two athletes united in a silent affirmation of Black pride and solidarity unaware of the firestorm to follow. They were suspended from the U.S. track team, received death threats and would later struggle to find employment after college.
Despite these hardships John Carlos was later drafted into the NFL and played a season with the Philadelphia Eagles before playing with the Canadian Football league. His teammate Smith, became the Athletic Director and a professor of sports sociology at Oberlin College. Both men were awarded honorary doctorates in humane letters by San Jose State in 2005.
Athletics at Medgar Evers College
Our Department of Athletics & Intramurals features 13 Cougar varsity teams and a cheerleading squad. Our scholar-athletes have given us much to cheer about: Nicholas Parbudhial was selected as a qualifying player by the Guyana Football Federation for its Under-20 FIFA Soccer League; cheerleader Carlina Ramirez had a starring role in a Disney on Ice tour; in a decisive 3-1 win the College won its first City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) Women’s Soccer Championship and the Cougar Men’s Basketball team took home the 2011 CUNYAC championship trophy and went on to make their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
Medgar Evers College was founded in 1970 through the efforts from educators and community leaders in central Brooklyn. The College is named after Medgar Wiley Evers, a Mississippi-born black civil rights activist who was assassinated on June 12, 1963. The College is divided into four schools: The School of Business; The School of Professional and Community Development; The School of Liberal Arts and Education; and The School of Science, Health, and Technology. Through these Schools, the College offers 29 associate and baccalaureate degree programs, as well as certificate programs in fields such as English, Nursing, and Accounting. Medgar Evers College also operates several co-curricular and external programs and associated centers such as the Male Development and Empowerment Center, the Center for Women’s Development, the Center for Black Literature, and The DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy.