John Carlos in Stratford talks about his black power salute

He became famous, some say notorious, for making a political statement in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Now, on the eve of this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games John Carlos is on a two-week speaking tour of the UK.

As part of the tour John will be at Stratford Picture House on May 29 for an event called In Conversation With John Carlos. He will describe the personal and political reasons why he took the decision to raise his clenched gloved fist and explain how over the last 44 years that one gesture has radically altered his personal and professional life.

His political demonstration at the 1968 Mexico Olympics has become one of the world’s most instantly recognisable and iconic images of all time.

John Carlos and Tommy Smith’s black-gloved salute on the winner’s podium 44 years ago brought worldwide attention to racial segregation and inequality in the USA.

John said: “Coming to the UK on the eve of the Olympics is a very exciting opportunity for me to talk with the new generation about why we did what we did back in 1968. When Tommie Smith and I raised our fists on that medal platform at the Olympics, we knew that we would catch hell but we didn’t care. We didn’t care because we wanted the coming generations to live and breathe as full citizens with equal rights. I was just concerned with right and wrong. We went out there for humanity. We are here 43 years later because the fight is still to be won.”

Joining John Carlos on his speaking tour will be the award winning writer Dave Zirin, who recently co-authored a biography of John Carlos The John Carlos Story.

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Dave Zirin said: “I know of no other athlete whose story is as compelling as John Carlos’s life. From growing up in Harlem in post war Harlem to his iconic act of political defiance in Mexico through to the personal and political fight he has endured for the last 44 years since his noble act of defiance. I have not met anyone who has not listened to the compelling story of John Carlos, spoken in his own words and not been moved and excited at the same time.”

To book tickets online, call the Box Office on 0871 902 5740.