Campus: San José State University -- April 13, 2005
San José State University to Honor Olympic Civil Rights
At sculpture groundbreaking ceremony
On Friday, May 27, San Josť State University will take another step in honoring
1968 Olympic medal winners, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, by holding a groundbreaking
ceremony for the sculpture, which will commemorate their silent protest in support
of civil rights. The ceremony begins at noon on the Tower Hall lawn in the center
of campus. The athletes will also receive honorary doctorates at the university's
148th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 28.
Smith and Carlos gained international attention at the Olympics when they raised
gloved fists on the victory stand as symbols of black power and unity. Viewed as
an unpopular action at the time, the pair are now regarded as important contributors
to the American civil rights movement.
In 2002, the Associated Students of SJSU spearheaded the "Commemorating A Legacy"
campaign to honor the athletes and raise donations for the sculpture. Alfonso De
Alba, director of Associated Students, says, "The action by Tommie Smith and John
Carlos, thirty-seven years ago, has inspired students today to safeguard and
promote human rights with non-violent actions."
Smith and Carlos will attend the groundbreaking along with university President
Don W. Kassing, city officials and community representatives.
Smith earned his degree from SJSU in sociology and physical education and is
currently a faculty member and coach at Santa Monica College. Carlos attended
SJSU and is the track and field coach and school suspension supervisor at Palm
Springs High School.
Both Smith and Carlos will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, conferred
by California State University and San Josť State, at the university's Commencement
ceremony on Saturday, May 28, at 9:30 a.m. at Spartan Stadium (Seventh and Alma
Contact: Nancy L. Stake at 408-924-1166