Most people have seen this 1968 photo of U.S. Olympic athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos holding up their fists in an epic Black Power protest, but what about the other man in the photo?
That man, Australian athlete Peter Norman, actually played a key role in making this moment happen, and Twitter user Khaya Dlanga recently gave us all a history lesson about Norman's story.
Many of us know this famous picture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos. But few know the bravery and tragedy of the wh… https://t.co/S0n3983ddL— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064025.0
Apparently, Norman, who came in second in the 200 meters, supplied Smith and Carlos with the black gloves the two men wore:
When he found out that Smith and Carlos were going to protest for equality, justice, he gave them the black gloves they wore.— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064130.0
As you can see from the photo it's a single pair.— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064153.0
Norman is still the Australian record holder for the 200 meters:
Peter Norman was Australian and his time at the Olympics was so fast that it's still the national record back in Australia.— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064184.0
While Norman isn't seen raising his fist, he did wear a badge on his uniform that read, "Olympic Project for Human Rights."
While Smith and Carlos faced a lifetime ban from the Olympics for engaging in the protest, they were treated as heroes by the black community upon arriving back in the United States.
Norman, however, wasn't so lucky:
Meanwhile in Australia he was treated as an outsider. He couldn't find work and eventually got a job as a gym teacher in a school.— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064351.0
John Carlos said, "If we were getting beat up, Peter was fighting an entire country and suffering alone."— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064454.0
But Norman refused to back down. He wasn't selected for the 1972 Olympics, and even when Australia hosted the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Norman wasn't invited to participate.
He would have been pardoned and been part of the organizing committee of the 2000 Australian Olympic Games. He refused.— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064546.0
The consequences were that he was not allowed to march as part of the Australian team in 2000 either.— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064579.0
As a result, the U.S. Olympic Committee made arrangements for Norman to be a part of the U.S. delegation.
"At the Sydney Olympics he wasn't invited in any capacity," his nephew, Matthew Norman, told CNN. "There was no outcry. He was the greatest Olympic sprinter in our history."
In 2005, a statue was created with Smith and Carlos in their iconic poses on the campus of San Jose State University. At his request, Norman's position was intentionally left empty, allowing people to pose in solidarity.
@khayadlanga Wow https://t.co/T5oVaDhtjq— Tasneem (@Tasneem) 1508104330.0
Matthew Norman made a 2008 documentary entitled "Salute!" which broke box office records in Australia when it was released, with many hearing Peter Norman's incredible story for the first time.
But Norman wouldn't live to see it, dying of a heart attack in 2006.
In 2006, he died without much. Smith and Carlos attended his funeral and were pallbearers.— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064615.0
@khayadlanga Both were pallbearers at his Pete Norman’s funeral. https://t.co/xxfWUXCNeA— Proud SJW & Independent (@Proud SJW & Independent) 1508261873.0
Finally, in 2012, Australia issued an official apology to Norman.
"(3) apologises to Peter Norman for the wrong done by Australia in failing to send him to the 1972 Olympics, despite repeatedly qualifying;— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064723.0
(4) belatedly recognises the powerful role that Peter Norman played in furthering racial equality."— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064770.0
So let's salute Norman for standing up for what he believed was right, even in the face of enormous opposition:
Some heroes are never recognised. But he was not about recognition, he simply stood for what was right.— Khaya Dlanga (@Khaya Dlanga) 1508064877.0
@theCarrieNugent @KaofelaZA @THATbianca1 @tazekins @khayadlanga I sobbed & sputtered. We always concentrated on the… https://t.co/Tztp8EFMG4— SJ Wrandt-Minne (@SJ Wrandt-Minne) 1508287198.0
@BadToss @theCarrieNugent @KaofelaZA @THATbianca1 @tazekins @khayadlanga Australia was/is a racist country. Very St… https://t.co/J9J4MJ1JL5— SJ Wrandt-Minne (@SJ Wrandt-Minne) 1508291894.0
@khayadlanga Respects Peter Norman The RECORD SHOULD REMAIN YOURS SOLDIER👊🏿— Ghettoqueen (@Ghettoqueen) 1508286653.0
@khayadlanga This thread made me cry. There is hope for humanity inside people like this. ✊️— Jessica Chasteen 🌹 (@Jessica Chasteen 🌹) 1508326277.0
Saluting Peter Norman and all such allies. Very moving. https://t.co/x2PcCXFmg2— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1508261292.0
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