Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith

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Temple University Press, Aug 13, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages

n 1968, Tommie Smith and his teammate John Carlos won the gold and silver medals, respectively, for the 200 meter dash. Receiving their medals on the dais, they raised their fists and froze a moment in time that will forever be remembered as a powerful day of protest. In this, his autobiography, Smith tells the story of that moment, and of his life before and after it, to explain what that moment meant to him.

In Silent Gesture, Smith recounts his life before and after the 1968 Olympics: his life-long commitment to athletics, education, and human rights. He dispels some of the myths surrounding his and Carlos' act on the dais -- contrary to legend, Smith wasn't a member of the Black Panthers, but a member of the US Olympic Project for Human Rights -- and describes in detail the planning and risks involved in his protest. Smith also details his many years after Mexico City of devotion to human rights, athletics, and education. A unique resource for anyone concerned with international sports, history, and the African American experience, Silent Gesture contributes a complete picture of one of the most famous moments in sports history, and of a man whose actions always matched his words.


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Silent Gesture: autobiography for Tommie Smith

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Although this book, written with the help ofBaltimore Sun columnist Steele, may go down as an important entry in the history of track and field and African American studies, it is not without its ... Read full review


1 Welcome Home
2 October 16 1968
3 Out of the Fields
4 The Biggest City I Had Ever Seen
5 Run Before You Walk
6 The Coach and the Professor
Photographs follow page 134
7 Linked Forever
9 Paying the Price
10 Going Underground
11 Families Lost and Found
12 It Will Outlive Me
EPILOGUE Silent and Eternal

8 No Gold No Glove

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About the author (2008)

Dr. Tommie Smith is the only man in track and field history to hold eleven world records simultaneously, and the first man in Olympic Game history to win a gold medal in record-breaking time in the 200-meter, under 20 seconds. He has been an educator, and track and field coach for 40 years.

David Steele is a sports columnist for The Baltimore Sun.