Tommie Smith attends "Black Power" salute film premiere in London
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
July 11 - A film which documents the iconic "Black Power" salute at Mexico City 1968 has premiered here in the Regent Street Cinema at the University of Westminster with the legendary Tommie Smith in attendance.
After racing to gold in the men's 200 metres at those Olympics, Smith (pictured top, centre), alongside American bronze medal-winning team-mate John Carlos, raised a clenched fist clad in a black glove in what became a historic stand for human rights, liberation and solidarity.
The film, called Salute, is written, directed and produced by Matt Norman, the nephew of the Australian 200m silver medallist, Peter Norman, who shared the victory podium that day with Smith and Carlos.
It documents the series of events that led to the infamous salute and the surprisingly influential role of Norman, who actually suggested that Smith and Carlos wear a black glove on either hand when they only had one pair between them.
"I really enjoyed the film and it was great to see so many young people turn out to watch what happened all those years ago in Mexico City at the 1968 Olympics," said Smith (pictured below, seated), now aged 68.
"We did what we did because we felt it was something important to do for the good of humanity.
"We suffered a lot in the years afterwards for protesting on that stage but we did it because we believed it would help the black cause at the time – and I don't regret it at all.
"It is wonderful to now to see what the three of us did celebrated in this film."
The showing was followed by a question and answer session with Smith with the event held to coincide with the launch of the University's Olympics exhibition.
The latter highlights the role that the Regent Street Polytechnic, now the University of Westminster, played in organising the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the London 1908 and 1948 Olympics.
The exhibition is being held at the Regent Street Cinema at 309 Regent Street and will run until September 10, with admission free of charge.
May 2012: John Carlos - "Humanity is the blood and guts of the Olympics"
May 2012: Black Power salute sprinter John Carlos in UK for speaking tour