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Activist and Olympic standout to commemorate MLK Day at ONU

Jan 4, 2012

To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Ohio Northern University, Dr. John Carlos, civil rights activist and former Olympic standout, will speak in ONU’s English Chapel on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m.

This event, sponsored by the ONU Cultural and Special Events Committee and the Office of Multicultural Development, is free and open to the public.

Carlos made world history during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico, when he took to the international stage during the medal ceremony and made a speechless statement heard and seen worldwide. After finishing third in the 200-meter, Carlos accepted the bronze medal at the Olympic podium wearing black socks and no shoes, to represent impoverished people who had no shoes of their own, raising a black-gloved fist, and bowing his head to humbly reflect the strength of the human spirit. 

Contrary to reports, Carlos was not stripped of his medal. Carlos drew upon the founding principles of all athletes, perseverance and personal strength, moving forward through his career and in his pursuit to make a difference for the future of all people. Carlos went on to play in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League and work with Puma, the United States Olympic Committee, the Organizing Committee of the 1984 Summer Olympics, and the city of Los Angeles. Since 1985, Carlos has been a counselor, an in-school suspension supervisor, and the track and field coach at Palm Springs High School in California.

Continuing his lifelong mission to improve human rights conditions and to increase chances for the successes of our youth, Carlos is actively involved with global and community movements. In April 2008, he once again took to the international stage as a torchbearer for the Human Rights Torch, which ran in parallel to the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay to focus attention on China’s human rights record. In July of the same year, Carlos accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2008 Espy Awards.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at ONU on Jan. 11, 1968, in one of his final appearances on a college campus before being assassinated in April later that year.

   

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