African American athletes have made a significant impact in breaking racial barriers. From emancipation to black codes to Jim Crow to civil rights movement, Black athletes have played a role in obtaining racial equality. This exhibit honors:
- Jack Johnson the first Black heavy weight boxing champion in 1908 who rebelled against Jim Crow laws.
- Jesse Owens shattered Olympic records in 1936 and disproved Hitler’s idea of Aryan athletes.
- Muhammed Ali who resisted the draft in 1967 to protest the Vietnam War
- Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fisted black glove in 1968 to protest racial injustice and proclaiming Black Power
Guest of Honor Tommie Smith, PhD | Olympian | Activist
Tommie Smith is best known as a world-class sprinter and for protesting (along with John Carlos) U.S. racism and human oppression on the winner’s podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Smith was born in Clarksville, Texas, and raised in Lemoore, California. His family worked as field laborers. In 1963, Smith became a student-athlete at San Jose State University (SJS) to escape picking cotton and grapes for a living.
Guest Speaker Joe DeLoach - Olympian | Motivational Speaker | Success Coach
“Winning is conceived at the moment in time that you believe that you can win!”
Joe DeLoach was born in the small town of Bay City Texas into a family with 11 sisters and one brother where he enjoyed running at a very young age. After winning several state and national championships in high school, DeLoach accepted a track scholarship and attended the University of Houston where he trained with Carl Lewis.