Raising a Fist to
Taking a Knee

Athlete activism matters.

Raising a Fist to Taking a Knee


Join Global Sport Institute, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, for Raising a Fist to Taking a Knee, a 50th anniversary commemoration and conversation about the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and the influence of athlete activism then and now.

History is repeating itself through athlete activism. Fifty years after John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their black-gloved fists during the national anthem at the Mexico City Olympics, athlete activism is again one of the most relevant – and controversial – political topics in the United States.

The Global Sport Institute and the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Arizona State University will host an event tracing a timeline of athlete activism in the U.S. with an emphasis on the iconic moment atop the Olympic podium in 1968.

Dr. Harry Edwards and Gina Hemphill-Strachan, Jesse Owens’ granddaughter and ASU alum, will offer perspective on pre-1968 social issues and how athlete activism addressed them.

John Carlos and Wyomia Tyus, who won her second consecutive 100-meter Olympic gold medal in Mexico City, will bring their medal-winning moments to life and provide insight to athlete activist experiences at the time.

Lance Wyman, graphic designer for the 1968 Olympics, will discuss the role his art played alongside the activism and the importance of compelling imagery, such as the photo of Carlos and Smith raising their fists, for driving social conversations and perceptions.

Paul Hoffman, 1968 Olympic rower and outspoken ally to Black athletes in 1968, will add fascinating stories about his interactions with the USOC that closely resemble current rhetoric about athlete activism and bring the program into a discussion about the role of athletes in society in 1968 and 2018.

Raising a fist or taking a knee, athlete activism matters.


Individual registrations need to be completed for each person attending.

The same email and contact can be used for multiple registrations, but we request the name of each person attending. Those with duplicate registrations will be contacted.

The registration form can be accessed below, or through Eventbrite.

If you have any questions, please email Global Sport Institute at globalsportevents@asu.edu.



Harry Edwards

Harry Edwards, speaker at Raising A Fist to Bending a Knee
Harry Edwards was born in St. Louis but grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. After an outstanding career at East St. Louis High, he graduated in 1960 and was awarded an athletic scholarship to San Jose State University from which he graduated in 1964 with high honors. He subsequently was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a University Fellowship to Cornell University where he completed a M.A. and a Ph.D. in sociology. Read more

John Carlos

John Carlos speaker at Raising A Fist to Bending a Knee
John Carlos is a medaled USA Track and Field Hall of Fame athlete and Olympian. Competing in the 200 meters, Carlos earned the Gold in the 1967 Pan American Games, and the Bronze in the 1968 Olympics. A record setter, Dr. Carlos led San Jose State to its first NCAA championship in 1969 with victories in the 100 and 220, and as a member of the 4x110-yard relay. Read more

Wyomia Tyus

Wyomia Tyus

Wyomia Tyus was born and raised in Griffin, Georgia. She attended Tennessee State University in Nashville and ran under the tutelage of visionary coach Ed Temple as a member of the Tigerbelles until she graduated in 1968.

Read more

Lance Wyman

Lance Wyman, speaker
Lance Wyman is a graphic designer specializing in branding and information systems for cities, events, institutions, transit systems, and corporations. Over the past five decades, he has helped to define the field of environmental graphics. His graphic design for the 1968 Mexico Olympics identity is widely celebrated as a pinnacle of environmental and branding design. Read more

Gina Hemphill-Strachan

Gina Hemphill-Strachan

Gina Hemphill-Strachan is a Chicago native and media industry veteran who has built a career and reputation as one of the top talent producers in sports and entertainment.

Read more

Paul Hoffman

Paul Hoffman, speaker at Raising A Fist to Bending a Knee.
Paul Hoffman grew up on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. He began coxing crew at Phillips Academy, Andover and just kept at it, next at Bryanston School in England, and then at Harvard as a member of the Class of 1968. Paul coxed the First Freshmen and then the Varsity Heavyweight crews during his four years at Harvard and those crews never lost in collegiate competition. Read more


Directions and Parking

Raising a Fist to Taking a Knee will be held at the Phoenix Art Museum:

1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ


Parking in the museum lots will be limited. Please refer to the parking map (pdf).

Public Transportation

The nearest light rail station is Central Avenue and McDowell Road, just south of the museum. Visit Valley Metro for lightrail and bus schedules.

Taking the Fist to Taking the Knee logo
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 6:30 p.m.

Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ

Program Schedule: 
5:30 p.m.Attendee check-in begins
6:30 p.m.Program begins
8:45 p.m.Reception begins

All events:
To view all Global Sport Institute events, please visit the Events webpage.