John Carlos, Oral History
This is a video recording of an oral history interview with Dr. John Carlos. It was conducted on November 11, 2007, on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus. The interviewer is Dr. Shannon Carter.
In this interview, John Carlos discusses his time as a member of the track team at East Texas State University, the nature of social justice movements, and contemporary protests such as Occupy Wall Street.
John Carlos was recruited to the East Texas State University (ETSU) track team in 1965. Carlos recalls arriving in Texas and first noticing the segregated restrooms and the difference in condition for each. The relationship between John Carlos and his coach Delmer Brown was contentious, and the two often clashed. Although Carlos considered leaving the school, his friend Terry Barnett convinced him to stay, because he knew they had a chance to win the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics track championship, which they did.
During his time at ETSU, Carlos heard talk of a protest from Black athletes to boycott the 1968 Summer Olympics. Although the protest ultimately did not happen, and Carlos himself competed in the games, Carlos’s interest in the protest earned him a meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ten days later, MLK was assassinated.
In this interview, Carlos reminds listeners that his whole life is not defined by a single moment protesting social injustice on the medal stands of the 1968 Summer Olympics. He has continued his involvement in social justice movements, such as speaking at Occupy Wall Street.
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Special Collections and University Archives
Carlos, John and Carter, Shannon, "John Carlos, Oral History" (2007-11-11). All Oral Histories. 7.
Oral histories; Olympics; Track and field athletes; East Texas State University; Occupy Wall Street (Movement); King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968;
Mexico City; protests; social justice; Brown, Delmer; ETSU; Texas A&M University-Commerce; TAMUC; MLK