Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Mexico Olympics 1968

Before the olympics there were rumors that Black Americans would organise a boycott of the games. Professor Harry Edwards of UCLA was the one organising the boycott. I received a letter from a Black South African, who was at UCLA, questioning San-Roc's campaign for the inclusion of Black South Africans in the South African team, whilst Black Americans were calling for a boycott!

One Saturday afternoon I sat at my typewriter and wrote a letter to the South African to pass on to Professor Edwards. I argued that the South African government and Olympic committee would never satisfy our demand that all segregation in sport had to be abolished. Therefore our next step would be to call for the exclusion of South Africa and if Black Americans stated that they would join with Africa and boycott the Games if South Africa was invited they would score a victory when South Africa was excluded.

I argued further that the Black American proposed boycott was aimed at the elimination of Black ghettos , following the riots in Black ghettos of Los Angeles and Black ghettos throughout the U.S. But a boycott of the Games would not eliminate the ghettos and eliminate discrimination and inprove Civil Rights. The boycott would punish Black athletes and they would have to crawl back for reinsertion in US teams. I suggested that Black athletes could demonstrate their anger by wearing black armbands etc.

The Black Glove demo of Smith and Carlos at Mexico Olympics was a great gesture of defiance to Racial Discrimination in the US and to the adminitration.

San-Roc in Mexico

San-Roc was represented by Dennis Brutus and Chris de Broglio at the Mexico Olympics. When we were in New York on the way to Mexico we visited the American Committe on Africa and were introduced to Jim Bouton of the Yankee Baseball Team, and he offered to join us in Mexico, which we accepted with great pleasure. He made our visit very pleasant as he hired a car for us to get around aand go to the Olympic village.

We spent most of our time at the Camino Real and one day the US Olympic member Mr Roby recognised Jim and asked him for a drink in his room. He asked Jim what he was doing in Mexico and Jim told him he was with representatives of San-Roc, a group of South Africans opposed to Apartheid in South Africa. Roby reacted by asking Jim if he was a "communist" or something and cut short the drink !!

Abraham Ordia and Jean-Claude Ganga called a meeting of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, to which some Black American athletes and coaches were invited . One coach was very moved by the occasion and told about the plans of the athletes to demonstrate. When we drove him back to the village he asked us to tell the journalists present and the Africans present not to divulge what he had said, he was very nervous of having "let the cat out of the bag". We assured him that only African journalists had been present and they would not divulge his speech. We then talked to Ganga who assured us that no word would come out. In fact it remained a secret until Smith and Carlos extended their gloved fists.

Our work in Mexico was mostly with the different Sports Federations.


Went to the congress of the Boxing Federation and before the session me met with the Tunisian delegate who was a memeber of the executive. We explained that the South African federation was purely white and did not admit Black boxers. He told us that he would raise the issue and have Souht Africa expelled.

When we met with him in the evening he told us that South Africa had been duly expelled. That was the easiest expulsion we ever had. Most other federations had English presidents who were friends of Apartheid South Africa or the constitution had special provisions such as Tennis which had 4 members with 12 votes( England, USA, Australia and France), 8 members with 8 votes etc and African countries had no votes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is useless

3:22 pm  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home