They Were Right

Fifty-years ago today, when I was twenty-three,
I watched Carlos and Smith,
John and Tommie —
sprinters, tall, slim, swift
who could run like the wind.
They stood, strong men,
on the Olympic podium
medals around their necks,
black gloved fists held high,
systematic, endemic racism to defy,
faces looking down to the ground
as if to say,
“We’re ashamed of the US of A.”
They were roundly condemned,
but I admired those men
(and still do, to this day)
and their prowess and might.
I, a young man of white,
knew that they were right.

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