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Graphic novel tells story of Tommie Smith and his fist-raise for racial justice

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Gold medalist Tommie Smith, center, and bronze medalist John Carlos, right, on the podium at the 1968 Olympic Games with Australia's Peter Norman.

Tommie Smith’s decision to raise his fist in support of racial justice during the 1968 Olympic games has defined the last half-century of his life. He has been both ridiculed and praised for the demonstration, which came during a period of racial unrest in America.

Now, amid our most recent racial reckoning, comes Smith’s memoir “Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice,” which chronicles his early days as the son of a sharecropper in Texas, his rise as a world-class athlete, and the civil rights work that came to define his life even more than his athletic prowess.

“Victory. Stand!” is not a typical memoir. It is a graphic novel aimed at young readers. One of itsauthors, Derrick Barnes, a Charlotte resident, is an award-winning children's author.

On the next Charlotte Talks, Barnes joins the program to discuss Smith’s story, his own literary career and the importance of writing these stories for kids.


Derrick Barnes, co-author of “Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice”


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Gabe Altieri is a Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Prior to joining WFAE in 2022, he worked for WSKG Public Media in Binghamton, New York.