At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos made a remarkable stance against racial inequality. The respective 200-meter gold and bronze medal winners held their black-gloved fists high in protest of the treatment that blacks received in the U.S.

Nearly 43 years later, the moment in time is still relevant and considered one of the most courageous and significant moments in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Currently, Smith and Carlos spend their days talking with people about their experiences and spreading their messages of racial equality.

Carlos and Dave Zirin — a sportswriter and radio personality who has co-written an autobiography with Carlos titled “The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World” — will be at George Mason University tonight at 6 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema.

“[The book], traces [Carlos’] life from his upbringing in Harlem up to the Olympics and beyond,” said Zirin.

During the event they will be viewing the documentary, “Not Just a Game,” and speaking about their new book.

Based on Zirin’s bestselling book “The People’s History of Sports in the United States,” the documentary argues that American sports have long been at the center of some of the major political debates and struggles of the past century.

Zirin has authored a handful of other books on sports and politics, writes for SLAM, the Progressive, and the Nation magazines, and is well-researched in the field. He also hosts an XM show called Edge of Sports Radio.

In the autobiography, Carlos and Zirin detail the many hardships and triumphs that Carlos faced in his lifetime and explores what American society was like at the time of the protest and afterwards.

Something that intrigues me is these two questions: Why did he risk so much privilege and glory and why do people still care in this young generation?” said Zirin.

Both Zirin and Carlos have been in contact with each other in the past due to their similar interes sports.

“I’ve done interviews and panels with Dr. Carlos and what was evident for me were the stories that he told were always interesting. He spoke about his life growing up in Harlem and his life after the stand and he is a very engaging speaker. I’d like to be a part of bringing his voice to an audience,” said Zirin.

The event is one the first stops on the nationwide book tour for the October release of the book. Afterwards, Carlos and Zirin will open up a Q&A session.

“I hope to tell John Carlos’ story and teach people about the interconnectedness between sports and politics,” Zirin said.

When she first heard of Carlos and Zirin’s book tour, Cynthia Fuchs jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the tour and have them speak at George Mason. Fuchs is the director of the Film & Media Studies program at George Mason and works in documentaries specifically.
“Our paths crossed with our interests in sports and politics and our hope for change,” said Fuchs, who has been in contact with Zirin by email over the past year.

“Sports and politics are always linked. No matter what people say,” Fuchs said. “What I hope to accomplish with the event is to help people remember a significant moment in sports history and to see and talk with John Carlos.”

The event is sponsored by the Film & Media Studies and African & African American Studies Programs at George Mason. Admission is free.